Thursday, July 7, 2011

.red, white and blue (berry) pops.

on the morning of independence day, i couldn't think of anything more all-american in the kitchen than homemade pie. with plans to go to friends' for bbq and then to a fireworks event, i figured that a full-on pie would be messy to make mobile. i've had in my mental back pocket a while the desire to make pie pops and this, my friends, was the perfect excuse.

here's what you need:
pie crust
2.5 cups flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 sticks of cold butter
4-6 tbs ice cold water

blueberry filling
1.5 pints fresh blueberries
2 tsp cornstarch
pinch of black pepper
1/4 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
1/2 cup sugar

start with the pie crust because it will need some time to nap in the fridge after it is made. mix your flour, sugar and salt together. the next move would probably be much easier with a pastry cutter, but being that i don't own one, i used a whisk and so can you. with a metal whisk, blend in your cold butter cut into slivers.

you should end up with a coarse, crumbly batter and possibly a really sore forearm. at this point, you'll think to yourself that there's no way this will become a pie crust, but you're about to add in the magical ingredient. ice cold water.

get ready to really dig in; so, remove any jewelry you may have on so you don't end up with a (pie) crusty ring. pour in the four tablespoons of your chilly water and begin kneading, squeezing and working the dough. your end result should be a well formed blob with no dry pieces. i had to add an additional 1.5 tbs of water to get mine to this desired consistency.

from there, split the dough in half so you can easily roll it out flat. feel free to work it with your hands and a rolling pin or whatever works best for you. it helps to keep your hands and pin well-floured so they don't stick to your dough.

once you have half of your dough rolled out, wrap it in plastic wrap and set aside. now, just repeat this process with your other half. once both halves are all flattened out and wrapped, place them in the fridge to rest for about an hour. if you have a huge work surface and a jumbo roll of wrap, you don't have to separate the dough into two pieces. i worked in normal kitchen land and had to make mine two pieces for working ease.

after doing some dishes and various chores, i set about making the filling. here's how.
take the pint and a half of blueberries in a medium sized bowl and add the cornstarch, sugar, and pepper (yes, pepper).

with a grater or zester, prepare just a quarter tsp of lemon zest to also add to your bowl.

as you begin to mix and stir these ingredients, smoosh some of the berries (about thirty percent of them) to have some liquid to mix with the cornstarch and other ingredients. once you've combined the filling ingredients well, you are ready to get your pie on.

pull your refrigerated dough out and decide what shape you will use for your pie pops. i used a tried and true circle for my pie pops so they'd resemble mini-classic pies. push the cookie cutter into the dough and lay them on a floured baking sheet. leave some space for your lollipop sticks as you're placing them on the sheet.

once you have your bottom pieces laid out, stick one stick about two-thirds of the way up your shape and gently press it into your bottom pie crust.

now, take your delicious blueberry filling and scoop out with a teaspoon onto the center of each sticked-pie-half. you might have some blue juices easing out and making a mess. you have two choices. 1) be a perfectionist and wipe up the spillage and try to be super neat on the next one. or 2) be like me and have blue goo everywhere and while it may not be the prettiest, realize it still tastes great.

once you have all the pies 'filled,' you'll want to put a top on these babies. so, take the same cookie cutter you used for the bottom piece and put its twin crust on top. you'll have to work it a little with your hands to make sure it fits over your mound of filling. pinch the sides closed. you can use a lollipop stick to press in cute little design marks around the edges or use your fingers to pinch in the same manner. the choice is yours of course.

take a toothpick and poke out a few breathing holes on top so your blueberries don't suffocate in there while they're in the oven cooking away. set your oven on 375 degrees and place your cuties in there. the cook time varies. while you don't want them to burn, you also don't want them to be doughy. you're basically waiting for a golden crust; as on a regular ol' pie. this will be between 13-17 minutes. just keep an eye on them. no napping during this step.

once they're all golden and delicious looking, pull them out and allow to rest on the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. repeat the process with the rest of your dough. keep re-rolling your dough until you've used it all up.

try not to be impatient like me and begin dressing them up with little bows and stuff before they're completely cooled. they could fall apart if you're like me. for the pops i was patient with, i was able to get them all dolled up for their presentation later that day. these little goodies are absolutely pie-licious! i was tickled red, white and blue at how they turned out.

now go on, see for yourself.

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