Midnight in Paris Blueberry + Mint Pie

Saturday, August 16

Midnight in Paris Blueberry + Mint Pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine

"A light white, a disgras, an inkspot, a rosy charm." 
     ~ Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons: Objects, Food, Rooms
August is a matchstick. It burns too fast and too hot and I'm never ready for pensive September. The lion of August has not been its usual fiery, passionate self - which only makes me more anxious. After finally falling in step with the bass rhythm of summer, I'm utterly ill-prepared for autumn. The errant back to school ads that popped up in mid-July were noxious. We're constantly thrust forward at a stomach-lurching pace while trying to heed the contrary advice of enjoying the moment we're "in." It's manic and disquieting and I wish I could wish back the month of May and to spend my re-summer in Paris. Since I'm surrendering completely to fiction, preferably 1920's Paris; surrounded by Hemingway (I know he would find my writing too floral), Eliot, Stein, and, of course, Fitzgerald (oh, if he happened to be Tom Hiddleston fulfilling a similar wish...).

Alas, it's mid August and I'm not sipping wine at a café in Montparnasse. Luckily I am surrounded by local farmer's markets, and as I nurse a too-sugary, not at all French, caramel macchiato, if I let my imagination take the reins, I can *almost* imagine I'm strolling through a cobblestone Parisian side street; surrounded by the aroma of artisan bread, fresh peaches, plums, and melons. The only missing petal is a cheesemonger.


Midnight in Paris Blueberry + Mint Pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine

After the rave reviews for last month's blackberry pie, I couldn't resist the eyelet pastry call of blueberries. Blueberries have been tumbling their way into my morning cereal and yoghurt since February. They truly are super; my skin has never been so radiant, nor have my daily runs been so unburdened by lethargy and overdramatized yawns. Of course, just like us, blueberries deserve the occasional wide-eyed reward of buttery desserts. I made a triple layer blueberry cake a few weeks ago, (which, for once, was not lopsided!) but I'm a pie girl at heart.

Homemade pie is an intimate caress - a gentle, large, fortifying hand on the small of my back when confidence falters. I'm trying to regain some of the shaken food photography poise that took an ungraceful stumble after my blueberry cake plunged like a stone on social media. I've always been drawn to chaotic, moody photos and I'll probably keep an arrow or two of the brooding + moody in my quiver, but I have an airy, fresh background board and a newly discovered photo spot! I'm still adjusting to "light" photos, after years of shooting in a shadowy kitchen, getting a feel for the perfect white balance is awkward...and unbalancing, but it's rejuvenating to take a walk on the bright side.

Perfect for impromptu late-summer picnics, this is a wild child blueberry pie with soft nuances of fresh garden mint. It's unabashedly juicy and sweet (but not too), and it rests happily amid an all butter crust that's infused with lemon thyme. My pie adoring heart found its lost peace of mind in this carefree, tousled pie. The name was inspired during a late-evening sugar craving and a spontaneous hunger for Midnight in Paris at midnight.

Midnight in Paris Blueberry + Mint Pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine


Blueberry + Mint Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

for the crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
about 1 Tablespoon of fresh thyme, crushed + chopped + sprigs removed
1 cup (that's 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes {Note: I cut the butter into cubes and let it freeze overnight in a covered bowl.}
6 - 8 Tablespoons cold half & half cream (or whole milk)

for the filling
1 cup granulated sugar (use more or less depending on the berries)
bruised + chopped fresh mint leaves (about 1 Tablespoon)
5 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

for making the crust happy & golden
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar


method
Prepare the crust: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, granulated sugar & thyme. Add the cold butter cubes and mix until evenly coated.

Place everything into the bowl of a large food processor. Using several short bursts, pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal (it will look very dry). Transfer the mixture back to the large mixing bowl and place the bowl into freezer. Freeze for about 30 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the freezer and sprinkle about 3 Tablespoons of the cream (or whole milk) on top of the mixture. Use a wooded spoon, a rubber spatula (or your hands) to gently work the cream into the dough. Keep adding cream, one Tablespoonful at a time, and mixing, until the dough starts to form a ball (you might not need all 8 Tablespoons). Don't add too much cream - the dough should be cohesive and slightly wet, but not sticky. Gather the dough into a ball and divide it in half. Flatten each piece of dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. {Note: Well wrapped, the dough can be refrigerated for three days.}

Remove one disk of dough from the fridge. On a very well-floured surface, using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the disk into a 12-13 inch circle that's about 1/4-inch thick. Gently place the circle of dough into a 9-inch pie plate - make sure it's centered, if you try to stretch the dough at this point it will shrink back in the oven. Trim the overhang to about 1/2-inch and tuck it under forming a neat edge; refrigerate while you prepare the top crust.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the second disk of dough into a 12-13 inch circle; place on parchment paper-lined sheet till ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Remove dough-lined pie pan from fridge; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar and mint leaves. Rub mint through sugar until sugar becomes aromatic. Add blueberries, flour and almond extract. Gently stir/fold until combined. Scrape berry mixture into crust, pressing down gently so it's even. If you're making a lattice crust with the second dough circle, place filled pie in fridge until strips are ready; otherwise lay the second dough circle on top of the berries - pinch or fold upper crust onto bottom crust and use your fingers or a fork to create decorative edge. Use a pairing knife to cut about three 2-inch long vents in center of upper crust.

Brush top crust, or lattice stripes, with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 45-55 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. If the edges are browning too quickly, cover them with a loose foil tent or pie protector. {Note: some of the berry juice oozed out of the pie and onto my oven - if your pie looks like it will do the same, place the pie onto a thin cookie sheet and continue baking.} Remove pie from oven and immediately place onto a cooling rack: cool completely before serving with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!

Midnight in Paris Blueberry + Mint Pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine

24 comments:

  1. Oh Valerie - this is the PERFECT pie! Love, love and even more love!

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  2. This. is. stunning. That lattice is unbelievable. And I am head-over-heels for your writing -- you could not possibly have summed up more accurately (and poetically) all my feelings about the summer ending and the fleeting month of August. I might just link everyone to you instead of writing my next blog post! So lovely, Valerie.

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    1. Thanks, Cynthia! (If only I had your food styling prowess!) xo

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  3. Ah, what a beauty! Blueberries and mint sound like a perfect match (noting this to myself for future!). I can almost taste that juicy filling and lovely lattice. Pie perfection!

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    1. Thank you, Laura! Blueberries and mint are a strange pair but they do play nicely together. :)

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  4. Replies
    1. I'm trying, Maria, It's subtle and, at times, disheveled, but I'm trying. :D

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  5. i'm absolutely in love with your blog. glad i stumbled across it as your work is so incredibly beautiful! you have a new subscriber and i definitely will be returning.

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Thalia! I'm already smitten with your blog's title!! :D

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  6. Unfortunately our summer has been rotten, so even if I generally look forward to autumn, this year I am not at all happy that September is just around the corner...

    A fabulous pie!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. This summer has been on the colder end of the spectrum...I was hoping for languid, humid, deliciously summery weather, especially after a brutal winter. Thank goodness for pie (and gin!). ;)

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  7. Whether airy and fresh, or shadowy and dark, your photos sing to me. And the Midnight in Paris theme is exquisite - perhaps Paris will be in your future next May?

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    1. Thank you, Beth! xo
      That would definitely help pull me through the coming (because I can already feel it) winter. xo

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  8. As hard as it may seem, forget about social media's approval. I remember reading on Poires au Chocolat that she decided to stop posting on sites like foodgawker etc and it reinstated her baking blog's essence and happiness :) I loved the pictures of your blueberry cake, and these ones as well! - Ariane

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    1. Thank you, Ariane. That's actually a fantastic idea; maybe I simply need to remind myself why I started blogging in the first place (it had little to do with photography). xo

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  9. I'd say you're adjusting pretty well. :)

    Not only you're making me crave pie, you're making me miss Paris, too, Valerie! <3

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! Your lovely financiers planted wistful memories of Paris in my muddled head. :D

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  10. This pie is just exquisite, and your pictures have a lovely, dreamy quality to them! Beautiful work!

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  11. Blueberry pie is high on my to-make bucket list but I'm afraid to try it for some reason. Yours is gorgeous!

    I understand about switching photography setups. I have a much easier time shooting with dark backgrounds. As much as I like white, because lighting in my house isn't the best, my pictures often come out underexposed. Love your use of both backgrounds here. :)

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  12. Love to put mint in dishes, and this pie sounds interesting enough to become one of my favorite dessert...

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Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie

 

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