Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bridal Apple Pie

Captain's Log

As many of you know, I got married almost a year ago. Ten months, to be more precise. That means that nearly exactly one year ago, on August 2, I had my bridal shower.
I flew East to make final arrangements and to celebrate the wedding with my best gals in a very cool, very Old Virginia location. My sister was the organizer. She had this great idea to make the RSVPs into a recipe book---she asked each invitee to respond on a pre-addressed postcard and, whether the answer was yes or no, to contribute a recipe that she particularly loves so that I, the bride, might have a little something new to work with later on. At the shower I told the ladies that I'd blog their recipes… I'm sure by now they all thought I was lying. 

But no! Last week, I received my recipe book, bound and ready! And I made one of the recipes! And I took photos!

This week's blog is from my mother-in-law. She says on the postcard that it actually comes from her mother, given to her by her grandmother, and that it originates in Women's Home Companion. What history! I just had to give it a shot myself. But first, a quick word on my mother-in-law: She has remarkable spunk and warmth and she set me right at ease when I first met her in… 2007, was it? Thereabouts? She has always welcomed me into the family, even in the early days, which was so valuable to the development of my relationship with my fella. She also models incredible strength and optimism, which I admire and aspire to possess myself. I'm looking forward to our return East, when we can all sit together on the porch and drink wine and snack on Sun Chips.

But on to the pie!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blueberry Pie

Captain's Log

Summer Dessert Edition

Hi everyone!

Well, it's hot and breezy in Seattle, which makes me feel like doing two things: Swimming and Eating Fruity Baked Goods, like pies and cobblers. Heck, three things: let's add guacamole. And drinking rosé. Um, and sunbathing? Ok, well, I mean, you get it. Most seasons carry with them certain traditions and yearnings and mine involve the above.  

Our grocery store had huge cartons of Oregon blueberries on sale ($4? Maybe?) last week so I got one and immediately thought "how in the world am I going to eat this many blueberries?" My husband said "make smoothies," to which I said "You're right, a pie would be amazing!"

I've never been that much of a pie-baker… maybe 3-4 a year at most. That may be more than a lot of people but I suppose what I mean is that I don't have a "personal recipe" or any particular methods that I can claim as my own. Every time I make a pie, I learn something about more/less fruit, more/less bake time, etc., and then I wait four months before making another one. 


I used to use Smitten Kitchen's all-butter recipe because Crisco creeps me out sometimes, but after a few tries I thought that recipe made a tough crust. Could it have been my methods rather than the recipe? Of course! But this year I chose to abandon SK all the same and try out Ina Garten's recipe instead. And it was amazing! My filling recipe was a little clunkier, but I believe I learned enough from it to instruct you faithful readers with adequate know-how.

Also I don't have a food processor** and so I did all of this by hand. I have a very strong suspicion that pie crust is way, way simpler with a food processor.

**Those of you who attended my bridal shower are probably thinking "Wait, didn't she get an awesome Braun multi-function food processor at her bridal shower? Right off the registry?" and you are correct! We didn't bring back all our wonderful wedding presents because we knew we'd be back in Virginia in a year and it seemed silly to take the larger and/or more fragile items across the country with us. Therefore, we have a whole load of wonderful new-home new-marriage gifts waiting for our return East.

Here's the recipe, filling + crust, to be detailed further below:


(from Ina Garten, 100%)

1.5 sticks cold unsalted butter
1/3 c shortening 
3 c flour
1T sugar
1t salt
6-8T ice water


(from The Kitchn, with some adaptations based on my experience)

6 cups blueberries
3/4-1 cup sugar
4-6 T cornstarch
zest from 1/2 lemon
2T lemon juice