Monday, July 30, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie: Blueberry-Nectarine Pie

Available to a good home: one double batch of pie dough, separated into four disks, one disk gently used. Amazingly, dough was made without a drop of liquid, aside from that existing in a hyper humid atmosphere.

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.


Cathleen | My Culinary Mission said...

Always nice to have a plan B!! The majority of my filling ran out. Yours looks great!

Unknown said...

Really pretty pie. I enjoyed this recipe and will use the crust again.

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Looks beautiful (and delicious!)! :)

Tammy said...

How many times have I pasted together random chunks of an ugly crust? Yet it always seems to survive and improve during the baking process. Magical isn't it?

smarkies said...

I had issues with the dough too. Took me two times and some willpower to just keep on going till the pie was in the oven baking.
Well done!

Marlise said...

Someone else used the vodka dough recipe - I just read their blog - cannot remember who. Good for you for switching gears last minute and using this recipe. IMHO that was a good move.

Catherine from said...

A fun post! Thanks for sharing. I too live in high humidity land ... ugh!

The remaining pie dough -- I used one crust for a beautiful ham and cheese quiche and the other for the very best Pecan pie I have ever made. Recipe coming soon on my blog at

blessings! Catherine

Paula Montenegro said...

I´m glad your pie turned out perfect in the end, but a hot kitchen is really not a nice place to be baking! I want to hunt down the vodka dough, it sounds great.

loavesandstitches said...

I feel your pain about the humidity and heat. Have you tried freezing your butter and shortening? I have also tried that CI dough recipe--it's pretty good, but I found it kinda wet and sticky. Your pie looks beautiful and I bet it tasted great!

Sweet and That's it said...

Despite all the difficulties you encountered, you made such a great pie! Congratulations

Cher Rockwell said...

This summer has not been baking friendly, but you look like you overcame your challenges with flying colors!