Monday, June 15, 2015
My Sweetie is always appreciative when I bake, but he really, really likes fruit pies. We have been hard at work on replacing the old front porch, although we are keeping the old railing and the same footprint, so it won't look that much different. We now have a support post near the house on the baking center wall and another one at the end of the porch roof beam, near the stairs, instead of the single beam that cut up the space before. Not only does that look better, but it should make it easier to use the space, maybe by moving the wicker couch and chair outside to join my rocking chair. A lot of the wood you see here will be replaced with treated lumber or redwood. There will be extra flashing and plenty of fasteners. Sweetie builds for the ages.
Anyway, all of this fixing up is a lot of work, especially for Sweetie. A couple of days ago I took some berry baskets down the driveway while he was down there feeding Merlin. We both filled up a pint basket and I went back later and filled another one. What we were picking are the olallieberries that grow near the road. They are plentiful right now and big and fat with juice and berry flavor. Once they are finished it won't be long before we have an overload of blackberries, so it promises to be a berry good season. It's also going the be a great one for morning glories in my garden, thanks to my thoughtful daughter who sent me seeds. Here's today's beauty:
The reason I needed so many berries was because I made Sweetie a mixed berry pie. To those ripe and juicy berries I added some strawberries from our local farm stand and some blueberries from Fresno. Local blueberries usually come in in July.
There really isn't a recipe for this pie because I didn't measure the ingredients. I made sure that I had enough berries to pile high in the pie pan, mixed together some flour, sugar and corn starch ( about 1/2 cup each for the first two and about 2 tablespoons of corn starch, then added some ground nutmeg, perhaps a teaspoonful, and about 1/2 teaspoon of dried and pulverized orange zest. I sprinkled this dry mixture over the mixed up berries and then tossed the berries gently with my clean hands to coat the berries with the mixture, then lined the pie pan with ReadyCrust pie dough from the store, dumped in the berry mixture and distributed it in the pan with the middle higher than the edges, folded the excess pie dough towards the center, swabbed the dough with milk, then sprinkled on some sanding sugar. That all takes only a few minutes once the berries are picked.
I had preheated the oven while I prepped the berries and put the pie together. The top rack had a pizza stone on it, so it took a while to get up to 400 degrees F. I baked the pie at 400 for 15 minutes, then turned the oven down to 350 degrees and baked it another 15 minutes. The filling was bubbly, the crust was golden brown and it smelled heavenly.
After dinner we had a portion each, but it was still too warm to actually have a slice. The next day the filling had cooled, so it was slicable and seemed to taste even better! There is one piece left for Sweetie to enjoy after working on the porch. It might taste even better than the rest.
If you find yourself with a lot of berries or with a Sweetie who loves pie, consider making this pie, too. If you need a real recipe, the Internet is full of them. Most of all, enjoy the sweetness of early summer berries while they last.
In case you think that we only eat baked goods, here's what I had for breakfast the same day: