Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Blueberry Nectarine (but really plum) Pie ~ BWJ

My pie is in the oven as I write this, and I can't wait to try it. I've got a feeling that my "must have as your go to crust" did not turn out, but the fruit filling and cherry vanilla ice cream will cover that up anyway.

I'll admit I almost didn't make the crust. I happened to have bought a pie crust for a chicken pot pie dinner one night this week, and thought to myself how easy it would be to just use that. Then I read that this crust, above all others, should be in our baking repertoire. Something about the perfect balance between butter and shortneing. I think maybe I added too much shortening, because even after a 9 hour chill, it never really hardened up and stayed moist. And when I tried some of the raw dough, I found it a little bitter. Butter never has that effect on me. Shortening does. Above is my first attempt at rolling out the dough. Not too terrible, but getting it off the countertop and into a pan, not good.

No way was my dough hearty enough to hang over a bowl as suggested! I had to fix the cracks, easy enough when you have dough as flexible as this. I just patted it into my pie pan. Then I gave it a 10 minute bake because I didn't trust it holding up to the fruit and juices.

Instead of rolling out my top crust, I patted it out with my hands. I'm thinking that it's not a good sign I could even do that. But it did stay together a little better when I put it on top.

Not having prepared for this bake session, I lucked out in having bought blueberries on my last shopping trip. I did not, however, purchase nectarines. But I did have a truckload of plums since my oldest child has been eating several in a sitting lately. Sounded like a good combo to me.

So my only changes were somehow screwing up the crust, using plums instead of nectarines, and prebaking the bottom crust for 10 minutes. Otherwise it's the same Baking With Julia recipe you can find either in the book itself, or at these host sites: Liz of that Skinny Chick Can Bake! and Hilary of Manchego's Kitchen.

Oh @#*! The timer just went off and I forgot the important step of putting a cookie sheet underneath. Grrr. Guess the oven has been past due for a cleaning anyway. I'll be back to post pictures of the finished product and my verdict after it cools off.

Verdict- blueberries and plums, great together in a pie. The crust, good on impact with all the flavors mingling, but after each bite there was an oily coating from the shortening in my mouth. So far my least favorite crust we've made. Maybe I overworked it? Maybe I put too much shortening in? After that last bit of water that made it seem too moist, should I have added flour? It certainly wasn't a complete failure. My husband went in for a second piece right away (after he made me cut into it 15 minutes too early because he couldn't wait). But knowing how great our other crusts have been, I doubt I'll be revisiting this one. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Semolina Bread~ BWJ

No recipe changes this time! Well, as long as you don't count going crazy with the razor. Again with unclear directions, I just took it to my level of enjoyment. You can find the recipes from the Baking With Julia book here ~ Anna takes some beautiful pictures, and here from Renee, whose added Rosemary looks devine.

I'm proud of myself for squeezing in fresh baked bread on top of the insane running around that come with being a stay at home mom of two kids involved in several summer activities. I had to skip the last post because I was out of town with a friend, and feeling very removed from the group, I was making this bread today no matter what. I just enjoyed a warm piece slathered with butter, accompanied by a glass of red wine for dessert. It was good. Not great like our first White Loaves post, but good will do. Especially since my bread maker is on the fritz and I haven't made bread in a long time. This blows the Wonder Bread I've been buying out of the water.

I was expecting something a little more.....wheat-y? I'm glad I didn't run out and buy semolina. It's too "white" for my husband's taste, and not white enough for mine, to call it amazing anyway. But, I do think it will grow on me. My friend-baker-blogger gave up 3/4 cup of semolina flour so I could complete the recipe today. (Thank you Bridget!) She turned me on to the world of baking together and blogging about it, and for that I am grateful. But I'm more grateful that I get to call her a friend. Who else would make sushi with me and party plan for weeks on end? Or have semolina flour and an owl cookie cutter on hand and get them to me in less than a days time? All unique qualities that I admire. Yes B- I did just finish that glass of wine, so this is your nice drinking text.