Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Magpie's Fancy Pie

Okay, I swear this will be my last post about berries and desserts for a while.  I promise.  It's just that when they're in season, I must pick them, and once I've picked them, I must find a way to use them.  It's my duty.  The recipe below is one I've adapted from Nick Malgieri's blueberry pie recipe in How to Bake, which is a fantastic book for beginner and well-seasoned baker alike.  If the lattice crust looks like too much work, you could simply make this as a regular two-crust pie.  I'm not gonna lie: I played tennis yesterday, and the whole time I was playing a part of my brain was thinking about going home and making this pie.  I'm hoping that if I play tennis again today it will make me feel less guilty about eating it.

The Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter
2 large eggs
  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.  Cut the butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and add to the dry ingredients.  Toss once or twice to coat the butter.  Using your hands or a pastry blender, break the butter into tiny pieces and pinch into the dry ingredients.  Continue rubbing the butter into the flour mixture until it all resembles coarse cornmeal.  
  2. Beat the eggs in a small separate bowl and then pour over the flour and butter mixture.  Stir in with a fork until the dough begins to hold together but still appears somewhat dry.  Scatter a little flour onto your work surface and scrape the dough out onto it.  Press and knead the dough quickly 3 or 4 times until it is smooth and uniform.
  3. Separate the dough into 2 equal pieces and press each piece into a disk.  Sandwich the disks of dough between pieces of plastic wrap, and press each one into a 6-inch circle.  Refrigerate the disks for 1 hour or until ready to use (up to 2 days).
The Filling:
1 heaping pint blueberries, rinsed, drained, and picked over
1 heaping pint raspberries, rinsed, drained, and picked over
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Egg Wash: 
1 egg well beaten with a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar for finishing top of pie
  1. Combine 1/2 cup blueberries and 1/2 cup raspberries with the sugar in a nonreactive saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is melted, about 5 minutes.  Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and whisk the hot berry mixture into it.  Return everything to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens.  Pour into a large bowl and stir in the remaining filling ingredients, adding the berries last.  Cool completely.
  2. Set a rack at the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
  3. Roll out the bottom crust and arrange in the pie plate.  Pour the cooled filling into the bottom  crust.  
Make a Lattice-Top Crust: 
  1. Lightly flour the work surface and dough, and shape the dough into a square by pressing the sides of the disk against the work surface.  Roll the dough into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. 
  2. Cut the dough the short way into 24 strips, each 1/2 inch wide and 9 inches long.  You can make the strips wider, just plan on having fewer strips and a larger, more rustic lattice pattern.  
  3. Arrange 12 of the strips, 1/4 inch apart, on the floured back of a jelly-roll pan.  Position the pan so that the strips are facing vertically to you.
  4. Beginning with the first strip of dough on your left, fold every other strip in half, back toward you (see photo above right).
  5. Place one of the reserved strips horizontally across the unfolded strips, just next to the fold of the other strips.
  6. Unfold the strips back to their original position, over the horizontal strip. 
  7. Repeat the process, this time beginning with the second vertical strip, folding back every other strip and then covering the remaining strips with a reserved strip.  
  8. Repeat the process, alternating until you have six strips in a basket-weave pattern.
  9. Turn the jelly roll pan and repeat the process on the other side.  If it works out to be fewer than twelve rows across, that's fine as long as the resulting basket weave is large enough to cover the top of the pie with some excess for crimping.
  10. Gently press the top of the lattice to make the strips stick together slightly, then refrigerate.  This step is important, as refrigerating the lattice top will allow you to slide it off the pan and onto the pie without breaking it! 
  11. Once the lattice is cooled, moisten the rim of the bottom crust with egg wash.  Slide the lattice carefully off the pan and onto the pie (using a spatula to make sure it is loose from the pan first), tilting the pan to assist you.  If any pieces break, you can mend them by pressing them together gently with your fingers.  If the lattice is very firm, allow it to warm up a bit, then press the lattice firmly to the bottom crust.  Trim off excess dough and flute the edge of the pie.
  1. Brush the the lattice and crust edge with egg wash (this will help to brown the crust).  Sprinkle with sugar.
  2. Place the pie on the lower rack in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes, then check to make sure it is browning well.  If it is, let it bake for 10 more minutes on the bottom rack.  If it isn't browning enough, move it to the top rack for the last 10 minutes.  The filling should be bubbling when you take it out of the oven, and the crust should be golden brown and shiny.
  3. Allow to cool on a rack for about half an hour to an hour.  This is important!  The pie will still be warm inside, but the filling will hold together nicely.
  4. Serve warm (not piping hot) with ice cream (I like coffee, as you know, but vanilla's always nice, too).  
NOTE: Nick Malgieri's version uses only blueberries, and it is lovely, lovely, lovely.  I happen to adore the flavor that the raspberries bring to the pie, though.  If you find blueberry pie a bit cloying, try this version, because the raspberries are more tart and they lift the flavor considerably.  I know this crust has a lot of steps, but it is fun to make, and the resulting pie is a stunner. 

ENJOY!  xoxo


  1. That's beautiful, and sounds delicious! Last night I made some Blueberry Corn Slump. It was my first time trying the recipe and I found it amazing — in fact I can't stop thinking about having it for dessert tonight. This coming week I'll share the recipe on the work blog and let everyone know when it's posted. It's well worth trying!

  2. Oh that really looks delicious, that is so funny about tennis and pie! You'll be able to concentrate on the game today!xx

  3. Or eat so much pie that you say "F tennis." Oh, right. That's what I would do...

  4. Sweetheart- why ya wanna do me dis way?!! Me thought ya loved me!! lol
    This is truly beautiful, my friend. And I know beautiful food when I see it! OH GLORIOUS it is!
    PS: Keep talking about berries as much as you'd like. ; )

  5. m. heart, I hope you do post that recipe! I want to try it.
    DJA and Nancy, maybe I'll take the day off from tennis tomorrow and just eat pie. ;)
    Thanks, sweet Christina! You know, I'll probably end up writing about berries again before you can say "blackberry cobbler."

  6. That looks divine! My mouth is watering :) Xx

  7. what a work of day i'll try that recipe, if i dare!

    beautiful thoughts!

  8. ABSOLUTELY gorgeous! You definitely stood up tall to this call of duty - wow!

    I just made fresh blackberry scones with the first of the season, so I am also enjoy in this berry bliss!

  9. Thanks, Kellie! You are so sweet.
    Thanks to you, too, Meandering Pearl, and the recipe is not hard, I promise!
    Blackberry scones, Mel--wow, some of my favorites. Can I come over? I'll bring the coffee! xo

  10. Hi Gigi!
    Just stopped by to say you’ve been “tagged” with an Award!

    Terrific post as always - delicious recipe!

    Have a wonderful day & see you again soon!

    xxxLOL LOLA:)

  11. GORGEOUS, gorgeous pie, Gigi...looks like a taste of heaven...*sigh*...Thank you for sharing this good recipe. Is that chocolate or coffee-flavor ice cream you have a la mode on your pie slice here? It's lunchtime here...but I'd rather have pie! ;o) Happy Day ((HUGS))

  12. That is incredible looking! Must try!

  13. My oh my...that looks yummy! I have never tried making pie crust with eggs added...maybe I would have more success rolling it out than I do with my present recipe...I'm 58 and still trying to copy my mom's pie crust!

  14. Hi, Oliag! Yes, the eggs make for a crust that rolls easily. It's not a flaky crust. Instead it's more cakey, and it holds up to fruit fillings without getting at all soggy, which makes it great for this recipe. One other advantage is that if you mess up, you can re-roll it without making it tough. I know what you mean about those classic family recipes that we spend our lives trying to imitate!

  15. Yikes, Miss Gigi ... I'm getting all Pavlov's dog just reading this. I haven't tried an egg-based crust, but this recipe sounds and looks amazing. I wonder if it would work well with peaches and blueberries--one of my favorite combinations?

    See you (and Scout) soon!

  16. Girl, you are good. I want to eat at your house.


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