It’s been awhile, especially considering that my hiatus came so soon after starting a blog. I’ve been on vacation in the Land of No Internet for the last month, so I didn’t get a chance to post much while I was gone. I’ll have plenty to talk about—and lots of pictures to share—in the coming weeks, but today I have more pressing matters to discuss.
Today is my roommate Lauren’s birthday. Lauren is an awesome roommate. Not only does she share my love of Arrested Development and all things NPH, but she made me the most spectacular green stegosaurus cupcake cake (a la CakeWrecks) for my birthday.
See, it all started as a joke. There are 5 people that live in my house, and I try to bake a special birthday something for each of them. So when I facetiously asked who would be baking my birthday cake this year, Lauren piped up and asked me what I wanted. Big Mistake. I said I wanted a dinosaur cake (because I’m five, and also because it was the most ridiculous thing I could think of at the spur of the moment). Then a few days later I happened to be at the Museum of Natural History, where I snapped a picture of the stegosaurus skeleton and sent it to Lauren, “just for reference”. Anyway, to make a long story short, I came home one night to find this masterpiece waiting for me in the kitchen.
So how could I possibly let her birthday pass without something equally as delicious to celebrate the occasion? Cakes, cupcakes, and cookies are all manageable, and I have tried and true recipes to make sure that any request will not result in a birthday disaster. But nooooo. It was payback time. Lauren likes pie. Never mind that the one pie I have ever made (strawberry rhubarb—and sorry, no pictures, I was too embarrassed to take any) was nothing more than a gloppy mess that overflowed in the oven. I can also say quite authoritatively that rolling out dough is not my forte. I can’t seem to get it both flat and large enough without making a horrible, sticky mess that has to be scraped from the counter in pieces.
But Lauren wanted pie, and I was bound and determined to give it to her.
I started with Deb’s pie crust tutorial from smittenkitchen. Because it is July in Baltimore, and my house is 100 years old and has no A/C, I left the dough in the fridge overnight (as opposed to the recommended 1-2 hours), just to be on the safe side. I also stuck my largest cookie sheet in the freezer when I put the dough in the fridge. When it was time to roll out the dough, I pulled the cookie sheet out, flipped it upside down, and rolled out the pie crust on that—the cold surface seemed to keep my crust in tact far better than the warm countertop.
I wrangled the bottom crust into my 10-inch pie plate and stuck the cookie sheet back in the freezer while I pre-baked the bottom crust and mixed up a peach-blueberry filling (I also splashed in some cognac just for good measure)
Then I pulled the cookie sheet out of the freezer, rolled out the top crust, and put the whole shebang back in the oven for about half an hour. The end result:
It certainly won’t win any prizes for prettiest pie ever made, but the crust was nice and flaky (and in tact!), and the filling was quite tasty without being overly sweet. I’ll count it as a successful pie making attempt, but I think Lauren’s stegosaurus still takes the cake (ha, ha) this year.
Peach-Blueberry Birthday Pie:
Use your favorite double pie crust recipe; first-timers might find smittenkitchen’s Pie Crust tutorials helpful
6-8 ripe peaches, peeled and diced
½ cup blueberries (can be adjusted according to taste and/or amount of filling needed)
½ cup flour
¼ cup sugar
Make pie dough according to your favorite recipe, and let rest in fridge for several hours.
Meanwhile, mix the filling ingredients together, give it a quick stir, cover and let sit while you wrangle with the dough.
Roll out bottom crust and place in pie pan (most crusts have a high enough fat content that the pan won’t need to be greased). Poke a few holes in the crust with a fork, cover with foil, and bake in a 300oF oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Bump the oven temperature up to 375o and let it preheat while you finish making the pie.
Pour filling into the baked crust, roll out the top crust, and cover the pie. Crimp the edges to seal (neatness makes for better pictures, but it doesn’t affect taste—trust me, I know). Cut some pretty shapes out of the crust to decorate, or you can be lazy like me and just make a few vents to let the steam out. Return to the oven and bake 30-45 minutes until crust is browned. Serve with homemade vanilla ice cream to cover up the ugliness of the pie crust, or serve plain, confident in the beauty of a warm, flaky crust no matter what it might look like.