Sunday, July 26, 2015
ElderBlueberry (or BlueCurrant) Pie
A few weeks ago, when people started talking about how they were going to get elderberries, or what they were planning to substitute, I realized I didn't have a Plan B. I also realized that Rose said her elderberries are in season in August, and yet I scheduled the pie for July for some inexplicable reason. I still wasn't worried, but when people started talking about the various berries one might substitute, I began to think that I might end up just making a plain blueberry pie. I still refused to worry about it, though.
So I popped into the Farmer's Market, figuring that I'd at least get good blueberries, and I saw these things--white currants. White currants are an albino variation of red currants. Seriously, that's what I read. I also read that they're edible, which was good to know, seeing as how I was planning to feed them to my nearest and dearest. They're translucent champagne-colored berries that are quite attractive. I ate one and found them seedy and unpleasantly bitter, so that sounded like Rose's description of uncooked elderberries (although their unpleasant-to-eat nature did not bode particularly well for their use in a dessert). They're also extremely time-consuming to remove from their annoying little stems, but I ended up with almost 284 grams of them).
I was very excited to use Rose's new pie equipment. The red cylinder in the background is a rolling pin (Woody gave me my choice of colors, and I took red). You can take off the ends and fill the pin with something to make it heavier (I had the idea of filling it with ice cubes so it would be heavier and colder, but I ended up deciding it didn't need any extra weight). The rolling surface has 6-, 12- and 14-inch circles, which, along with the silicone strips that measure the thickness of the dough, makes it pretty simple to get the crust the right thickness and diameter.
I still don't end up with a tidy pie crust, but maybe if I keep baking pies until I'm 80....
The elderberries are at least more or less the same color as blueberries. These aren't even close. If I added some red berries, I could pass this off as a Fourth of July pie.
But once the berries cook in syrup that turns an intense purply-red (amaranthine? magenta? claret?), the difference in colors were less pronounced.
I had what I considered to be a brilliant idea for decorating the pie. I didn't want to even try to make berry cutouts, and I didn't feel like doing a lattice again, so I thought it would be cool and modern and different just to cut out a few different circles. Somehow it didn't look as amazing as I'd hoped, partly because berries oozed out of a couple of the cutouts, spoiling the effect I was after. This one looks like two eyes and a beak--not at all what I was aiming for.
I might try this again, but I'd make one of the circles very small.
You can still see the currants, but they look almost red now, while the blueberries are a very deep purple. The crust looks pretty flaky.
I can't judge the ElderBlueberry Pie because I have no idea what it tastes like, but this pie is similar to Rose's description of the EBP in that the fruit is crunchy and the blueberries are barely recognizable as blueberries. My fussy daughter, who thinks that many of the things I bake are "just odd," said she thought this was quite good "for a fruit pie," so that makes me think it's better than odd. I will probably not go searching after either elderberries or currents next year around this time, but if someone ever gives me some, I'll know just what to do.