I did it.
I made a pretty, all-butter, lattice FREAKIN' pie.
One that didn't have shrunken crusts or sides that slipped down the pan. One that didn't have tears in the lattice, misweaved braids, or bumpy crusts. Instead, this pie checks all the qualities in my definition of a perfect pie:
- A flaky, flavorful all-butter crust that doesn't get soggy at the base. Check.
- A pretty lattice crust that isn't shrunken, uneven, or torn in any way, complete with a beautiful, golden-brown finish. Check.
- A fruit filling that takes advantage of the seasons, isn't too sweet, and sets properly. The pie should be easily divided into several slices without spilling out into the pan when initially cut. Check, check, check, and check.
Well, sirs and madams, I'm pretty sure that this blueberry, peach, and lavender pie matches all above criteria.
If you've been a long time reader of my blog, you'll know that this pie has been years in the making. Pie, in general, has been my least favorite thing to make because for a long time, pie and I were at war with each other. No matter what recipe I tried — whether it be Deb's savory cream cheese crust, or that famous Cook's Illustrated pie crust with the vodka, or even Four & Twenty Blackbirds' apple cider vinegar one — I just never quite got it. There was always, always something wrong.
I was all "oh yeah, I can make a good pie, don't even worry about it" for a while, but the truth is, I was a big, fat, phony FAKE. I whipped up a variety of tasty but not-pastry-based fruit pies. This passionfruit cream pie? Used a shortbread cookie crust instead of traditional dough. This banana cream pie? You guessed it — chocolate cookies. And key lime pie, one of my favorite desserts? One of the reasons I love it so much is because it uses graham crackers to make its crust. All three are very, very, very delicious, but when examined together, pretty indicative of my former fear of making and using all-butter pie dough.
What motivated me in the end? I don't even really know. Maybe it was the countless berries and stonefruits I kept seeing week after week at the farmer's markets. Maybe it was all the beautiful pies on Yossy's and Erin's instagram feeds. But it was time to learn how to do it right, how to do it well. Since mid-July, I've been making a pie almost every other week, trying to get it down to a tee. I used the same Four & Twenty Blackbirds all-butter pie crust recipe over and over again, to the point where I could recite its ingredients and instructions in my sleep. Gradually, progress emerged. There was this almost-there bourbon and brown sugar peach pie that was worth sharing. And finally, there's this pie. Which, to me, is perfect.
I hope you think so too.
Some baker's notes:
- To give my pie a lavender flavor, I used this lavender extract from Hatchery. You can also find lavender extract online at Amazon, or in specialty baking stores. Alternatively, make your own! Combine about 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers and 3 tablespoons high quality vodka in a small glass jar, and shake, shake, shake. Keep in a cool, dark place overnight to allow the vodka to soak in the lavender flavor and fragrance. Strain out the lavender flowers before using, and voila! Homemade lavender extract.
- I still stand by this guide that I wrote a few months ago filled with all my best pie baking tips. Remember the basics — use a metal pan, keep your ingredients and your equipment as cold as possible, don't be scared to use tons of flour when rolling out, and don't panic.
- When crimping the edges of the pie with a fork, I find it's best to slide the fork out from the dough as opposed to pulling it upwards. This will help mold the pie dough onto your pan and in general, helps keep the crimp of the edge better.