Thursday, August 28, 2014

Summer Fruit Crisp: When the Living is Lazy

When the berries are perfect but you're too lazy to make pie, make berry crisp.

When you're too lazy to write a real blog post, post an easy recipe for berry crisp that you've tested a  bunch of times and always turns out crazy good.

Berry Crisp (Vegan)
Serves 6-8

1 cup oats, divided
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

8 cups berries
3/4 cup sugar (haven't tried coconut sugar in the filling - would that work?)
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
Big pinch salt

Preheat oven to 375.

Prepare topping: Combine 3/4 cup of oats, flour, sugar, salt, and coconut oil in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to combine. Use your fingers to work in remaining 1/4 cup oats.

Prepare filling: Mix everything together and spread in a baking dish.

Scatter topping over fruit mixture and bake until topping is brown, at least 60 minutes. Maybe 70.

Cool one hour before serving.

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Pie Who Loved Me: Perfect Blueberry Pie

Sorry about the title of this post. But I have had two intense emotional experiences with this particular blueberry pie and therefore feel entitled to my goofy, grammatically nonsensical pun, okay?

The first was at its place of origin, The Grit in Athens, Georgia. I was on tour, feeling homesick and fragile, and a slice of this pie moved me to tears. I don't know if it was the crying or the eating that helped, all I know is I cleaned my plate and was happier, and since then I have attributed therapeutic powers to The Grit's blueberry pie. I acquired the recipe years ago, but haven't turned to it until this summer, on a tough weekend when I felt too down to do much of anything. Once again, the pie did not disappoint.

I guess that any absorbing activity, anything that takes your focus out of your bad brain, can assuage a bout of the blues. The specific advantages of making perfect blueberry pie are: 1) there is a fair amount of booze involved, and 2) the activity concludes with YOU EATING PIE. Which in itself makes everything at least a little bit better.

Perfect Blueberry Pie
Adapted from a recipe in The Grit Restaurant Cookbook  

Pie Crust for double-crust pie (we use the Cook’s Illustrated recipe for vodka piecrust and it turns out great every time)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Juice and zest of 1 medium lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons brandy
4 -1/2 cups fresh blueberries
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, chopped into small pieces
1 heaping tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 450. Line a deep pie pan with ½ of pie crust.

Combine cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and brandy and mix well. Add blueberries, sugar, butter, sour cream, flour and cinnamon and gently stir until combined. Pour into pie crust and cover with top crust.

Place pie on a large cookie sheet (Very important! This is a very juicy pie that will explode all over your oven!).

Bake at 450 for ten minutes, then reduce heat to 350. Bake an additional 50-55 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Cool completely at room temperature and then refrigerate until tomorrow, if you can stand to wait. Your patience will be rewarded.