For this week's Tuesdays With Dorie project, we made Blueberry-Nectarine Pie. You know, pie seems like the perfect summer dessert. What could be better than to harvest summer's bounty of fresh fruits and berries, encase it in a flaky dough, and bake it into a dreamy dessert? Basically, when the weather is all disgustingly hot and humid, it all falls apart with the flaky dough. That's why someone invented cobblers, crisps, grunts, and their ilk: all the glory of summer fruit without the agony of producing pie dough.
So that leaves us with the baking assignment. I dutifully made the pie dough from the book. I decided to make the dough early in the day, before the temperatures got too hot; there was nothing I could do to avoid humidity. I chilled everything. Since I figured it would be quicker, I decided to use the KitchenAid mixer to prepare the dough. Before I got done incorporating the shortening -- after already having mixed in the cold butter -- everything came together like cookie dough. I had ice water ready to go, but didn't need it.
What to do, what to do? I dumped out the ice water, divided the dough into four disks, and put it in the fridge. I then decided that I needed a backup, so I turned to Cook's Illustrated. While I'd never made their vodka-infused pastry dough, I remembered the article and figured I'd give it a try. Again, I had the same problem with cold ingredients become warm so quickly that I had a cookie-dough-like situation instead of pie dough. I added the liquid anyway, wrapped up the dough, and put it in the fridge.
The filling was not a problem, unless you count the horrific blueberry-buying trip to our local Costco, which is currently being renovated, meaning the store and its parking lot are in complete disarray.
When it was time to assemble the pie, I got out a disk of dough, floured it, and placed it on the marble. Unfortunately, it could not be rolled out. I went to plan B and got out the CI pastry. It wasn't pretty, but I got it rolled out and into the pan. I had to patch a couple of spots. Next, the filling went in. Then I rolled out the top crust and got it in place, again with a few patches.
Amazingly, it didn't look too bad. I chilled it while the oven was heating, and then crossed my fingers, held my breath, and popped it in the oven. Forty-five minutes later, I ended up with this:
How did that happen? The pie looked great. It smelled great. The crust didn't shrink, despite the amount of liquid I'd dumped in it.
I ended up bringing the pie to work today. After I sliced it, I found that the filling was a little on the runny side, yet the fruit managed to stay together within each slice of pie. All things being equal, the crust was not bad. The sprinkle of sugar on top made it nice and crispy, and it even had a slightly flaky quality.
No idea what I'm going to do with the other batch of dough. Maybe I can press it into small pie tins or tart pans. Now that I've finally tried the CI pie-dough recipe, I feel pretty sure that I'll be using it again. On a dry, cool day. In September or October.