We asked Kate Lebo to hand-pick a pair of recipes from her Sasquatch Books Pie School that kids like as much as parents. Here now, two pies to try as the days grow longer and sweeter.
Blueberry Lemon Verbena Galette
Makes 1 galette
1 recipe Galette dough (recipe follows)
4 cups (2 pints) fresh or frozen blueberries
½ cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1 medium lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons)
Pinch of salt
10 lemon verbena leaves, finely chopped (optional)
5 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
Egg white wash (1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water) or heavy cream
Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
1. Make the dough. Let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour while you prepare the next steps of the recipe.
2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
3. In a large bowl, mix the blueberries, granulated sugar, lemon juice, salt, and lemon verbena. Taste and adjust salt and sweet as necessary. Add the flour and butter and stir to combine. Set the filling aside.
4. Retrieve the dough from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll it out into about an 1⁄8-inch round. It will be large— 14 inches, maybe bigger. (The dough doesn’t need to be perfectly round, but it lays better in the pan if it is roundish.) Trim the edges or patch the dough as needed to make it more round. Fold the dough into fourths, transfer it to the pan, and unfold it, tucking the dough gently into the edges of the pan. Let the excess drape over the edge of the pan.
5. Pour the filling into the dough. Grab some of the excess dough and pull it toward the center of the galette. Grab another spot about three or four inches down and pull it toward the center, continuing until you have used all the dough to create a soft ruffle of crust surrounding a juicy blue center. Brush the dough with the egg white wash, and sprinkle it with the demerara sugar.
6. Bake the galette in the middle of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is blistered and blond. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes more, until the crust is deeply golden and the juices bubble slowly at the galette's edge.
7. Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers on the kitchen counter loosely wrapped in a towel for up to 3 days.
Makes 1 bottom crust
¼ cup sour cream or room temperature cream cheese (see note)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup cold water
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) well-chilled butter
Note: If you use cream cheese, amend my instructions for preparing the liquid as follows: In a 2-cup spouted liquid measuring cup, whisk the cream cheese thoroughly with ¼ cup hot (but not boiling) water. There should be absolutely no lumps. Whisk in the lemon juice. Put it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have the liquid at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze it.
1. Whisk the sour cream, lemon juice, and water in a 2-cup spouted liquid measuring cup and put it in the freezer while you prepare the next steps of the recipe. The idea is to have the liquid at a very cold temperature, not to actually freeze it.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour and salt. Cut the butter into ½- to 1-tablespoon-size pieces and drop them into the flour. Toss the fat with the flour to evenly distribute it.
3. Position your hands palms up, fingers loosely curled. Scoop up flour and fat and rub it between your thumb and fingers, letting it fall back into the bowl after rubbing. Do this, reaching into the bottom and around the sides to incorporate all the flour into the fat until the mixture is slightly yellow, slightly damp. It should be chunky—mostly pea-size with a handful of almond-size pieces and a few the size of cherries. The rest of the flour/butter mixture should look like coarse cornmeal.
4. Take the liquid out of the freezer. Pour it in a steady thin stream around the bowl for about 5 seconds. Toss everything lightly a few times. If you’d like a flakier crust, stop adding liquid when the dough just coheres. If you’d like a tender crust, pour most of the rest of the liquid in a thin stream over the dough, each time stopping after about 5 seconds to toss and distribute the liquid. The dough should hold together (no puffs of dry flour) and feel a little wet. Expect it to feel much wetter than American pie dough, but not so wet that it’s like batter. The dough should hold together easily in a ball. Add the rest of the liquid, if needed.
5. With firm, brief pressure, gather the dough into a ball. Quickly form the dough into a thick disk using your palms and thumbs. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 3 days before rolling.
Strawberry Chiffon Pie with Vanilla Crumb Crust
From its featherweight name to its bright-pink filling, strawberry chiffon pie trembles with cheerfulness. That’s certainly how I felt after discovering this ingenious way to suspend raw, juicy strawberries in pie filling. The trembling might have been a sugar high, but the cheerfulness was all strawberry.
This is an adapted classic from the 1965 edition of The Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook. They suggest a graham cracker crust, but I prefer a vanilla crumb crust.
Makes 1 pie
1 recipe any-cookie-crumb crust
2 cups (1 pint) fresh strawberries, trimmed and quartered
3⁄4 cup sugar, divided
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1⁄4 cup cold water
1⁄2 cup hot water
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup chilled heavy cream
2 egg whites
Handful of perfectly ripe strawberries, sliced, for garnish
1. Prepare the vanilla crumb crust, bake it, and let it cool while you prepare the rest of the pie.
2. Chill a metal bowl and electric beaters in the freezer.
3. In a medium bowl, crush the strawberries. I like to do this with my hands, but a pastry cutter or fork will work just fine. Mix the berries with 1⁄2 cup of the sugar and let them sit for 30 minutes.
4. Pour the gelatin into a small bowl, pour the cold water over it, and stir (this softens the gelatin). Then stir it into the hot water until dissolved. Add the gelatin to the crushed berries, along with the lemon juice and salt. Refrigerate the mixture. Briefly stir the mixture every 5 minutes while chilling to catch it at just the right setting stage—the mixture will lump softly when you drop it from the spoon back into the bowl. This will take 20 to 30 minutes
5. Beat the chilled cream on high in the chilled bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture.
6. Whip the egg whites with an electric beater on high until they hold soft peaks, then gradually add the remaining 1⁄4 cup sugar as you beat the whites into stiff , glossy peaks. Fold the meringue into the strawberry mixture.
7. Pour the filling into the crust and smooth it into a mound with a spatula or spoon. Chill until completely set, about 2 to 3 hours. Garnish with the sliced fresh strawberries.
8. Serve chilled. Store leftovers under a large bowl in the fridge to protect the pie from off flavors and dry spots. Or drape the pie in plastic wrap. The filling will start to leak strawberry juice after a couple of days, which makes the crust soggy, so it’s best to eat this within 2 days of making it.
Note that you’ll need to stir the gelatin every 5 minutes while it is chilling to catch it at the right stage. If it sets too hard (when it begins to jiggle like Jell-O), you won’t be able to smoothly incorporate the cream or meringue. If the gelatin over-sets, all is not lost. Gently heat the strawberry and gelatin mixture
in a saucepan and stir until the mixture is liquid and smooth, then chill it again.
*(c)2014 By Kate Lebo. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter by permission of Sasquatch Books.