Unsettling is the fact that I almost let National Pie Day slip by unnoticed — and then where would I have been? (Hint: in a sad, pieless state of mind.) Fortunately for me, several peeps in my facebook minifeed made mention of the day’s celebration, and I dove into my baking project before the sun could set on Pie Day.
My decision to make an Apple Blueberry Pie was entirely influenced by what I had in the fridge — apples and blueberries. Saturday evening, after Hook and I had visited nostalgic favorite Ploy II for a mediocre-yet-charming Thai dinner, I hit Haight St. Produce for ginger ale, OJ, kleenex, and a giant bag of apples. Bag of apples? Don’t ask why — I was under the effects of Day Quil! (Note: Most of my shopping decisions cannot be analyzed logically, regardless of what medications I’ve recently taken. Just ask anyone who knows my shopping habits.)
Anyway, I was thankful last night that I had five pounds of apples (and some lonely blueberries) kicking around. After peeling, coring, and thin-slicing six cups of apples*, I filled my crust with slices and berries, pouring over the fruit my mixture of sugar and special baking spices** and then dotting the whole mess with butter. I opted for a lattice top instead of a crumble; while crumble is delicious, I love the appearance of the latticed dough (even when the construction is imperfect, as mine was).
The result? Wholesome deliciousness. I’m glad I reduced the amount of sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup — this modification, along with the addition of the baking spices, made the pie perfectly to my liking (that is, not too sweet and a bit spicy). One thing I’d change next time around would be to add a wee bit of cornstarch to the sugar mixture. As it was, there was some excess juice that I drained off, and I like my pie contents to be less liquid and more cohesive. True to his research-prone nature, Hook looked up what Bittman does in situations like these. As it turns out, Bittman does not add a thickening agent (i.e., cornstarch), but doesn’t condemn those who do. Huzzah! Next time, my pie will be perfect.
Happy belated pie day, all! Until next year, keep those slices rockin’ — and whipped-cream topped, if you can.
*The six cups refers to the amount of apples I had after I’d finished these processes, mind you. You knew that already, of course: I just wanted to clarify that lowly, clunky sentence.
**The “baking spices” were actually “Baking Spice” from Penzey’s, which Hook’s sys gave him as a stocking stuffer. Delicious!