One of my goals this summer was to learn how to become a better baker. My baking skills had been somewhat limited to muffins, cakes and biscuits. Earlier this summer I added scratch pizza crust from this very easy recipe from Canadian Living which I loved as it is yeast free and ready to use as soon as done.
My next hurdle was homemade pie crust. After picking twelve cups of blackberries (with numerous scratches to prove it) this week I was inspired to try my first pie from scratch. There have been a few frozen pie crusts in my past but no more.
Sorry about the picture. The pie was so good I forgot to take a picture until after we ate half. The recipes I used were both found on allrecipes.com (my favorite free recipe source):
1. No Fail Pie Crust I
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shortening (I used Golden Crisco - room temperature DONT REFRIGERATE, I would not recommend using butter or margarine)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cold water
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs.
2. Mix egg, water and vinegar together. Pour into flour all at once and blend with a fork until dough forms a ball.
3. Wrap with plastic and chill in refrigerator (for at least 1/2 hr)
This recipe apparently freezes well. I had a little left over so will find out.
2. Blackberry Pie Filling I
4 cups fresh blackberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
2. Combine 3 1/2 cups berries with the sugar and flour. Spoon the mixture into an unbaked pie shell. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup berries on top of the sweetened berries, and cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges, and cut vents in the top crust for steam to escape.
3. Brush the top crust with milk, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack.
I had no pie rack so improvised using a metal rack that goes in the bottom of my roasting pan. I also had no pastry brush so used a barbeque brush for the milk bath on top of the pie. Next time I would make the crust a little thinner as now trust this recipe to know it doesn't tear easily.
OMG maybe the best thing I have ever made! I still have some berries in the freezer for later baking, and yes, my piecrust making abilities will only get better from here on out. If you have never tried a crust before - try this NO FAIL RECIPE! Even if you overwork the dough it still comes out flaky.
I only had time to pick these berries and make this pie because...I quit that job! After three days I knew it wasn't me - but wanted to make sure so gave it a full two weeks and quit. Thankfully we are financially secure enough for me to make this decision. I have never quit a job in such a short period of time in my life, usually working at jobs from 2 to 10 years. Frankly life is too short to be stuck doing something you know you don't like. Life here on the island is no longer only about work work work, it is about living life the way we want to.
Fortunately, hubby's business made huge leaps and bounds this week and he has asked me not to find another job as he needs my help right now with administration. I was already his blog keeper and travel arranger. Now I will be doing more to ease some of the burden off him. He started his business six months ago and all his hard work is starting to pay off. I am very proud of him. The option is always there of getting another job but for now we are going to try this out.
You never know what curves life will throw at you and we count our blessings every day. Three months now living on Vancouver Island and we are definitely going with the flow!