August 6, 2012

Raspberry Pie

Raspberry Pie
What could be more seasonally stunning than a delicious, comforting raspberry pie?  With homemade flaky crust, brushed with egg white and dusted with sugar, filled with fresh, sweet raspberries...  I see I have your attention!  I was reminded of my love for raspberry pie this past July in Maine, where I ordered it every time I ate dinner at The Lobster Pound in Lincolnville Beach.  They served it with unsweetened whipped cream, which was the perfect accompaniment!  My Grandmother used to make delicious homemade raspberry pies.  I found some vintage pie tins at Rockland Marketplace- an antique mall in Rockland, and while they were just fun to get because they had so much character- they actually appealed to me because of their size.  They are about half the size of a regular deep dish pie dish, the bottom is 5" in diameter and the whole diameter is 8".  They are somewhat shallow, making your pies very petite, modest sized finished products.  And while I love to use my full sized ceramic deep dish pie dish, sometimes it's too much pie!!!!  So anyway, that's why I thought these were cool...  I have a few of my Grandmother's baking pans- one is a bundt pan that has been used so many times I probably don't have to grease it anymore!  Well, it's just fun to have things like this in your kitchen to inspire you, isn't it?

Vintage pie tin
Raspberry Pie
(for a smaller pie dish, measuring 5" across the bottom and 8" across the top)
2 cups fresh raspberries, rinsed
1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
1 oz lemon juice, freshly squeezed
zest of 1/4 of a lemon
2 tsp arrowroot powder (a thickening agent)
pinch sea salt

To finish the pie:
1 egg white, slightly beaten with a fork
sugar (to dust the top of the pie)

For the pie crust, you will need a half portion of the pie crust found in the Amazing Apple Pie post (and yes, it IS amazing :)  almost time to make it with the fall coming!)  Please go to this post to find that recipe:  What I'd recommend is that you just go ahead and make the whole portion of the pie dough, and just reserve half of it in your freezer for future pie making!  Or, make a full sized pie and in that case, just double the filling recipe for the raspberries (above).  Either way, there is pie, and therefore EVERYONE wins, yes?

Pie dough 'coarse meal'
Here's a little glamour shot of the pie dough being made in a food processor (how much do I love my food processor for making pastry dough, it is easy-peasy, I tell you), this is the step where we talk about it looking like coarse meal- after you've started to add the butter and shortening but before the ice water.  Some thoughts on the ice water step- the amount depends on a lot of things, and the amount in this recipe I'd say you should start out with using about half that, and if you have to use the full amount, do, but you may not need it.  It will depend partially on the temperature of your butter and shortening.  Some further thoughts on shortening- don't use butter flavored.  I have used both plain and butter in frosting and the butter artificial flavor is not something desirable.  Anyhow, there is plenty of butter in this pie crust recipe, so you won't be without the fine flavor of butter.

Moving on!  In a bowl, combine the raspberry filling.  What is arrowroot powder you might ask?  It's a thickening agent, the same way cornstarch or something similar works.  It's pretty flavorless and texture-less, though, so it's good to use in things that are sort of one star ingredient items, like hot chocolate, for example (yes, use it in that, too, and you won't need to use as much heavy cream to get a nice thick result).  You'll be able to find it in the spice section of supermarkets that have a good selection.  It shouldn't be hard to find.

Remove your pie dough from the refrigerator- half of the recipe if you're using a smaller pie dish like mine.  Reserve the other half for your next pie masterpiece.  Using a floured work surface, like a cutting board or a nice clean counter, after it's had a few minutes to get a tad warmer, you'll want to roll it out.  Now, if you're doing the smaller pie, immediately separate the dough into 2 halves again, and put one of them back in the refrigerator.  If you're doing the full sized pie, proceed with the full half.  Using a rolling pin and plenty of flour, roll out the dough until it's about 1/4" to 1/3" thick.  It will be kind of crumbly a little bit, that's the nature of this type of dough.  However, if it's moist and sticky, it's gotten too warm and needs to be chilled again.  Once it's sticky, you can't really salvage it.  So, if that's the case, pop it back into the fridge or the freezer until it's harder and not sticky.  Flour it like crazy, too!

Creating the pie shell
Once you've gotten your dough nice and rolled out, go ahead and preheat your oven to 475.  Take your pie dish and butter it, or spray it with Pam.  Then, using your rolling pin- and you'll probably recall I like a French rolling pin, the kind without handles, just graduated tapered sides, you get more surface area this way, roll the dough around it (using flour along the way), and then unroll it over the pan.  You'll at first have it be somewhat straight across, then, the weight of the dough will start to sink to take the shape of the dish.  Help it do this gently, by lifting the outside edges.  Cut away the excess dough and reserve it.  Pour the raspberry filling into the pie and go ahead and place this lovely pie shell into the freezer.

Creating the crust pattern with the tines of a fork
Take the other dough for the top- (either the 1/4 amount for the smaller pie dish or the full other 1/2 for the full sized pie dish) and roll it out using the same technique.  Again, roll the flat, rolled out dough around the rolling pin, and unroll it over the top of the pie.  It will also begin to sink a little and shape itself to the filling and dish.  Cut the excess away at the outer edge.  To create the pretty, pressed edge of the pie crust, just use the tines of a fork.  You can just do it straight and traditional, or you can get creative and either do it at an angle, or alternate angles, or even do a cross hatch pattern, do whatever you want, it's your pie!

Decorating your pie, this uses a pig cookie cutter
Ok, you will need to cut four pretty long slits in the pie crust.  Now- raspberries and a lot of other fruit have high moisture content and you need the slits to let enough of the moisture evaporate.  The slits and the arrowroot powder are both attempting to get you an end result that is not too liquid-y but still nice and moist.  You may use the extra dough to decorate your pie- use cookie cutters or anything you like- on this pie I used just one little cut out of a piggy and put it in the center.  You could do something like that over the whole top of the pie, or just on the crust (like leaves for a crust), or anything else you can think of.

Protecting your crust with foil
To finish your beautiful pie, brush with slightly beaten egg white and then sprinkle with sugar.  I also like to sometimes protect the crust of my pies with tinfoil.  Just tear the foil so it's in about 4" wide strips, and just mold around the outer edge of the pie.  This prevents it from getting too brown.  Now, we're about to put this beauty in the oven, place it on a baking sheet, make sure your rack is pretty low in the oven (I use second to the lowest position) and reduce your heat to 425.  Bake for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 375, turn the pie 180 degrees, and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes at 375, remove the foil.  Bake another 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and the baking sheet (carefully!  don't want to damage the crust!)  Allow to cool for at least 4 hours before serving or refrigerating.

I once went to a Shaker art exhibit and was really enthralled by an item called a 'pie safe,' it was a box made with a wooden frame and screen sides, and it could hold 4 pies and there were little doors to get the pies in and out.  It hung from the ceiling.  I loved it :)  I totally want a pie safe :)

Enjoy this pie by itself, or with unsweetened whipped cream, or slightly warmed in the microwave (this is what my husband likes to do, and I'm reminded that one of his relatives once told me, 'I like two types of pie, hot and cold!' love that, me too!) or, as my Dad likes it, with a small piece of sharp cheddar cheese.  However you like to eat it, you'll love this fresh berry pie to hang on to summer!

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