I’ve had an eat weekend.
An “eat” day, week, or weekend is a term I think I first heard from Joy the Baker and Shutterbean on the Joy the Baker podcast. Basically, it’s a period of time in which you eat everything in sight, more or less. Most of that food is also what one would call indulgent.
It began Friday night, when I ate chips and salsa and frozen pizza and made scones with a friend of mine. Saturday included a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich for lunch, followed by a lavish dinner out with the family. When I say lavish, I mean multiple appetizers, bread, cream-based soup, scallops wrapped in bacon, pasta in beurre blanc (aka butter sauce), and three kinds of sorbet for dessert.
Question: who decided that an entree featuring bacon needed pasta topped in butter sauce as a side? Also: what human eats the appetizers AND the bread basket? This human, I suppose.
So Sunday morning rolls around, and I’m still a little full from last night, but that doesn’t matter. I’ve got my mind set on baking biscuits.
Biscuits are a standard item that I strongly suggest all of you include in your repertoire. They are seriously so easy and quick. Biscuits belong with every meal: with jam, butter, or honey for breakfast; as a sandwich for lunch; and with stews and soups for dinner. I got my recipe out of the Betty Crocker cookbook and used the buttermilk variation on the baking powder biscuits.
Why buttermilk, and what should you do if you don’t have it? Read here.
It looks a lot like scone dough, doesn’t it? They’re almost the same thing. It’s important not to over mix biscuit dough so that you don’t get rid of the air sitting around inside of it. Baking powder, baking soda, and buttermilk are reacting to create some really great, fluffy texture. When I cut this dough into rounds, I could hear a squishy, deflating sound. That is a good sound.
Little pillows of heaven.
See how they’re already a little puffed up? That’s a good sign.
Let me illustrate this airy, flaky thing for you:
Just one more picture in case you haven’t been convinced to make these yet:
Breakfast? I think yes.
So, with two of those slathered in butter and honey sitting in my stomach, we went off to church. And then we went to an Indian restaurant for lunch. It was buffet style- of course. I managed to get in a plate chock full of rice, naan, and curries before my stomach said, “Please stop.” And then I snuck in a mango lassi, mango ice cream, and a gulab jamun. And THEN my stomach finally said, “Please stop NOW.”
Naturally, you can imagine how difficult it was for me to shake myself out of a food coma and make a strawberry pie.
Yeah, I made a pie. I made this pie, from Brown Eyed Baker. Someone remind me to follow this blog more often. This is the second pie I’ve made from her site, and I’ve had bonkers success both times. Coincidentally, both pies are adaptations of Cook’s Illustrated recipes. Cook’s Illustrated is an excellent resource. They test and re-test their recipes until they get things exactly right. It may seem like more work, but trust me, it’s reliable and worth the effort to follow their methods.
I did the crust from scratch. Hate me if you want, but you should get on this bandwagon too. From-scratch crust is not as hard as you think it is, and the results really do blow storebought crust out of the water.
Went in there without a hitch.
Just so you know: pie crusts often require chilling in between steps. Unless you have all day to work on a pie, I’d suggest you make the disk and chill it overnight, and finish it off when you’re ready to bake a day or two later. I had to chill this crust three times: once as a disk to firm it up; then in the plate like above; and then after I fluted it, like below.
Just trying to make it look pretty.
This pie crust really shrunk after baking, but don’t worry, it’s going to do that anyways.
Flaky and buttery.
But this pie is really all about the strawberries.
This is about the twentieth photo I’ve taken of strawberries recently.
The recipe calls for three whole pounds of strawberries. No skimping here, kids. It really takes three pounds. Get them at a good price at a farmers’ market, or hit up the store when there’s a sale.
There are two parts to the filling: glaze and raw strawberries. Puree the strawberries by themselves in a food processor:
I was half-tempted to add a banana and some ice and call it a smoothie.
Then, cook these at a full boil with cornstarch, low-sugar recipe Sure-Jell, sugar, and salt. Cornstarch and Sure-Jell are thickeners. They will help hold the filling together so it doesn’t completely fall out of the pie. Stir that mixture constantly: don’t leave it unattended, or it will scorch and stick to the pan.
Let this mixture cool, and then toss in the remaining two pounds of strawberries until they are evenly coated. Dump into the cooled pie crust, make it look pretty, and let it chill in the fridge until it’s set a little bit- at least a couple of hours, but not overnight.
Disclaimer: I hated the lighting in my kitchen for these photos.
And another shot:
Glossy. And tall.
I suggest you serve this with a little whipped cream. I do not recommend ice cream, because the point is to let the strawberries shine. Is the pie time-consuming? Yes. It really is. But this is a winner for the way it highlights the fruit as simply but as stunningly as possible.
Every positive dessert-related adjective belongs here.
I stuck that landing.
It will probably be a few days until you see more food on this blog. Can you blame me? I’ve got plenty of other things to talk about, though. So please stay tuned!
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