July 4, 2013
I’m a professed francophile and a world wanderer, but there are several American traditions and associations I value. In no particular order, here are just a few…
A slice of pie and ice cream.
Thrift stores (I’m not talking fancy, high-priced vintage. I’m talking good, old fashioned Goodwill, especially where you can fill a bag for approximately $2.00).
The abundance of bathrooms available to the public.
Hamburgers and all natural peanut butter. Not together, but not not together either.
The diversity of this great land in both geographical features and micro-cultures.
The palette of the southwest.
My many freedoms, especially as a female (though we still have lots of work to do!)
Those are just a few.
Now, about that first one- there is just something so American about pie!
My favorite flavor of pie has long been cherry, but back in the little Quelcy days, I was eating pie laden with that bright, generically red, syrupy, mostly fake, cherry pie filling. It’s a sad thought, and a practice I have amended. These days, I’ll gladly take a day in which my top priority is sitting leisurely to pit fresh, sweet cherries while the music plays, the sun shines through my kitchen window, the breeze blows, and the puppy alternates naps and lazy stretches.
I will gladly take that day, but if that sunny, blue-skied day of puppy naps and cherry pitting also happens to be the Fourth of July, it helps to amass some blueberries too…
…and it helps to roll out some stars and stripes in buttery, flaky goodness!
This patriotic pie has hints of cardamum and almond in between the bursts of berry flavor. It is best eaten after transporting it to a deck, where friends are gathered to celebrate amazing food, a great view and good company! Serve with a beet semifreddo (recipe coming soon) or homemade whipped cream or an all natural ice cream. So many options for perfect pairings!
A Fourth o’ July Pie
2 1/4 cups + 2 Tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
14 Tablespoons organic, unsalted butter, cold
6 Tablespoons ice water
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract
For the Crust
Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in medium mixing bowl and place in a freezer to chill.
Combine the ice water, apple cider vinegar and almond extract in a small bowl or glass measuring pitcher. Place in freezer to chill.
Remove the flour mixture bowl from the freezer once the bowl is properly chilled. Cut the butter into slices and incorporate into the flour mixture with your hands, working the mixture between your fingers until it resembles coarse meal.
Remove the ice water mixture from the freezer. Sprinkle it over the flour/butter mixture. Gently, use a fork to incorporate. Once the dough has begun to come together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface.
Form the dough into a disc, being careful not to overwork it.
Cover the disc in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight.
Remove the disc from the refrigerator. Divide it in two. Use a rolling pin to roll out each disc until it is large enough to cover a 9-inch pie shell.
Press one of the rolled out discs into your pie pan. Remove excess from the sides.
Cut your lattice from the remaining disc. Use any excess dough to create the stars, using either freehand cutting or a star-shaped cookie cutter. Carefully transfer to a plate and keep chilled until ready to assemble.
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons turbinado raw sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons organic cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
pinch of salt
2 lbs fresh, sweet cherries, pitted
1 Tablespoon pure almond extract
1-2 cups blueberries, depending on your pie design
In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, cardamom and salt. Stir in the cherries, along with any juice and the almond extract. Allow the mixture to macerate for at least 10 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.
Once the cherries have macerated, pour them into the chilled pie shell.
Add the blueberries on top of the cherries to form the blue section of the flag.
Add the lattice stripes and the stars. Use a little bit of water to firmly attach the dough at any seams.
Use any extra dough to create long strands to twist into the pie edges.
Preheat the oven to 425 F for at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, keep the pie chilled in the freezer.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, covering with foil or parchment if the crust begins to darken too much.
Remove from the oven, and place on a wire rack to cool.
Be sure to keep the pie out of reach of lil’ Fourth-o-July pups dressed in their patriotic best!
This little Julep managed to snag her first bite of crust after crumbs slipped through the table.