This week’s Baking Bible recipe was for a pie made with elderberries and blueberries. My experience with elderberries to date was in Manischewitz elderberry wine, which, according to their website is “bursting with the flavor and aroma of elderberry pie.” So now I could verify that claim, right? Well, to my dismay the answer was no because there were no elderberries to be found. Not at the supermarket, not at the farmers’ market, not at the local farmstand. So I poked around some, and discovered that elderberry season in New England is mid-August to mid-September, and also that the berries are tiny, grow in clusters that make them difficult to pick by machine, and don’t transport well. So even if I were looking at peak harvest time, the odds would have been against me. I kept my eye out for another tart berry that might work as a substitute, but nothing presented itself. So rather than give up entirely, I made NotElderJustBlueberry pie.
First, I had to make the crust. I’d never used cream cheese or baking powder in a pie crust before, but I have immense faith in Rose Levy Beranbaum. Everything in her recipes is there for a reason, and every ingredient has been tested and considered. So pie crust with cream cheese and baking powder it was. Oh, and cream! There was cream, not ice water in the crust. On the whole a very different crust experience.
Still, the refrigeration and letting the dough rest was familiar. I kneaded, and rested and measured pie pans (again a more elaborate process than I usually pursue, but again, there was clearly a well-thought-out method to the proceedings, so I measured and rolled as directed)
The pot lid was just the size I needed for a perfectly sized pie crust. This crust fits much better than the crust I usually produce but as you can see, there were still some irregularities.
Next I made the filling, cooking the blueberries with sugar, water, and potato starch. The recipe called for corn starch, but I had none, and I did have a big tin of potato starch. I’m not sure if that was responsible for the very firm filling, or if it was the all-blueberry composition of the fruit, or the fact that I had to leave my project for several hours to bring my daughter to her bassoon lesson, but the filling was firmer than any berry pie I can recall eating. Once again, the finished product below is more uniform than my usual pie, if not quite magazine-worthy.
Even the all-blueberry version was tasty, and the crust was fall-apart tender. Not flaky though. I wonder if I was a little overly enthusiastic with the food processor. Further experimentation is warranted. In fact, I think I might just buy a bottle of elderberry wine to use with blueberries in the filling. 🙂