I’ve been in hyper-productive mode lately — probably because new baby is coming at the end of the summer, and I know I won’t be very productive for a while after that. Or maybe I’m just burning off nervous energy.
I’ve been a work powerhouse (which is why it’s been a bit quiet here – because I’ve been doing so much cooking and photography elsewhere), but I’ve also been cleaning like a madwoman, staying up late organizing every aspect of my life, and just plowing through novels.
I just finished The Girl on The Train.
When it comes to mystery books, I usually stay well within the “cozy” subgenre (definition of that here), but Adarsh had picked this one up as a beach read so I thought I’d give it a go. It’s not super graphic, it’s definitely gripping, and I thought I was coping alright with the rather dark threads that run throughout. Apparently not…
Our dog was sick the other night, and Adarsh had to jump out of bed a few times to take him out. One of those times, I was deeply nightmare-ing about someone lurking in my hotel room. When I was awakened by the sound of the door closing, and found Adarsh missing, I thought that someone had been trying to break in, and that he’d left to chase them. In my half-asleep state, I dialled 9-1 on my cell phone (thumb positioned over the ‘1’ so I could hit it again quickly if need be), and grabbed the only weapon I could find by stumbling through our ensuite in the dark – a bottle of shower cleaning spray. I darted around the apartment James Bond style – peeking around corners with the spray aimed at eye level before jumping out in attack mode.
Of course there was no one there. And I woke up the toddler, who was not very happy to see me pounce into his room with crazy eyes. The only dangerous person in the apartment was me. And I wasn’t really all that dangerous (damn natural cleaner made of grapefruit and some other unhelpful crap) – just (adorably?) mentally unstable.
I finished the book to get the closure I needed, and now I’m sane again (well, sane might be generous – at least I’m back to my baseline). And I’m going to be kind to myself and assume pregnancy hormones played a role. But I’m definitely going to steer away from psychological thrillers for a while. I’m about a third of the way into The Rosie Project right now and I love it.
Also (more importantly!), have you made pie yet this summer? If not, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Blueberry pie might just be my favourite. I love the way the little berries burst and spill out of the crust in a dribbly, sticky mess. So homey and rustic. Mine is very generous with the blueberry filling. I like a hefty berry-to-crust ratio.
I make my pies using only butter in the dough – I just really loathe shortening (even the non-hydrogenated kind, it’s still a barely edible substance) and though I’ve experimented with lard with good results, its presence gives me the heebie-jeebies in a fruit pie.
All-butter pastry tastes amazing, and is super flaky, but is less tender than the shortening-bearing counterparts. It kind of shatters into flakes like a croissant, rather than softly yielding to the pressure of a fork. I don’t care, it’s a fair trade-off.
When making the dough, remember – start with super-cold ingredients, cut the butter in until it resembles coarse crumbs (like the size of lentils), add only enough water to be able to press it together (it’ll appear on the dry side), and let it rest (this is a must!).
What have you been baking with local blueberries? And I’d also love some more book recommendations!
For pie dough:
- 2 1/2 cups 11.25 oz all purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter cubed, and chilled
- 6-8 tbsp ice water
- 2 lbs blueberries 6 cups
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 egg white lightly beaten
- 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Scatter cubed butter over top, then use a pastry cutter to work it into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle 6 tbsp ice water over top, and use a stiff rubber spatula to gently stir and press the dough together. Add more water only if needed to get the dough to stick together. Dump the shaggy mixture onto a lightly floured counter, and divide into two even piles. Gently press each pile into a disk, and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour, or up to 48 hours.
- Preheat oven to 500ºF and position a baking sheet on the lowest oven rack. Roll out dough between sheets of parchment paper placed on top of a dampened paper towel (this anchors the parchment to the counter). Fit the bottom crust into a 9" pie plate.
- In a large bowl, toss the blueberries with the sugar and flour; dump into the bottom crust. Position the top crust over top of the filling, then use kitchen scissors to trim the edges, leaving a 1/2" border. Fold the top border under, and use your fingers to pinch it closed (you can make a pretty pattern if you like). Cut a few steam vents on top of the pie. Brush with egg white, and sprinkle with sugar.
- Place pie on top of preheated baking sheet on bottom oven rack. Reduce oven temperature to 425ºF and bake for 25 minutes, then reduce heat to 375º and continue baking until crust is golden and pie filling is bubbling out.