Spring has sprung, sort of. Yesterday was gorgeous! But I, of course, was stuck at home, because a nasty cold has been going around the office and I was lucky enough to catch it! Blech. Not even being able to fry up a fresh egg to put on my lunch could cheer me up. I honestly would rather have the flu. Sniffling and having a sore throat and all of that nonsense is the literal worst. This is also just after I was telling one of my friends about how I read that pickles and fermented foods are really good for your immune system and I’ve been eating a ton of them for months and I haven’t gotten sick blah blah blah. Well, serves me right, I guess. I should never purport to know anything about anything. Anyway, whatever, I could use a night in without fun things like alcohol and scream-talking at friends over loud music in a bar. I’ve heard that’s supposed to be good for you, too. I’ve also heard that pie is good for you, but I think the jury’s still out on that one. It has fruit in it, though, and fruit has vitamin C and fiber, so that’s something. Does it get cooked out when you bake it for almost an hour? Who’s to say. I’m no scientist. What I do know, though, is that pie is my absolute favorite dessert and even if it won’t make me physically better, it does wonders for the ol’ psyche. This blend of fresh blackberries and those last-of-winter pears is just the thing to take you out of winter and into spring. I used my favorite pie crust this time around, which combines butter and shortening, but all-butter isn’t a bad idea, either – I just think the addition of shortening makes the dough a little easier to work with, especially when the weather starts to get a bit warmer. Add a dollop of whipped cream to the top of each slice, if you’re feeling fancy, and go nuts. I love how the filling for this is almost tie-die, with beautifully stacked slices of tender pears and swirls of juicy, purple blackberries strewn throughout. Here’s to health and here’s to pie!
You know what PEARS perfectly (sorry) with this blackberry pear pie? Cider. A big, cold, tall glass of it. Rekorderling Cider recently invited some friends and myself to Spritzenhaus to sample some of their wares, eat some pretzels and fries, and generally just enjoy the day. How can you say no to that? We brought cards, ate, laughed, and had a really great time. I’ll be completely honest: I was a little wary of the strawberry and lime flavored cider. I’m not usually one for super-sweet drinks. But I have to say – it wasn’t too sweet at all! We especially enjoyed it with a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice over a tall glass of ice. Who knew? It’s kind of a genius move, really. I’ve also heard it tastes really great with fresh mint, but that’s for next time. Rekorderlig is naturally gluten-free, so I was able to invite all of my friends, which was really nice, and at 4.5 ABV, I can drink a few without worrying about wasted in the middle of the afternoon, which is not typically the case with most beverages. If you’re into cider or you just haven’t had a cider that you particularly like, I do highly recommend seeking out Rekorderlig. It’s light, refreshing, and honestly, I’ll be drinking it again even after this super-fun afternoon happy hour. Cheers!
Spring means we drink pink things.
Taren knows how to get things started.
Even Kramer wanted a glass.
Travis won his first card game and he was pretty stoked about it.
Okay, now it’s time to make the first pie of spring.
Beautiful, plump blackberries and those last-of-winter pears.
This pie is a star.
I hate cleaning up, though.
Let this bad boy cool before you slice it up and devour it.
Welcome to spring!
- 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, COLD (NOT room temperature), cut into pieces
- ¾ cup shortening, COLD (NOT room temperature), cut into pieces
- ⅔ cup ice water, plus more as needed
- 3 teaspoons distilled white vinegar or vodka
- 1 egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten
- sanding or raw sugar, for decoration (optional)
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- 2-3 pears, thinly sliced
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add in the chopped pieces of cold butter (cold is essential for a flaky pie crust), then the cold shortening. Blend together with your hands (or, alternatively, a food processor) until you have coarse crumbs (it doesn’t have to be perfect). You can use a pastry cutter, too, if you like.
- Place the dough back into the fridge for 15 minutes or so, so it stays cold. I don't always do this if I'm short on time, but if you can spare the minutes, it helps the dough a lot. Mix together the water and vinegar or vodka in a small bowl. When ready, slowly drizzle it over the dough, a tablespoon or so at a time, gently stirring the mixture with a fork or pulsing with your processor, until fully incorporated and the dough forms into a nice ball. You may not need all of the water. It might seem a bit too wet at this point, but it will dry up while it sits in the fridge.
- Form the dough gently into 2 loose balls, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours or as long as overnight (obviously, overnight is best - I sometimes let this dough sit for 36 hours). Be sure to let your dough sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes or so before you start to roll it out.
- When you're nearly ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss together the blackberries, sliced pears, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Let the fruit sit while you roll out your dough.
- Generously flour a work surface, then roll out one ball of pie dough, large enough to fit inside of your pie dish. Cut off any excess dough, then use a small spoon to crimp the edges of the dough around the dish.
- Pour your fruit filling into the prepared pie crust. Roll out your next ball of dough. Use a spoon to crimp it to the edges of the dish, sealing it with the bottom pie crust layer. If you like, you can get decorative with extra pie crust. Go nuts!
- Brush the top layer with your combined beaten egg and water, then sprinkle with sanding or raw sugar, if you have it. Place the pie in the oven, then turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for at least 30-60 minutes before slicing and serving.