Friday, July 10, 2009


When the berries are local and in-season, they're so inspiring.

Blueberry Pie with a Crumb Topping.
I don't follow recipes any more for pie. I just add sugar (more often brown) and spices and salt and starch (flour and cornstarch) and lemon juice to my taste. Doing it to your own personal taste is better anyway. Whenever I make apple pie, I add about 4 times the amount of cinnamon that is called for, cause that just what I like! I also always add both cornstarch and flour. I just tried it once and found out that it worked great! Cornstarch thickens immediately, so I guess it's like a little insurance in case your filling never comes to a boil (at which point the flour would thicken it). I prefer thicker pie fillings so I add more starch than is usually called for, but not so much that I get jello when I cut my pie.
Why the crumb topping? Crumb topping is so easy and convenient, you can just store it in your freezer until your ready to use it then just throw it on your pie when you're ready to bake. On the bottom is an all-butter pie crust, which just tastes so frikin good I can't get over it. Ruhlman recommends a 3-2-1 flour to butter to water ratio for pies, but I've found that a 5-4-3 works great for me. 10 oz flour (bout 2 cups), two sticks of butter, and 6 oz (or just enough so that your dough comes together) of water, makes just enough for 2 crusts.

Cherry Cream Cheese Tart?
I had no more pie crust left, so I just spread the bottom of a pan with cream cheese, topped that with a mixture of cherries sugar, brown sugar, lemon juice, a touch of nutmeg and cinnamon, melted butter, and a little cornstarch. I topped that with some leftover crumb topping. I loved it.


Anonymous said...

Pies! I am going through a big pie phase and obsessing over them! I feel they are so much more personal than cakes, like when you're down all you need is some pie. Yours look and sound really good!

Now I feel like eating the pie in my fridge...and watching Pushing Daisies...

Jumper said...

I wanted to share a refrigerator pie recipe with you. Its only drawback is it needs to rest in the refrigerator for two days. That is difficult!

Graham pie crust on the bottom. (pre-made, or from graham crackers, or from whole wheat flour from scratch - your choice)

Blend juice of one lemon, chopped zest, one pkg cream cheese, one can of sweetened condensed milk, vanilla to taste (1 tsp maybe)

Fold in enough cleaned blueberries so total fills pie shell, cover & refrigerate until blueberries begin to stain filling.

Zoe W. Scott said...

hey nick, i just wanted to let you know that grating an entire apple (granny smith, preferably) is a great way to keep pies and tarts from getting runny without making them gummy like tapioca or corn starch can. if you just add an apple and about a tablespoon of flour to any fruit pie, it really makes a nice consistency and doesn't impact the flavor at all!

i got the idea from the july 2008 issue of cooks illustrated. i believe the recipe was "the perfect blueberry pie"

Jeremy Hilton said...

That looks delicious!

I love the intentional eschewing of recipes. Cooking is more fun that way, plus you've customized it to your personal tastes.

You should check out Michael Ruhlman's new book, "Ratios". I think it'll be right up your alley.

I used to be a person said...

Um....marry me?

Okay, not really because that would probably upset my husband. But could you come and live in my house and cook for me? That would be great. Thanks!


Anonymous said...

what is in the crumb topping???

kelsea said...

wow. as a fifteen-year-old foodie myself, i can say that i am totally jealous. hey, have you heard about or seen food, inc. yet??? it doesn't show anywhere near me so i have to wait for it to come out on dvd :'[