Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dewberries revisited

So, last year I did the nostalgia thing with the kids and made dewberry pie.

Those of you keeping score at home will remember that while the resulting pies were all gobbled up post-haste, they were not perfect. Too sweet, too runny and in general almost, but not quite, similar to the pies I remembered from my childhood.

This year I resolved to try again, and this time Fairy Girl and Bug wanted to participate in the berry-picking (Monkey Girl had work). Nature, however, was not quite so cooperative. This past winter was so warm that the dewberries flowered three weeks earlier than in 2015, which meant the fruit matured earlier. The week they appeared to be at peak berry corresponded with almost non-stop rain. The long and short of it is that while we finally got to the roadside berry patch two weeks ahead of the time we did last year, the berries were already in decline. A bunch of them had gone past the overripe stage and gotten all shrivelly. Birds had gotten to a bunch of others. Other humans, however, had not, so we came away with six cups of dewberries. Not a massive haul by any measure, but a decent take when you take into account all the mosquitoes we fought for them (remember, it rained a lot the previous week).

The berries we had were enough for two pies. I tried a few things differently this time--I made a (sloppy) lattice over the two pies. This time around I included eggs and a significant amount of tapioca flour to solidify the pie and counter the runniness. I also cut back on the sugar by about 50 percent. The result? Good pies, but farther away from those Platonic-ideal dewberry pies of my youth than last year's attempts. The color of the pie filling, due, no doubt, to the influence of the eggs, was more yellow and hot pink than the deep, rich purple-red. The berries seemed diminished somehow, not as dominant in the cooked pies, even though they made up the bulk of the contents.

Not that it mattered. The pies got eaten quickly. I set them out to cool and came back to find slices missing almost immediately. Clearly, the only thing left to do is try again next year.

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Chicken Ranch Central

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