I was reading here that some recently “hot” New York dining trends are either slowing down or completely dead. Like the notion that “pies are the new cupcakes.” Several months ago several food authorities predicted that the cupcake thing might be over and that pie would replace it.
Well, in New York at least, cupcakes are still wildly popular and don’t seem to be going the way of blackened fish or jello molds. (And I know of a place in Portland, Oregon where the cupcakes and other bakery items are going strong!)
But I have to say, I love pie. I grew up in a household where the Mom baked, mostly cookies but also pie. We rarely had cake in the house and the only cupcakes we ever ate were from the Dugan’s box (2 chocolate, 2 vanilla, 2 strawberry).
I loved those Dugan cupcakes, which everyone who knew anything knew how to eat: you peeled off the thick, sweet icing on top, ate it first in case there was a nuclear bomb attack and you didn’t make it through the day. Then you ate the cake part. The philosophy of eat the best part first.
Yet, I remain a pie person. I always have pie, not cake on my birthday (which was last week and we had apple pie for dessert). For me pie has never been a trend. It’s not just a Thanksgiving thing.
Different pies in different seasons of course. Summer is one of the best pie times because of all the magnificent blueberries, peaches, rhubarb and other stuff I can stuff under a crust. Here’s a good recipe for Blueberry Pie:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar, optional
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small chunks
1/3 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into small chunks
4-5 tablespoons liquid (milk, water, orange juice, etc.)
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in the workbowl of a food processor. Add the butter and shortening and process quickly several times until the mixture resembles coarse meal (you can do this by hand too, working the fats into the dry ingredients with your fingers or a pastry blender). Pour in 4 tablespoons liquid and process until the mixture comes together as a soft ball of dough. Only use the extra liquid if necessary. Cut the dough in half, flatten each into a disk, wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes (or refrigerate or freeze for future use). When ready, roll one disk to fit inside a 9-inch pie pan. Roll the other disk to use as a top crust.
5-6 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small chunks
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice. Toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Spoon the filling into the dough-lined pie pan. Dot the filling with the pieces of butter. Place the second piece of dough on top. Crimp the edges to seal the crusts together. Make 2-3 air holes on top. Bake for about one hour or until golden brown. Let cool and serve. Makes on 9-inch pie