This time of year I find myself torn between 2 masters: gardening and cooking. These 2 conflicting time-sucks are in addition to the 3 children and house that already claim mastery over me, but I digress.
I get up each day, far earlier than I did only a few months ago, with a laundry list of chores; both inside and outside. Then I have to decide how do I split my time? Usually the weather dictates that for me, being in Seattle and all. But when the weather turns GORGEOUS I feel obligated to be outdoors, even if I had other plans. It feels like you are breaking some law by not taking advantage of every sunny day. They really are few and far between at times.
So while I spend months, literally, planning my garden and then weeks more just putting it all in, I find myself hitting a wall and losing interest. BAM! Just like that. This happens every year. It passes quickly, but it still happens. I am not sure why I lose focus. Maybe it is because waiting for seeds to germinate is rather boring. Maybe you can only pull so many weeds before you start asking if you really care about them or not. I don’t really know.
I do know that come July I will likely have more fresh food on my hands than I know what to do with. I will be eying the blackberries and planning for my next big batch of jam. I will be looking at all the apples and wondering how many batches of hard cider we will make this year. It will all be a lovely abundance and I do look forward to it, but for now, I am going to simply work through all the things I put up last year.
This pie was made from the last blackberries in the freezer. I combined them with some sliced peaches (also frozen) and candied ginger. It was awesome! The crust was one from America’s Test Kitchen. They made a big point about “Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor; do not substitute”, but since I can’t follow instructions, I actually used Triple Sec. The slightly orange flavoring was delish and combined with the fruits and ginger, really was awesome, if I do say so myself. I also doubled the recipe to make a 2-crust pie. Lastly, I added the alcohol in the food processor and blended it that way. I am lazy, what can I say. Just be sure that if you double it, that you remember to divide the dough when you make it into the disks before putting it in the fridge. Lastly, these instructions were for a pre-cooked pie shell, so keep that in mind when following the instructions. If you cook the pie like I did, use 400 degrees for 40 minutes or so. You want the crust golden and the juices bubbling up.
Since you likely can’t see the recipe without a subscription, I am sharing it with you here:
America’s Test Kitchen Perfect Pie Crust
Makes 1-9″ Pie
Ingredients1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup vegetable shortening , cold, cut into two pieces
2 tablespoons vodka , cold (see note)
2 tablespoons cold water
1. For the Crust: Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
4. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.