Summer is finally here. It really felt like it would never arrive. Spring was chilly this year and consequently, my veggies and fruits were struggling to show their faces.
But....not anymore. Summer ahoy! The blueberries and strawberries are so plentiful and delicious and worth the wait.
I love to make fruit pies, and they always taste better when they include berries from my garden. Instead of a traditional blueberry pie, I like to mix in some strawberries. If you like, you can also use raspberries or blackberries when they're in season for an added tartness.
Perhaps the only thing that can improve a fruit pie made with fresh berries is topping it with streusel. I love this streusel recipe and keep plenty of streusel on hand in the freezer to use as a last minute topping. My mother-in-law, Irene McCoy, taught me that adding leftover pie dough makes it taste even better. Simply chop the raw dough into small pieces and add to the streusel before baking. In addition to improving the flavor, you don't waste any dough.
1 Blind-baked Brisée Tart Dough
250 gm (2 1/2 cups) Cake flour
125 gm (8 TBSP) Unsalted cold butter, cubed
½ Tsp Salt
60 gm (1/4 cup) Cold water
Directions for Brisée Dough
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and salt. Gently whisk to combine, about 10 seconds. Add the cubes of butter to the flour. Use two butter knives to cut the butter into the flour, or rub the butter cubes with your fingers to blend it into the flour. Continue incorporating the butter into the flour until it resembles cornmeal.
When it reaches the cornmeal stage, add water a little at a time. (Note: The amount of water you actually use depends on the dough – and the weather. If the weather is dry, you may need to add a little more water to get the right consistency. If it is a humid or rainy day, you may need to add a little less. I’ve found it’s best to add the water slowly in thirds to ensure a good dough.)
Pinch the dough with your fingers to incorporate the water. Continue adding water and pinching the dough until it starts to come together. The dough will appear shaggy at this stage.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a clean surface. Now you can fraisage the dough, a French technique which blends the butter into the flour. Place the heel of your hand on a section of dough. Press down and push the dough out to smear it on the table. Do this with different sections of the dough until the shaggy pieces are fully incorporated. Once all the dough is incorporated and there are no remaining dry patches, gather it together using a bench scraper or bench cutter. Form it into a flat disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill for 20-30 minutes.
After the dough has chilled, remove from the plastic wrap and place on a floured surface. Roll it into a circle about 9 inches in diameter. I find my dough is more likely to be a circle if I turn the dough a quarter turn after each roll of the rolling pin. Continue rolling and turning until the dough is 1/8 inch thick. Place in pie pan. (It is easier to put the dough in the pie shell if you roll the dough onto the rolling pin.) Gently place the dough in the pan, using your hand to carefully press the dough so it is flush with the pie pan. Trim the dough that overhangs the pan. Crimp the edges with a fork, scissors, or your fingers. Set aside leftover pie dough for streusel.
Refrigerate the dough for another 20 minutes. When there are 5 minutes remaining, preheat the oven to 350°F.
When the dough has chilled again, prick it with a fork and line it with parchment paper. Pour dry beans or weights into the unbaked pie shell. Blind bake it for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven after 25 minutes and remove the beans or weights. If it is still raw, bake for another 5-10 minutes longer or until the dough is lightly golden brown and no wet areas remain.
100 gm (1 cup) Sliced almonds
100 gm (1/2 cup) Sugar
100 gm (7 TBSP) Unsalted, soft butter
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
*Leftover pie dough, cut into small pieces
In a large bowl using a wooden spoon, mix together the almonds, sugar, butter, salt, vanilla extract, and leftover pie dough. Fully incorporate everything well.
If the brisée has not been cooked: Sprinkle streusel directly on top of pie and bake.
If the brisée has been baked: Place streusel on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake streusel at 350°F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Bake an additional 10 minutes until golden brown.
600 gm (about 4 cups) Blueberries and strawberries
120 gm (1/2 Cup) Water
2 TBSP Cornstarch
100 gm (1/2 cup) Sugar
1 Tsp Lemon juice
1 Tsp Lemon zest
Pinch of Salt
In a medium bowl, set aside 400 grams (about 2 1/2 cups) of the berries.
In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, add the remaining berries, cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue cooking at least 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Some of the blueberries will start to break down while cooking which is normal. If some remain whole that’s ok.
Pour the blueberry filling in the blind baked tart and let it cool. Sprinkle some streusel around the edge or all over the pie if you like.
Pour the baked streusel on the tart. Let the tart set for 2 hours before eating. Serve at room temperature.