Monday, July 02, 2007

Market Pies and Mittitei

My life seems to be divided into two modes these days: getting ready for the farmers' market each week and then COLLAPSING FROM EXHAUSTION for a day or two afterwards before it all begins again! But last week, I cut back a lot. My first summer session class ended, and psychologically, I guess I just went into "time off" mode. I did make a lot of jam, though, including two batches from the lovely St-Valentin strawberries (16 jars) and also two batches of my new favorite thing in the whole world, apricot pepper jelly made from the beautiful, fragrant Ontario apricots from the Jean-Talon Market (14 jars). I'm not sure that I don't love it more than my regular onion-garlic-pepper's SOOOO good! But beyond jam, I didn't do much in the way of baking, other than to make pies. I promised awhile ago to share the recipes for some of the pies that I've been making lately, so here you go...

Rita's Simply Blueberry Pie (pictured, top right and center right)
(Source: Rita Pooler, winner of the Wild Blueberry Pie Invitational at the annual Union County Fair in Maine, via

1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 cups fresh berries (preferably, wild!)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon butter

Crust (I used my favorite crust recipe from Ken Haedrich instead):
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 cup rice water

1 egg white
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Make the filling: Sprinkle lemon juice on berries. Mix flour, sugar, and cornstarch. Add to berries, and toss lightly. Set aside.

2. Make the crust: In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in vegetable shortening and butter until coarse. Add ice water, and mix gently until moist. Form two balls, and roll out one of them to line pie plate. Spoon filling into unbaked crust. Dot with butter. Roll out second ball, and cover pie. Fold edges of top crust under bottom crust, and flute edges. Slit top of pie to vent.

3. Make egg glaze: In a small bowl, beat egg white with 1 tablespoon water. Brush top of pie with mixture, and sprinkle with white and brown sugar. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, and bake until filling bubbles, about 45 minutes.

Cherry-Red Raspberry Pie (pictured, top right and top center right)
(Source: Phyllis Bartholomew, grand prize winner of the 2004 National Pie Championships in Celebration, FL, via

Crust (again, I used my favorite Haedrich crust recipe):
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons super rich butter powder, optional*
1 cup shortening
1 whole egg
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice water

1 (10-ounce) package frozen red raspberries, thawed
2 cups canned pitted sour cherries in juice
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

Milk, for brushing crust
1 tablespoon sugar, for sprinkling

For the crust: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours and the butter powder, if using. Add the shortening and using a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside. In a small bowl, beat together the egg, vinegar, salt, and water. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and combine with a fork, just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix. Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for several hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

For the filling, drain the thawed raspberries, reserving the juice in a measuring cup. Drain the cherries and add enough of the juice from the cherries to make 1 cup liquid total.

In a saucepan mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in the juice and add the cherries, and simmer over medium-low heat until filling is thick and clear, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Very gently fold in the raspberries. Set aside.

Using a little more than 1/3 of the dough, roll it out between 2 pieces of plastic wrap to a size that will overlap the edge of a 9-inch glass pie dish. Fit dough in pie dish, trimming off excess.

Add the filling. Roll out the remaining dough to fit the top. Place the dough over the filling, cut off the excess, and crimp edges to seal the dough. Brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Cut 3 or 4 slits for steam vents.

Place on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, and then move to the middle shelf, reduce the heat to 350 degrees F, and continue to bake until the crust is a golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes more. Cool completely before cutting.

*Cook's Note: Butter powder is available online and at some specialty baking stores.

Vanilla Bean Peach Pie with Almond Crumb Topping (pictured center left and bottom left)
(Source: adapted from an amalgamation of two recipes from Ken Haedrich's Pie)

single pie crust, your favorite recipe

5 cups peaches, peeled, pitted and thickly sliced
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (or granulated sugar plus 1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice

3/4 cup whole or slivered almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cold, cubed
1/2 cup rolled oats (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out pastry and fit into a 9-inch pie pan.

Mix together the peaches, vanilla sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Turn the filling into the pie shell and smooth the top. Place the pie on a center rack in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the almonds, sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the pieces are reduced to less than pea-sized. Add the oatmeal (if using) and gently mix with your fingers (don't process--leave the oatmeal whole). Refrigerate topping until ready to use.

After 30 minutes, remove the pie from the oven and reduce the heat to 375 degrees. Carefully dump the crumb topping in the middle of the pie and spread it out evenly and tamp it down lightly (I use a fork). Return the pie to the oven and bake for another 30-45 minutes, or until the juices bubble thickly around the edges.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool for at least two hours before serving.

After baking pies all day Friday and working at the market all day Saturday, I was in no shape to prepare an elaborate dinner that night! So I decided on an easy grill-out meal but with an ethnic twist. As I have blogged about previously, we have fallen in love with the super-tasty burgers Romains at the Jean-Talon Market, and I was determined to figure out how to make them at home. I found a recipe online called Mittitei or Grilled Romanian Hamburger that sounded just right. Basically, it's just like an American hamburger but with different spices, and it's shaped into a cylinder like a hot dog. It's served in a regular hot dog bun with a robust mustard (I actually made my own based on an Alton Brown recipe) and some sauerkraut. It would be best if you made your own sauerkraut, but most of us don't have the time, patience or space to ferment our own kraut. So if you buy it, just try to find the freshest kind possible that still has some snap to it, like Claussen's refrigerated sauerkraut (I used another brand called Krisp Kraut this time). And, voila! These were delicious and very similar to what we buy in Montreal. I will definitely be making these many times again this summer!

Mittitei (Grilled Romanian Hamburger)
(Source: adapted from

2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic (I doubled this, as is my way!)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon crumbled dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I doubled this, too.)
1/2 cup beef stock, fresh or canned
Vegetable oil*

Combine all ingredients except oil in a deep bowl. Knead vigorously with both hands until ingredients are well blended. Then pour in the stock and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Taste for seasoning. Divide the mixture into 18 equal portions and roll each one into a cylinder about 3 1/2 inches long and 1 inch thick, moistening your hands with cold water as you proceed.

Grill or broil on the highest setting about 3 inches from the heat for about 8 minutes, turning them with a spatula or tongs every few minutes until they are crisp and brown on all sides.

*The recipe never says what to do with the oil, but I brushed each piece of meat with a little oil, using a pastry brush before grilling.

Best Mustard Ever
(Source: Alton Brown via

1/4 cup dry mustard powder
2 teaspoons light brown sugar (I used 3-4 tablespoons!)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (I used a whole teaspoon)
1/2 cup sweet pickle juice (I used dill pickle juice, as it's all I had)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup mustard seed (AB didn't specify, but I used both yellow and brown mustard seeds from my local co-op, and WHOO-WHEE, was that mustard spicy! For a milder mustard, use all yellow mustard seeds.)

In a small, microwave-proof bowl whisk together the dry mustard, brown sugar, salt, turmeric, paprika and garlic powder. In a separate container, combine the pickle juice, water and cider vinegar and have standing by. Place the mustard seed into a spice grinder and grind for a minimum of 1 minute, stopping to pulse occasionally. Once ground, immediately add the mustard to the bowl with the dry ingredients and add the liquid mixture. Whisk to combine. Place the bowl into the microwave and heat on high for 1 minute (I had to nuke it in my crappy microwave for almost five minutes to get it to thicken). Remove from the microwave and puree with a stick blender for 1 minute. Pour into a glass jar or container and allow to cool uncovered. Once cool, cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.


Anonymous said...

I'd love to see the pie crust recipe you used for those beauties!

Joy Bugaloo said...

Hi, Aria! How nice to have a comment from Oregon, my home state! (Where exactly are you from? I grew up in Roseburg and Medford.)

Ok, here is the pie crust recipe that I use. I prefer a half-and-half crust made with both shortening (for flakiness) and butter (for flavor). This recipe from Ken Haedrich is SO easy to work with, so forgiving, and a snap to roll out on a piece of floured waxed paper that you just keep rotating as you roll. I make one crust at a time in the food processor, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for longer than that. Here's the recipe:

Basic Flaky Pie Pastry (Ken Haedrich)

1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut up
1/4 cup cold water

I pulse the dry ingredients first, then cut in the shortening with a few pulses, then the butter until the pieces are smaller than peas, looking like "coarse meal." Then I add up to 1/4 cup of ice water, just until the dough starts to hold together. Then I dump it out onto plastic wrap and form a disk by patting it out a bit. Then I stick it in the fridge for at least an hour or two before rolling. But to make a whole batch of pies for the market, I usually make the crusts on Wednesday, roll them out and place them in the pans on Thursday, and bake the pies on Friday for the market on Saturday.

Hope this helps! Happy pie-making!


Just some girl said...

You already gave me the onion-garlic-pepper jelly recipe (and it's GOOD!!) - but I'd also love the apricot pepper jelly recipe, if you don't mind parting with it!

Joy Bugaloo said...'s what I did.

Apricot Pepper Jelly

1 large red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups cider vinegar
1/2 cup hot peppers, seeded and chopped (I used a mix of Cubanelles, jalapenos, serranos, cayennes, and cherry peppers)
8 or 9 fresh apricots, pitted and sliced very thinly plus 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
6 cups sugar
1 pouch (3 oz) liquid pectin

Add the peppers, apricots, vinegar and sugar to a large pot and stir. Bring to a full rolling boil for about 8 minutes. Add the pectin and stir in. Bring back to the boil for 5 minutes. Fill jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Good stuff! Enjoy--Gina

Anonymous said...

Funny....I was born in Grants Pass, and live in Bend. Thanks for the great recipes.

Randi said...

wow, you've been busy!!

Joy Bugaloo said...

Here's the other pepper jelly recipe for those who'd like it:

Gina's Locally-Famous Onion-Garlic-Pepper Jelly

1 1/2 cups mixed peppers (both sweet and hot*), seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
5 cups sugar
1 pouch Certo liquid pectin

Combine everything except the pectin and bring to a full, rolling boil for at least a minute. Stir in the pectin, bring back to a rolling boil for five minutes.

Fill jars (this usually yields 3 pints/6 half-pints) and process in a boiling water bath, 10 minutes for half-pints and 15 minutes for pints.

*I like about half red bell pepper and half whatever hot peppers are good to go from the garden. Choose according to your desired heat level, from mild Anaheims all the way up to habaneros, if you dare! I usually use something mild like Anaheim or Nardello, some jalapenos and/or serranos, and maybe some cherry peppers or (red) super chilis for a little more color. And I use the food processor to make easy work of chopping all the veggies.

Serving Suggestions:
The traditional preparation is to serve this spooned over a brick of cream cheese with crackers But our FAVORITE thing to do is to roast a chicken halfway, take it out, glaze it liberally with the pepper jelly, and finish roasting it. The chicken comes out shiny and crispy and sweet and spicy and succulent. SO GOOD!

Anonymous said...

Love your recipes and you have a precious puppy!