Cherry, Blueberry, and Rhubarb Pie Feat. Serious Eats’ Easy Pie Dough

A couple of friends and myself gathered one summer day to make and eat pie. There’s a saying that goes “what grows together, goes together”. So perhaps the fact that cherries, blueberries, and rhubarb are all ready at around the same time is the universe’s way of telling us that they would make a great pie filling.

pie in the makingThe crust for this pie came from the website serious eats. It’s different from most other pie dough recipes, and I’ve been curious to test their unconventional methods based on the science of pie crusts.

Although the recipe calls for the flour and butter to be pulsed together in a food processor, we used a fork to cut the butter and flour. I had some serious doubts about the pie crust while we were making it. The dough felt really buttery and soft, whereas my previous experiences told me that pie dough is usually more dry. But when I tasted the crust, any skepticism I had disappeared. The dough came together quickly and it was also very flaky. Bonus points: it holds up whale designs particularly well!

Pie pictureAlthough this pie crust can’t tell you how it feels like to be feated in this recipe, you can watch Marshall Mathers discuss when he was a feated as a musician in this hilarious interview with Stephen Colbert.

Cherry, Blueberry, and Rhubarb Pie Feat. Serious Eats’ Easy Pie Dough

Makes: 1x 9.5 inch pie

Ingredients

Pie crust

Recipe from: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/easy-pie-dough-recipe.html

  • 2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (20 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
  • 6 tablespoons cold water

Pie filling

  • ~ 1/2 cup fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1/2 inch segments
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • ~ 2 cups cherries, washed and pitted
  • ~ 2 cups blueberries, washed
  • 2 tbsp corn starch

Method

  1. Combine two thirds of flour (1 and 2/3 cup, or 8.3 oz) with sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse twice to incorporate. Spread butter chunks evenly over surface. Pulse until no dry flour remains and dough just begins to collect in clumps, about 25 short pulses. Use a rubber spatula to spread the dough evenly around the bowl of the food processor. Sprinkle with remaining flour (0.83 cups, or 4.2 oz) and pulse until dough is just barely broken up, about 5 short pulses. Transfer dough to a large bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with water then using a rubber spatula, fold and press dough until it comes together into a ball. Divide ball in half (make one half slightly bigger– that’ll be the bottom crust). Form each half into a 4-inch disk. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before rolling and baking.
  3. While dough is chilling, in a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine rhubarb, sugar, and water. Cook until rhubarb is soft when mushed with the back of a spoon. Add more water to prevent burning if necessary. Drain off any extra water before using.
  4. Combine rhubarb, cherries, blueberries, and cornstarch in a large bowl, mix.
  5. Roll out one half of the pie dough and line the pie plate with it. I like rolling out the pie dough between two sheets of plastic wrap to prevent the dough from sticking to the rolling pin and the surface.
  6. Place oven rack ~1/3 of the way from the bottom, preheat oven to 425 °F.
  7. Fill the bottom crust with the fruit + cornstarch mixture. If you’re a slow dough roller (like me) you can refrigerate or freeze the half-finished pie at this point to keep the bottom crust cold while you roll out the top crust.
  8. Pinch the top and bottom crusts together, make a few slits for steam to escape, and decorate it however you want to.
  9. Bake at 425 °F for 20 minutes on the lower rack, decrease oven temperature to 350 °F and bake for another 30 minutes. Check on the pie after 20 minutes, if the edges are looking like they might get too dark, put some aluminum foil around them to prevent burning.
  10. Allow the filling to cool and firm up a bit before slicing. It tastes good with ice cream and whipped cream.

Durian, the (Stinky) King of Fruits

Memories fade over time, and that’s why I’m writing about durian while its scent still lingers on my fingertips.

Durian fruit in shell. Image from: https://i0.wp.com/www.thingsidigg.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Durian-Fruit-Thai.jpg
Durian fruit in husk. Image from: http://www.thingsidigg.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Durian-Fruit-Thai.jpg

Durian is a large fruit native to Southeast Asia. Unbeknownst to me before this trip to Malaysia, there are many different cultivars of durian, some commanding a higher price than others. All durian varieties have a hard husk that is covered by numerous short, hard, spikes. The colour of the shell ranges from green to brown. Inside, one finds yellow or red coloured segments with a distinct smell.

In my experience, most durian sellers will open the fruit and extract the edible segments for you. This makes eating durian a lot more accessible than trying to open the whole frozen durian sold in Asian supermarkets in Canada. The durian I tasted was was bought by my friend Reema. The segments came in a white styrofoam container. On the advice of a local, we refrigerated the durian before eating it.

Durian segment composed of 2 smaller pods
Durian segment composed of 2 smaller pods

Love it or hate it, durian has a very strong scent. Wikipedia has an excellent article describing the flavour and odour of durian. To me, it smells of sulphur, sweetness, and something rotting all rolled together.

The texture of a durian depends on its ripeness. The segment I had was ripe, hence soft. The edible portion was covered by a very thin membrane that held together the mushy flesh. The membrane was slightly rubbery in texture, but yielded easily to the tearing pressure of my teeth. The flesh was very soft and rich, the consistency of creamy mashed potatoes. Next to the seed, there was another layer of thin membrane similar to the outer membrane surrounding the segment.

Durian seed (L) and pod (R)
Durian seed (L) and pod (R)

The taste is harder to describe, and many factors influence how it tastes, including the variety of fruit and its ripeness. When I first tasted a segment, its flavour was very mild. Because of both the texture and the taste, I was reminded of eating an avocado. The aftertaste that lingered was similar to the smell of a durian, which is not entirely unpleasant. A few hours later, when I tried a different segment, the taste was completely different! I wasn’t sure what caused this. Maybe the second segment came from a different durian fruit? This time, I tasted the pungent punch of onions, garlic, and garlic scapes. As I tasted different parts of the fruit, I noticed areas that were particularly bitter or stinky. Strangely, I did not notice any aftertaste of the smell.

Unlike many who have tried the fruit before me, I have neither fallen in love with the fruit nor sworn it to be my natural enemy. I probably will not seek it out, but I wouldn’t mind eating durian candy or ice cream. And who knows, maybe I will change my mind about durian, just as I have about avocado and olives. If you are ever in Southeast Asia, the fruit is definitely worth a try, but split a container with a friend or two just in case!

Cherry Pie

Happy belated Canada Day! I made this pie with my friend C for a special Canada Day dinner. Featuring fresh sweet cherries and served with ice cream, it was delicious.

Cherry Pie
Cherry Pie

The pie crust was made using this all butter crust recipe. The recipe makes a double pie crust (for top and bottom), but since I choose to do a lattice top, I didn’t use up all the dough. Next time, I will probably reduce the amount of flour to 2 cups from 2.5 cups and butter from 1 cup to 4/5 cup. 
In a food processor, pulse together butter, flour, salt, and sugar.
Then add in ice water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough just holds together. 
The trick to a flaky pie crust is leaving bits of butter in the dough. When the butter melts in the oven, it also separates the dough into layers. To preserve bits of butter until the very end, be sure to use very cold butter (try freezing cubed butter for 20 minutes before using).
When adding water to the dough, do it one tablespoon at a time. The dough should just hold together when pinched between two fingers; too much water makes a tough crust. Also, use ice cold water to prevent butter from melting. 
 
Divide dough in half, shape each half into a disk 6 inches wide.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.



Chilling and resting the dough is an extremely important step. This allows the gluten in the dough to relax, which will make the pie dough tender rather than tough. 


While your pie dough is chilling, this is the perfect time to prepare the filling. First pit the cherries: using a pairing knife, cut the cherry down the middle, all the way around the pit. Twist and pull the two halves apart. Then, work your knife around the pit to dig it out. I used 4.5 cups of fresh pitted, halved sweet cherries, which was approx. 1.5 lb. Add sugar and corn starch to the pitted cherries and mix thoroughly

Roll out the pie crust to 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick, transfer to 9 inch pie plate

Once the pie dough has been rested, take both disks out of the fridge and let it warm up for 20 minutes to make rolling easier.

Roll one disk to 1/8th inch (3 mm) thick. While rolling, give the dough a 90 degree turn every once in a while to make sure nothing is sticking. Add some flour if the dough is getting sticky. Transfer into the pie plate, and fill with cherry filling.

Roll out the other half of the dough to the same thickness, and cut into strips about 1/2 inch (1 cm) wide. Make a pretty lattice pattern with the strips.

Weave the strips into a lattice pattern.
Brush top with milk and sprinkle sugar on top.

Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for another 35 minutes. I also put my pie under the broiler for a minute to further brown the top. 

Cherry Pie
Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie
Serves: 8

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, 1/2 inch cube
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6-8 tbsp ice water
  • 4.5 cups pitted sweet cherry halves
  • 1/3 cup white sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp milk
Method
  1. In a food processor, pulse together flour, butter, salt and sugar until butter is the size of a pea.
  2. Add in ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough just comes together when pressed between your fingers.
  3. Form dough into two equal disks, wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.
  4. Combine cherries, sugar, and corn starch for the filling, set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  6. Roll out one disk to a circle 1/8th inch thick (3mm), and place on the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate
  7. Fill with cherry filling
  8. Roll out the second disk to a circle 1/8th inch thick, cut into strips 1/2 inch (1 cm) wide. Gently lay the strips in a lattice pattern, pressing the edges to seal.
  9. Brush top of pie with milk, and sprinkle with white sugar.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce oven temperature to 350 F, and bake for another 35 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before serving.