I hate to say it, but summer is winding down. Just kidding, I'm actually pretty excited that summer is coming to an end, at least here in Vancouver. I've had enough of sweating. It's as simple as that. Summer is nice and wonderful, but sweaty. I managed to enjoy some of it after my trip to Italy, but then it was right into school. Not much time to enjoy summer when you're in a hot, humid, crowded kitchen for 7 hours a day.
That's the thing, baking in the summer is kind of a hassle. You get incredibly sweaty just by boiling milk on the stove! When you're finished, you don't even want your fresh-from-the-oven treat, you just want a big, cold, refreshing salad.
Maybe it's different for you folks out there with air conditioning, but this is how it is for my apartment that is almost always constantly at 27 degrees, even with the windows open and the fans going. It goes up to about 30 when I bake, so that's just lovely.
And while, for some unknown reason, my apartment still stays about the same temperature in the winter, all I need to do is open the door for five minutes and it's back down to a reasonable 20 degrees. Which is an ideal temperature for working with doughs. Warm weather is not a dough friendly environment. Anyone who lives in a hot climate and has made pie dough before will tell you this. Five minutes rolling out the dough and the butter is melting out. It's a constant back-and-forth between the fridge and the counter, just to get it rolled out.
If you have a marble working board or countertop, lucky you! But also, marble doesn't retain heat as well as other surfaces, so it is usually a bit cool, which is perfect for working with dough (and chocolate).
For all of you that don't have a marble working surface or air conditioning, the fridge will be your good buddy for this, or any pie dough, recipe. It is definitely doable, it just takes patience. This beautiful pie is worth the frustration of pie dough.
My pie dish is fairly deep, so I used almost a kilogram of blueberries. Pour the blueberries into your pie dish, without the crust in it, and see how many you need to fill to the top. It may be more or less, depending on your pie dish. If you need less, adjust the amount of cornstarch in it.
As a little side note, here is a wedding cake I did for school. It was a cake decorating project, so it's not a real edible cake underneath everything, just stryofoam. But it is covered in rolled fondant and the shards are made with isomalt and gel food colouring.
Blueberry Lavender Pie
Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma Baking Book
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons ice water, more if needed
1 egg, whisked, for brushing the top
2 tablespoons lavender sugar, for dusting on top
800 g frozen blueberries (check to see how much your pie pan holds, sizes vary)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup lavender sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the pie crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the cold butter into the flour using a pastry blender, a knife, or simply your hands. The chunks of butter should resemble coarse cornmeal. Add in 2 tablespoons of the ice water and gently press together the dough (don't knead) until it starts to come together. Add the remaining water if you need to. Make sure all the flour is hydrated and there are no dry bits in the dough. Divide in two, flatten into round disks, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place an oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
Bring out one of the disks of dough and roll it to about 3mm thickness. You may need to put it back in the fridge during this point if it gets too warm and the butter is melting out of the dough. Line your pie pan, but don't trim it yet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. While it is chilling, bring out the other disk of dough and roll it out to the same thickness. Place it back in the fridge. Take the lined pie pan out of the fridge, trim the excess, and place it back in the fridge.
Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to combine. In a large bowl, combine the blueberries and lemon juice and toss to combine. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the blueberries and gently toss to cover the blueberries completely. Immediately put into the lined pie pan and distribute the butter over top. Brush the rim of the crust with the egg wash. Bring out the second rolled out disk of dough and gently place it over the top of the pie. Trim it so there is a small bit of overhang, about 1/4 inch. Tuck this underneath the bottom crust and crimp or use a fork to create a border. Egg wash the top of the pie crust and sprinkle lavender sugar generously over the top. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, then bake in the lower third of the oven for 60- 70 minutes, depending on how deep your pie pan is. The top should be golden brown and the filling should be bubbling.
Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely, an hour or two, before serving. You can rewarm the pie in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes before serving, if you wish.