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Jess and I entered a pie contest today, run by the fine bakers at Mission Pie. It was awesome wacky funtimes. I made my standby Best Blueberry Pie Ever (recipe below, of course), and Jess made a really interesting experimental tart that included:

- Crème fraîche custard
- Halved figs
- Mascarpone cheese sweetened with honey dolloped on top of said figs
- Thin slivers of prosciutto on top of the mascarpone cheese

It was quite delicious, but some of the taste combinations jarred a little, and Jess is going to tweak it until it's perfect.

We ultimately had enough leftover pie filling, pie crust and topping to make three miniature tarts, so we decided to enter the big blueberry pie and one of the experimental tartlets in the contest.

Mission Pie was MAD CROWDED when we got there, y'all. 27 pies went toe-to-toe (crust-to-filling?) in a battle for ultimate pie superiority, and many more people were there to sample the deliciousness.

I'm too tired right now to go into the technicolor details, but suffice it to say that Jess and I tasted some damn tasty (as well as a some fairly mediocre) pie, and after all the honorable mentions were given...my pie won the best filling award, even if it didn't win best overall pie. Hot damn! The prize was a red boa--not the feathery kind, but the wispy feathery kind. Anyway, I win I win I win I don't lose I WIN!

And now, pictures, courtesy of Jess!


The blueberry pie, pre-topping.


Delicious topping being applied RIGHT NOW.


The fig tartlet that was entered in the contest.


Jess's tartlet, all plated and ready to be nommed!


My plating? Much less pretty.


JESUS CHRIST LOOK AT ALL THOSE PIES.

And now, dear readers, my recipe!

Crust: Use your favorite recipe, enough for a single crust; if you don't have one, here's a pretty solid one I stole from A Baker's Dozen:
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons ice-cold water

1. Mix salt into flour. Cut fat into flour using your favorite method (I, personally, love using the food processor).
2. When mixture has pea-sized bits of butter in it, add water slowly and mix gently until flour starts holding together.
3. Flatten into a disc and store in fridge.

Filling:
6 cups blueberries
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup corn starch or 1 tablespoon guar gum

1. Put everything in a large pot and toss all the ingredients together so that berries are evenly coated.
2. Cook on medium heat until mixture is starts to release water. At that point, start stirring fairly constantly to make sure it doesn't burn and leave you with an unholy gunky mess.
3. Cook until the mixture is thick and rather gummy.
4. Transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until mixture is cooled (about 3 hours). This step isn't too super-critical, but it's cool the filling down somewhat before baking it.

Topping:
(Note: For something just about as delicious but somewhat less of a bother, buy a bag of almond meal from Trader Joe's instead of getting the whole nuts.)
1/3 cup whole raw almonds
1/3 cup whole raw pecans
Buncha brown sugar
A few generous pinches of salt
3/4 stick butter

1. Process almonds and pecans into a fine meal.
2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan.
3. Throw in the nut meals.
4. Add brown sugar and salt until it tastes right--it should be assertive and sweet, but not gag-inducing, so add a little and keep tasting.
5. Cook until mixture starts to smell good but before it starts browning.

Assembly:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Roll out pie crust and put into 9" dish. If you want to be schmancy, bake in the oven while weighted down with pie weights until it's a pale gold color, about 10-12 minutes.
2. Put filling in.
3. Grab handfuls of pie topping, flatten between palms and place carefully on top of pie.
4. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until filling bubbles up and crust is golden brown. Let cool for about an hour before cutting.

I'm now pondering the Ultimate Fruit Tart of Ultimate Destiny, which I'll hopefully be making when I get back to Portland. It'll contain:

- Tart crust (we learned today that my pie crust recipe also makes a fantastic tart crust)
- Mascarpone-honey filling as the base
- Fruit topping consisting of peaches, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries, cooked with cornstarch and sugar

All of this will then be chilled and served cool with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.

All hail my masterbakery!

Date: 2008-08-04 11:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ennazusmiranda.livejournal.com
Looks delicious! I may have to try this sometime... I'm going to have to add this post to my memories for future reference. :)

Date: 2008-08-07 04:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misshepeshu.livejournal.com
Yay sharing of delicious recipes!

Date: 2008-08-04 11:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashfae.livejournal.com
Piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!

Date: 2008-08-07 04:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misshepeshu.livejournal.com
I imagine you saying that like "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!" Hee.

Dude, if we ever meet in person, I'd totally bake like a motherfucker for you.

Date: 2008-08-07 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashfae.livejournal.com
Girl, there would be tag-team baking awesomeness. You do pie and I will do the best brownies you've ever eaten. Deal?

Date: 2008-08-07 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashfae.livejournal.com
(I don't suppose you can magically warp down to California during the last week of September, could you?)

Date: 2008-08-08 06:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misshepeshu.livejournal.com
Yeah, not so much, what with the law school and all.... But if you were in Seattle, I'd totally drive up there and bake with you there :D .

Also: best brownies ever? BRING IT. I AM NOT AFRAID. (to eat utterly delicious things, apparently.)

Date: 2008-08-08 12:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashfae.livejournal.com
Ah hah, but if I add one Secret Ingredient to the recipe they turn into Vampire Brownies that EAT YOU BACK. So you SHOULD be afraid!

I want to go to Seattle, actually; one of my loveliest friends, [livejournal.com profile] frostmorn, is up there. And I want to go back to Portland, too, and introduce Chris to Powell's! WHY CAN I NOT TELEPORT, DAMN IT!

Date: 2008-08-04 07:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skeets.livejournal.com
That is some good-lookin' pie!

Date: 2008-08-07 04:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misshepeshu.livejournal.com
Why, thankee! Once you're all moved in and have time to breathe again, I'd love to bake for you. Because baking = awesome.

Date: 2008-08-09 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yodiepants.livejournal.com
you're incredible!

PLEASE MARRY ME!

Date: 2008-08-09 09:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misshepeshu.livejournal.com
Dude, as soon as I'm not committing bigamy by doing so, HELL YES.

Or, y'know, I'd love to bake for you some time. Hooray!

Date: 2008-08-12 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yodiepants.livejournal.com
Bigamy is only half as bad as quadragamy!

Maybe we could have a cooking date! I've recently discovered that thinking I can't cook was just a silly limiting belief and if I pray to Julia Child and trust in her guidance, I can create decadent splendors. Hurrah! Such as to say: let's have dinner!

Date: 2008-08-16 11:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] misshepeshu.livejournal.com
Dude, I've been meaning to write this big long thing about how cooking is actually a relatively easy skill to learn, and that contemporary American pop culture has a tendency to blow it all out of proportion, making it seem harder and messier and more out of reach than it actually is. I'm convinced it's all due to the manufactured foods lobby. *dun dun DUUUUUUNNNN*

Dude, we should totally make dinner together some time. What you doing next week?

Date: 2008-08-18 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yodiepants.livejournal.com
I think your article is actually at the very least 10000% imperative to the daily living of so many people. I know one of my big problems is a time management one, and thinking about "IS MY TIME BEING SPENT EFFECTIVELY?" and "IS THIS RESTAURANT QUALITY?" and "IS THIS COST EFFECTIVE?"

Dinner is the best idea! I'm getting out of work at 4:00pm m-f this coming week. Thusly, I suppose most any day is good! Maybe a Thursday? THIS THURSDAY? And should there be a theme?

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