About a week ago I turned to Adam and said, we need some fruit in our world. There’s a little hiatus, I find, between fall (apples!) and the summer fruits that I love and the influx of California fruit in the stores that was making me crave Oregon berries with a passion.
I have this habit of waiting until seasonal fruit is, well, just that. Seasonal. It’s much more a selfish act (and the love of anticipation) then it is being a locavore. Although there is some of that too :) It’s about that first bite of a Hood strawberry in the beginning June. You will never ever eat a strawberry so sweet and tart and overflowing with syrupy, succulent juices any other time of the year. Even in May, from California.
And then there’s the anticipation. It’s like knowing you can only get a certain meal at a certain restaurant, and no other. There’s a dessert I had in France way back in 2004. A friend of mine took me to Café Angelina in Paris for a Mont Blanc. Even then, I wasn’t much of a dessert person, but her words, “you will only ever find this dessert here, in this café,” thrilled me to the core. The idea that if I ever want that Mont Blanc again means that I would have to travel to this little café in Paris, and probably only in November, caused me to look at the world and eating a little differently.
It made me consider the value and respect, and even worship the French have for their food. And why we Americans (generally speaking) don’t? Is it overabundance? Why, when we have so much amazing foods of significant quality at hands reach, that people of means still shuttle their car through the fast food drive through? It’s a conundrum.
Back to the berries. We wait. We wait all year long till the rains slow and the markets start to glow red and smell sickly sweet. We picked up a half flat of Hoods and nursed them slowly. Two days later I had a farm shoot in Roseburg, and my gracious hosts sent me home with a whole flat of strawberries and a whole flat of raspberries.
Ask and you shall receive.
I followed Kim Boyce’s recipe for Spelt Pie Dough from Good to the Grain which involves a technique called fraisage that helps ensure a flaky crust. There a few extra steps than your typical crust. Feel free to use what ever crust recipe turns you on. For all intents and purposes, however, this is a basic everyday strawberry pie recipe.
I also replaced the recipes use of shortening with more butter.
What you’ll need~
For the dough:
1-1/3 cups spelt flour
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks plus two tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup or so ice water
For the pie:
About 3 pounds of strawberries, halved (mine came out to be 4-5 cups)
1/3-1/2 cup sugar, depending on how sweet your berries are
1/2 cup cornstarch
Squeeze of half of a lemon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
A few pinches of raw sugar
Spelt Pie Dough:
Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Cut the butter into quarter chunks and add to the dry ingredients.
Rub the butter with your fingers breaking them down until they’re the size of peas and crumbs. Do this quickly to help ensure a flaky crust.
Add 1/4 cup of ice water to the mix and use your hands to just barely bring the dough together. The dough should be in “mostly one lump, with a few shaggy pieces.” If the dough feels too dry, add one tablespoon of ice water at a time.
Now for the fraisage:
Dust your work surface with flour.
Transfer your dough to your work surface and pinch off about two tablespoons worth of dough.
“Push the heel of your hand down toward the counter and away from you. You want to smear the dough, flattening and elongating the butter.”
Repeat with the remaining dough and then separate into two equal sized balls.
Wrap separately in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Combine your berries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon and vanilla in a bowl and set aside.
Take one half of your chilled dough out of the fridge.
Gently press the dough into your pie dish leaving a bit of slack to allow for shrinkage during baking.
Spoon your berry mix into the center of the of the dish.
Remove second ball of dough from the fridge and roll out the same way as the first, but slightly smaller.
Place second disk over berries and gently press down into the fruit with your hands.
Trim edges of dough as necessary.
Crimp and pinch the edge of the dough to seal the pie.
Freeze your pie for 45 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375
While the pie is freezing make your egg wash. Whisk the egg until all the yolk is combined and set aside.
After the pie is done freezing, remove from freezer and brush with egg wash.
Sprinkle to taste with raw sugar.
Cut slits around the center of the crust.
Bake your pie for about an hour.
The pie is done when the top is golden brown and the berry juices are bubbling.
Let cool for a bit before serving. The pie is delicious warm, but I found it was fantastic cold the next day, just pulled from the fridge. No fork needed :)