Classic Blueberry Pie

So, here we are again. Me and my berries. Last box I couldn’t fit in the freezer. Not that I’ve tried, cause these berries were set out for something greater. Blueberry pie. Nothing beats a good old classic blueberry pie. (Well, maybe apple pie…) I don’t make it that often, though. Neither of them. I don’t make pies as often as I’d like, actually! And I love pies! Why has it come to this, I wonder… Of all my favourite desserts, pie is high up there next to molten chocolate cake and cheesecake. And the best part – you can fill your pie with whatever you want – whatever’s in season or whatever craving you’re gonna satisfy – a freshly baked pie always works. A flaky colden crust, with a warm gooey filling, whether ist’s soft apples with cinnamon and sugar, pinkish rhubarb and strawberries, frangipane and plums or a black pool of bubbly blueberries. And paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. It’s not for nothing pie has become a smash-hit dessert world wide! I totally get it.

Still, pie finds its way to my table not as often as it should. I guess it’s just that little extra effort. And that little extra effort seems a lot when it’s just me and my boy. And it’s usually just the two of us. And the fact that my pie pan is huge doesn’t really help. But I guess it’s mostly lazyness. Pastry and chilling the dough and all. So pie has become more rare than I’d like, a dessert for special occasions, almost. Which is kinda funny, pie beeing the homey, rustic dessert that it is. And maybe not the “right” thing for special occasions, probably more for non-occasions. But whatever! Everyone likes pie, and that’s what matters.

This time, the occasion was dinner with my family. I’m going to Copenhagen to study, so I threw a little goodbye-dinner before I pack my bags and go. Secondly, and more importantly, it was those berries. The season’s last container of blueberries. (I have plenty more, don’t worry, but they are frozen for blueberry-craving winter days) I’d planned this pie for a month. I could not get it out of my head, and needed to get it out of my system. Glad I did, cause it was delish! It really satisfied my pie needs. The crust was golden, flaky and buttery. The filling was divine. A sweet and syrupy blackish blue sea full of juicy berries. It was still lukewarm when I served it, which was just perfect for the ice cream. And right now, I’m glad my pie pan is huge. Cause now I can munch on lots of leftovers! Yaay!

Blueberry Pie (Recipe from Joy of Baking)

Pâte Brisée Crust
2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon (30 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter cut into 1-inch pieces and well chilled or frozen. (1 cup = 2 sticks of butter)
1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 – 120 ml) ice water

Filling
4 cups (570 grams) fresh blueberries, washed and dried.
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 lemon)

Egg wash
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon cream

Method
Prepare the crust: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/4 cup water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour.

After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).) Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and tuck the overhanging pastry under itself, crimping as desired. Refrigerate the pastry, covered with plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes before filling with the berries.

Meanwhile, remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. Using a 2 1/2 inch (6 cm) star cookie cutter, cut out about 20 stars. Or hearts. Or whatever cutter you have! Place the stars on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Prepare the filling: In a small bowl mix together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest. Place the blueberries in a large bowl. Add the sugar mixture to the blueberries and gently toss to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and cream. Lightly brush the rim of the pastry shell with the egg wash. Starting at the outside edge of the pie, place the cut out pastry stars or circles in a circular pattern on top of the blueberries, making sure the tips of the stars are touching. Once the top of the pie is completely covered with the pastry circles, brush the entire surface with the egg wash, making sure that it does not pool. Place the assembled pie back in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Remove the chilled pie from the fridge and place on a larger baking pan, lined with parchment paper, to catch any spills. Bake the pie for about 20 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Continue to bake the pie for about 35 – 45 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown color and the juices are bubbling and thick. If the edges of the pie are browning too much during baking, cover with a foil ring. Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool for several hours. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream. Pie oh my.

What to do with blueberries take 1: Blueberry scones

Blueberry season is upon us folks! And that can only mean one thing. I have berry issues! It’s the same problem every year. And what a problem it is. Ohh, man…. where do I begin! Well, here! You see, here’s the deal.

I love berries. I love to pick berries. And once I start, I can’t finish until, well I’ve finished. Not a single berry will be left behind this maniac! If so, it’s because I’m planning to get back to it the next day. Or else, I’ll have trouble sleeping. I know, I’m weird.

I also love to buy berries when they look totally irresistable and are sold for next to nothing at the supermarket, cause they’re in season. So every year, history repeats itself. Suddenly my fridge is filled with all kinds of berries, and I have to find a clever way to either use/freeze/eat them. And of course I haven’t learned anything from the previous years and got myself a bigger freezer, so now I’m having berries with every meal. No, that’s not true. But every day, yes! And sometimes several times a day! It’s a luxury…that is good for me too! But enough of that already. I wanted to incorporate some of this deliciousness into baked goods. All I made so far was jam. Strawberry and something I call queen-jam. That’s a mix of raspberries and blueberries. It’s jam good! But berries and baking? Together? In perfect harmony? Well, there I said it. Perfect harmony.

Let me introduce you berries to sugar. And fat. Aka carbs and calories. You’re gonna get along and make a great team, for sure. I’ve seen it happen before! And I’m not to change a winning team. Now I just had to decide what to bake first. I have my eyes on a blueberry pie, but that I’m planning to make for the weekend when we’re having my family for dinner. Now I wanted something quick and easy, and I had narrowed it down to scones or muffins. And it suddenly became very easy. I’m not that much of a muffin-enthusiast, probably because I haven’t found a proper recipe. Scones however… It’s a love story.

I found a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, claiming to be the world’s best scones. I’m very easily lead on by those titles, I fell for it, and made them. Were they the world’s best scones? I don’t know. I haven’t really been that much around the scones block. I mainly eat the ones I get from my job. (That I’ve quit, so I better find a substitute recipe asap! I cannot function without scones) Were they good? Hell, yeah. But the thing is, I made them a little too thin. I managed to make 16, and the recipe yielded 8. So I guess mine came out a little crunchier and crispier than they should be. I’d like them to be a little more chewy, a little more dense. Just a little more. So, don’t do that mistake! Make the exact number according to the recipe, and let me know how it turns out!

I was planning on whipping up some cream to go with them, but I was lazy. But I discovered crème fraiche did the trick. And some day, I’ll do that clotted cream thing, just like the Brits. I’m daydreaming about having a tea-party complete with scones, clotted cream, lemon curd and all that goes along. But for now, serve them with a generous dollop of crème fraiche and some homemade jam on top.

Detox by tofu

So, I got back from the countryside yesterday. I spent almost a week there with my family. Somehow we managed to find a weekend where we all were free. Even though my boyfriend could only stay the weekend, I still think it’s pretty amazing we all could get together in the middle of summer. My parents, myself, my two sisters, 2 boyfriends and one niese. It was really nice. I love spending time there, it’s so beautiful. But it’s very dependant of the weather, cause there’s really not that much to do. But one thing is sure – there’s always good food. And when the weather is so so, the eating increases. The weather wasn’t all that bad, but it wasn’t really good either. So we stayed inside munching. My mother made pancakes that we ate with freshly made blueberry and raspberry jam, I made an oreo-like cake, my boyfriend made his famous burgers, my dad bought his favourite danishes at the local shop and we ate tons of chocolate. And drank lots and lots of coffee. So now my body’s been acostumized to coffee and cake every day around 13.00. One gets easily used to that, I can tell you. But strangely, yesterday, I wasn’t in the mood for something sweet the entire day. Very unlike me! Sugar-overdose, perhaps? Well, well. It was time to get back to reality. It was time to eat healthy. It was time to detox.

I haven’t really done anything today exept going shopping for groceries. But I found a cheap pack of tofu, and decided to make something out of that. I’m a tofu virgin, so this was quite new to me! I was thinking to chop it into pieces and make some kind of stir fry, but then I found an interesting recipe at tastespotting. Grilled tofu! It looked really nice, and simple to make, so I went for it! Turned out lovely! Tofu is good, not as dull as many people say. I have had it before many year ago, but I’ve never prepared it. It was delicious, and probably something I’ll be making again. Now that tofu has entered my life…

Grilled Tofu (recipe adapted from iowagirleats.com)
(serves 2)

1 package extra firm tofu, pressed & sliced into 6 pieces
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Sprinkle red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients and marinate tofu slices for 10 minutes. Spray grilling surface with non-stick spray and grill for 3-4 minutes a side. Serve with brown rice and stir-fried broccoli! Simple and healthy, and most importantly, really tasty!

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

My first day of my vacation! Ah, sweet sweet freedom. And I got a letter yesterday, telling me I’m starting my studies of nutrition in Copenhagen in a month! Yaay! Now, if this doesn’t call for a celebration, I don’t know what does. And I knew exactly how to mark this very special day. And no, not with a cake, for once. Today I wanted something else, something that says summer holiday: An extravaganza breakfast. I haven’t made a decent breakfast the last couple of weeks since I’ve been working. And when you work at a bakery, well…you don’t take time eating breakfast or bringing any sort of lunch. I eat there. And as much as I love a good breakfast, sitting down enjoying my meal, reading the paper or just looking out the window contemplating about the day to come, I haven’t done that in a while. I’ve been waking up early, and eating a quick slice of bread once at work. But that routine, my friends, ended today.

Today I took my time, making a breakfast that took 40-50 minutes, and it was so worth it. I thought I had nothing better to do on my first day off, and I had been wanting to make this since I first spotted the recipe, but I never got around to it. I found it at beckybakes.net. One look, and I fell in love.
Besides, 1-hour-breakfasts are for special occasions. I like a nice breakfast, but I also like to sleep, so I wouldn’t get up an hour earlier just to make this. But today, I had nothing on my agenda, so I got up 8.30 to make this, and an hour later me and the boyfriend could enjoy a serious breakfast. Coffee and everything! Lovely!

It was sweeter and heavier than I imagined, quite cake-like. Or crumble-like. Well, quite frankly, and between us, it was a crumble. But that means it was good! Just a little over the top for breakfast, but this is such a day, so it was ok. This was my first encounter with baked oatmeal. It was really good and I loved the crunchy buttery crust. And the addition of blueberries were divine. Perfect combo. I guess there are healthier versions, but hey, that wasn’t really on my mind this morning. Not exactly. I paired it with a good dollop of sour cream, and that was perfect. Since it was quite heavy, I even have some leftovers that will make a nice treat to Grey’s Anatomy tonight!

Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

1 1/4 cups blueberries
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ cups butter, divided
2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoons salt
4 tbsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 200C/350° F.
Melt butter. Pour 1/4 cup into the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish.
Sprinkle blueberries and 2 tbsp of brown sugar on top of the butter. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the soy milk, honey, eggs, remaining butter and vanilla.
In a large bowl, whisk together oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
Pour over the fruit and smooth the top. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tbsp. of brown sugar.
Bake at 350°F for 40 to 50 minutes, or until browned on top and fruit is bubbly. Allow to cool slightly. Serve with milk or cream. Or like I did, sour cream. Delicious!

Rhubarb Soup – the perfect summer dessert

My dessert repertoar often evolves around cake, chocolate, apples, ice cream or something like that. Not so often fresh and fruity things. More heavy stuff for this girl. That beeing said, I appreciate any kind of dessert. I just don’t make that much different stuff at home, for myself. But now that me and the boyfriend plus my sister and hers have started our 3-courses dinner parties, it’s for reasons like this. To challenge ourselves, and try out new recipes. To try out things we don’t usually make. I was in charge of the menu for our last dinner, and decided on this soup for dessert. Of course, I decide on dessert first, and then plan the rest of the menu… I had some rhubarb in the fridge, the strawberries were at it’s peak, and it was time to reunite with dessert soup. I remember my grandmother used to make this soup which was basically thickened syrup with raisins. And I loved it! And that’s pretty much my only experience (at least my only memory) of dessert soups. So, this soup really passed my expectations, you can say. This is quite a step up from the syrup-soup. (Sorry grandma!) But in her defense, this is created by one of Norway’s best pastry chefs. This is quality all the way. I never thought any soup could be so good. So if you think dessert soups are for grannys only, think again. Me and soup have reunited, and so can you! Trust me, you will. And please don’t judge it by it’s ugly apperance, it wasn’t really photogenic, but you can hold that against anything so delicious.

I had to make this again, cause I forgot to bring my camera to my sister’s house. Well, that’s not the only reason. I needed another bowl of this stuff. But I didn’t find strawberries at the supermarket, so I replaced them with raspberries. Worked out fine, but I think I prefer strawberries.

Rhubarb Soup
500 g red rhubarb
250 g sugar
7.5 dl water
1 vanilla pod
10 g/1 tablespoon maizena
0.5 dl cold water
500 g strawberries

Wash the rhubarb and cut into 2 cm pieces-
Put sugar, rhubarb and water in a kettle and allow to boil without stirring. Turn down the heat, and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Drain the rhubarb syrup over another kettle, and throw away the rhubarb. Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds. Put the seeds and the pod into the rhubarb syrup, and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Stir the maizena into 0.5 dl of cold water, and pour this into the rhubarb soup. This will make the soup thicken. Let it boil for another minute. Turn off the heat, and let the soup cool in the fridge or the freezer. (This can easily be frozen down if you want) Remove the vanillapod before serving. Decorate with fresh strawberries and serve with mascarpone cream.

Mascarpone Cream
Seeds from 1 vanillapod
100 g mascarpone
2 dl heavy cream
50 g sugar
lemon juice

Mix everything but the lemon juice together. Whisk untill stiff, but be careful not to whisk too much, cause it will make the cream crack. Add lemon juice at your taste.