In Honour of the Great Fruit Pie

The fruit pie reigns supreme of all desserts in my opinion and I have a difficult time deciding which pie is my favourite. Big fat plump blueberries coated in lemon and sugar baked to perfection in an all butter crust, just can’t be beat. But then peaches come into season and a peach pie is like no other. Fat chunks of the delicious fruit cut into wedges, also coated in sugar and a touch of cinnamon and lemon make for a most enjoyable finish to any summertime meal.

Once fall arrives the apple comes first. Tart crisp apples cut into wedges and once again coated with sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest baked in your favourite crust not only makes the house smell amazing, but is a wonderful fall dessert as well. Next the pumpkin comes into season. This pie I love to make from scratch by baking the pumpkin until soft, scraping out the innards, mashing it with eggs, milk and maple syrup and pouring it into a pie crust made of flour, butter and chopped pecans.

Many people think pie crusts are difficult and shy away from them. I felt the same but decided in my early twenties that the only way to get good at it was through practice. Here are some helpful hints to making a great pie crust:

1. Always use all butter (if this doesn’t appeal to you use half butter, half shortening). An all butter crust may sound decadent but is the most light and flavourful.
2. Always use cold or even frozen butter, avoid handling the dough (I get my best results using a food processor), let the dough sit in the fridge for at least an hour prior to rolling it out and finally once the pie is assembled put the whole thing in the freezer for 15 minutes before putting it into the hot oven.
3. When rolling the dough use whole-wheat flour on the work surface as it adds flavour and texture to the crust.

Recently I have discovered a quick and easy way to make a pie that usually requires a top and bottom crust. I call it a “rustic” pie and in France it is known as a galette. You make one large crust, fill the centre with fruit and fold the sides over to almost cover all the fruit but not quite. Here is my rustic pie recipe made with fresh blueberries, but of course can be made with any fruit in season.

1 1/2 cups all purpose-flour
3/4 cup cold salted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp ice water

1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups blueberries
1 egg white beaten
Sugar for sprinkling

In a food processor combine the flour and butter and pulse until the size of small peas. Sprinkle in water and pulse just until the pastry starts to come together. Turn the pastry onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. On a whole-wheat floured surface roll out the pastry to a 14-inch round about 1/8 inch thick. Fold the pastry in half and transfer to a round baking dish lined with parchment paper. Unfold the pastry and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, mix sugar with lemon zest and flour. Add blueberries and lemon juice and let sit for 15 minutes. Spoon blueberries into the centre of the pastry leaving a 1 1/2 inch border. Fold the pastry border up and over the blueberries, pleating as necessary. Brush the egg white on the pastry and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 55 minutes or until golden brown and fruit centre is bubbling. Let cool and serve warm or at room temperature with lemon or vanilla ice cream.

September Food News ~

The Cottonwood Tree ~ The next Coop order is Sept 1, bulk orders receive 25% off retail. New food includes gluten free sweet potato tortilla chips, Mountain Range gourmet frozen curry entrees, soups and lasagna, and Blue Mountain cashew creamery vanilla gluten free ice cream.
The Fernie Hotel ~ The Porky Blue Ride and Roast was a huge success with everyone giving two thumbs up on the BBQ Pig. Over 250 people enjoyed a delicious meal and pint of beer from Fernie Brewing Company.
Mezzaluna & The Central ~ Thursdays include a new CINQ A SEPT where appetizers and bar food are two for one and drink specials.
Robertson Wine Agency ~ Owned by Patrick and Loie Robertson this new business represents 20 boutique Okanagan wineries with over 150 wines. They’re doing food and wine events in the Kootenays allowing everyone an opportunity to taste these wines only available through select restaurants and private liquor stores.
Fernie Wine Club ~ Island Lake Lodge is hosting a Fernie Wine Club event on a Tuesday in early September. Date, TBA - please contact the Lodge for more details.