Monday, August 03, 2009

Follow These Instructions and YOU TOO Can Be a Hit At Your Next Party

We broke down and bought the Jedi a bedroom set and the children played musical beds--Padawan to the top bunk and the Youngling out of the crib and into the bottom bunk. This movement, and the taking down of the crib, forced us to rearrange just about every room and drawer in the entire house. I almost feel like I've moved.

In the middle of all of last week's busy-ness, the Relief Society held its annual Garden Party. I was, mercifully, NOT in charge this time around. Still, feeling a compulsion to have my finger in some aspect of the process, I signed up to bring a pie for dessert. We have picked a lot of different kind of berries this summer and the blackberries are on right now, so I signed up to make a Razzleberry pie. I was a bit nervous, having never made this particular pie before, and being a bit disillusioned with nearly all of my past attempts at crust-making.

So I made two pies last week. A test pie and a company pie. Both results were blow-your-mind-fantastic. At Enrichment, I went to the pie table after about half the sisters had already been there, trying to choose from among the many offerings. It was a hot day, and several sisters, to avoid baking, had obviously bought pies: but not store-bought, chewy and jammy pies, there were at least six unique and yummy Marie Callendar's creations. And yet, among the 15 pies arranged lovingly on the table, my Razzleberry pie was the only one with just a single piece left. AND THE TWO WOMEN AT MY LEFT WERE TALKING ABOUT IT! One had just picked up a piece and the other said, "Oh, somebody told me to get in here for a piece of THIS before it was gone. She said it was amazing." I nearly dropped my chosen slice of buttery golden delicious apple pie right on the floor and kissed her on the mouth.


Instead, I just smiled to myself and am now passing the goodness on to you. The picture below is not my pie. The day I baked the pie I also took apart a computer desk, moved a filing cabinet, gutted and cleaned a bedroom, took the kids to the pool for three hours, hauled three big bags of garbage out, cleaned the rest of the house and picked up a mattress. Photography was very low on the priority list. But it is amazing what you can accomplish when you are "forced" off-line for a few days.

Pie Crust
(I love this crust because it uses butter AND shortening--it bakes up flaky and is relatively easy to work with like a shortening crust, but it tastes like a butter crust.)
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks cold butter cut into cubes, 1/2 cup shortening, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 2 1/2 cups flour.
Pulse in a food processor or use a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 4-6 Tbsp (2 Tbsp) at a time to the f.p. or by hand just until dough holds together. Form into two balls (each ball will make a 9 inch + crust) and refrigerate from 30 minutes to 24 hours.
When you work with the pastry, allow it to sit for a few minutes to soften slightly. Roll out your dough between layers of floured wax or parchment paper for easier transfer to your pie plate, and to avoid contact your hands which can cause it to become tough.
Razzleberry Pie
Combine 4 cups fresh and/or frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or strawberries; I used all four and a mixture of fresh and frozen), 4 Tbsp flour and a half a cup of sugar.
Allow them to sit about fifteen minutes (cupboard) or up to three hours (refrigerated) and then pour berry mixture into the bottom of a 9" pie crust. Top with a generously vented crust (filling will likely leak; you may want to put a cookie sheet under your pie plate for the last 20 minutes of baking), make a very well-sealed edge. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.
The natural pectin in berries helps the pie set up firmly, but it needs to cool, at least partially, before it works. In other words, if you cut this pie fresh from the oven, it will be a delicious, albeit, soupy mess. If you want your slices to hold up better, wait at least and hour before cutting, or even until the pie cools completely.
Serve with ice cream or drizzle generously with heavy cream. Duh.
And now that you've copied my recipe--you can help me out. How do we encourage girls to attend Young Women's when their moms and/or dads don't attend all three meetings, though they are still "active"? Is there any tactful way to approach these parents? Do any of you have trouble attending all of your meetings for whatever reason? Did any of you manage to attend your youth programs despite parents who didn't? What encouraged you to do so? Help!


Melanie said...

Oh yum that looks so good! I picked blackberries this past weekend. Now I may have to go back and pick some more to make this pie!

Sunnie said...

that pie looks delicious! seriously. and i'm not a huge fruit pie person, but i would definitely eat that right now. yum.

emandtrev said...

Wow! That sounds absolutely fantastic! I wish I could have tried some. :)

And...go you and your bad productive self!!

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Sunnie--You are nine months pregnant and about to start nursing; won't you pretty much eat anything? :)

Em--today, not so productive. Curse you high speed internet.

Janssen said...

Wow, that looks terrific. Will definitely be whipping that out soon.

Jenny said...

Ah, you've explained away my berry delicious, but berry runny pie... have patience and wait for cooling process to work its magic. I will try again. You have been so busy!

Regarding your YW/parent attendance dilemma, I really think YW 'get it' more than the adults do, and I'm sure your bubbly enthusiasm is almost enough all by itself to get the YW out to their activities. Don't you just want to step on the toes of the parents who aren't holding up their side of the proverbial piano? Not nice.

Jenny said...

Hello again--making your berry pie tonight. Went to market and found THE most plump and gorgeous berries I've EVER seen. Read the recipe again... WHAT are we adding 4-6 TBSP of to the crumb-y mixture? Water? (or is it milk?)

And is 1/2 cup sugar REALLY all that you used?

I'm all jazzed up and ready to roll out my dough...

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Sorry, Jenny! ICE WATER. Colder is better with pie. I only use 1/2 cup of sugar because I like it to still have the tart tangyness of the berries. Too much sugar and it just tastes like jam.

The ice cream sweetens things nicely. You'll have to let me know how it goes! Yeah!

TheDooleys4 said...

It sounds and looks divine. I will be whipping up some soon too.:)

chris w said...

Why you gotta give me another thing to crave (and cave into). So not nice. You are the devil of recipes. ;)

We had several girls who didn't have a lot of support at home. Just don't give up and utilize the young women. There is a beautiful story in Pres Monson's talk to the YW from the last general meeting (you probably heard it) but it is great for motivating the other girls to make sure everyone feels wanted. Feeling wanted goes a long way even if parents aren't pushing them out the door.

Slyck and Slim said...

I am very impressed that you managed to all of that in one day AND bake a pie. Thank you for sharing your secret recipe!!! As far as your YW go, I've had that kind of a week where I feel I just have no wise advice to give you. Good luck with that!

The Rich Family said...

You always make yummy creations that always seem to turn out just right!!!! I am impressed.
I am sad we never connected this summer. Maybe next time.!!!

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

Mmmm . . . berries . . .

Jenny said...

Hoo boy! That is ONE GOOD PIE.
I made one recipe of tarts, and TWO PIES! Amazing. Will make them again. SOON. Loved the flaky crust, and the berries set up just right, JUST like you said they would! TOTALLY worth the work. Thanks!

Yankee Girl said...

Sorry I'm late to the party. The thing that works best in our ward is to get the "active" girls to take an interest in the girls whose parents are sticking around. We have several girls who don't have parents who attend any meeting but still come themselves because of the friendships they have here.