Elderberries? All I know about elderberries came from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
I had to look them up to know what they look like! And they look to me like baby grapes.
Unfortunately there were no elderberries to be found, as it isn’t their season yet. But my neighbor still has raspberries! So me and my inner 9 year-old went next door, sat on the wet grass, collected some scratches, and picked some raspberries. I had to remember my old skills from picking raspberries at my great-grandmother’s house and also not eat as many as I picked 😉
I had already started assembling the crust ingredients. The Cream Cheese crust, my favorite from Rose’s Pie and Pastry Bible!
I used the food processor method. All the dry ingredients (pastry flour, salt and baking soda) in a bag, and butter into the freezer overnight, to get everything good and chilled. I ran out of big ziplocks so I made a bag with the Food Saver. I wrapped up the butter in a separate bag. Keeping the crust ingredients cold (or frozen even) does help with keeping the crust tender. BTW this is the best pie crust EVAH – easy to work with and a lot less likely to get tough.
I chilled the wet ingredients for making the crust. I usually use water in crusts, so I made up some ice water. I also put the bottle of vinegar in the freezer to cool it down. Then broke out the food processor.
I put the dry ingredients and cream cheese into the food processor bowl and processed for 20 seconds. Put in the butter and pulsed it a few times. Added the cold water and cold cider vinegar and pulsed til the butter bits were small. I divided the dough, spooning some of it into the bag I used before. I worked the dough in the bag, squishing it so it would stay together. Then I did the same with the rest of the dough mix. When that was done, I wrapped both the pieces separately in plastic wrap and put them in the fridge to cool off and relax the gluten.
Now for the filling, or part 2. I made a bit of a mistake with the filling. Actually, more like a miscalculation and a mistake. I didn’t have the full 10 ounces of raspberries, only 6 ounces or so. Oops.
But fortunately I had the rest of a bag of frozen mixed berries, which put me at 10 ounces. Yay!
My mistake was putting all the fruit in the pan together. Bad move on my part. What I should have done was put in the blueberries and frozen fruit and cooked those to where I wanted them, and just stirred in the raspberries. But no I didn’t do that. Since there was no going back, I just went ahead, stirring everything together so the pan wouldn’t scorch. Sadly, although everything thickened and it tasted pretty good, the filling looked like blueberry soup because the raspberries fell apart. Ah well, lesson learned. Poured it into my big measuring cup and chilled it.
Part 3 – rolling the crust and assembly. I don’t have Rose’s crust rolling mat or silicone rolling pin. But they are both now on my Amazon wish list [*cough* hint *cough*]. I rolled it the old fashioned way, using pastry flour to keep the stickiness down and moving the crust around with help from a bench knife. Not to bad. The cream cheese dough is fortunately pretty good to work with, and I didn’t toughen it up too much with extra flour. [I hope!]
I poured the cooled filling/blueberry raspberry soup into the crust and added the top crust. I decided against cutting the circles in the top crust. I am glad I did that, because I had [yet another] minor mishap; I put the top crust too far back and ended up not having the top and bottom crusts meet. I tried to patch it but ended up with a bit of a purple top crust. Sigh. Ah well. I cut some slits in the top and put it in the fridge to firm up, again.
This morning, I ended up getting up an hour before I usually get up for work. So I got up, went down to the kitchen, and turned on the oven to preheat it to bake the pie. Got back into bed and read. Got up for the last time 45 minutes or so later, put the pie in the oven, set the timer, and got ready for work. And boy did the baking pie smell good!
Success! It looks pretty good – if you like rustic pies. It didn’t drip out too badly in spite of the patch job. I put it on a wire rack and put it up high so the 4-legged canine children would get into it. Because it is going to be dessert tonight!
And a yummy dessert it is. Had a half-gallon of vanilla bean ice cream all ready to go. Served it right up and no complaints. The crust was reasonably tender and non-cardboard-y.
I think the seediness of the raspberries mirrored the seediness of the elderberries. Plus, to me, real fresh local raspberries have a more subtle and real flavor than the California raspberries found in the plastic clamshell at the market. Sure they may look pretty, but the flavor isn’t the same. The pie has great flavor and the filling set up perfectly.
Now that I know what elderberries are, I know what to do with them if I spot them at the farmers market. Or end up with an unexpected windfall!
Next week: 100% Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf
This post is part of the Alpha Bakers bake along. It’s an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared. If you see something amazing and want to know about the recipe please let me know. You might want to get the book for yourself, or at least check it out from your local library before deciding.