This is going to be a funny thing for me to complain about, but so far, one of the most difficult things about moving here is that there’s too much to do. It’s a far departure from my beloved city of Portland (and even San Francisco, to some extent), which I knew like the back of my hand. I knew exactly where to go for every one of my whims and desires. If I was craving boba? Boom, I could pick from the three places worth getting boba from (Tea Bar, Fat Straw, Bubble Bubble) in the entire city. If I was craving a fatty, greasy sandwich? Easy — pick between Bunk and Lardo. Can’t find the specific produce or ingredient I’m looking for? No biggie, I’ll just wait until the Portland Farmers’ Market rolls around on Saturday.
But here, I don’t even know where to start! I talked about this in a previous post (thank you all you wonderful folks who provided me tips and recommendations), but there is just so much to do everywhereanywhereallthetime. Some of it I didn’t even KNOW I wanted to do until I realized they were real things. Stuff like ordering and eating a bowl of cookie dough complete with TOPPINGS. Or things like “chocolate covered cloud puffs”, which are basically little drops of mousse dipped in chocolate. And literally swimming in a pool filled with NOTHING BUT SPRINKLES.*
*Also, as a result of all these food-related endeavors, I’ve been spending the mornings trying to find my soul at SoulCycle. I haven’t found it yet.
So forgive me if the baking around here has been a little bit scant, and my Instagram’s been filled with more cityscapes and desserts not from my own kitchen. I’m still drowning in this crazy thriving metropolis that is New York City. However, I did manage to yank myself away from all distractions long enough to whip up this blackbeary (HA GET IT) and passionfruit curd pie for #humhipieamonth (because when I commit to something, I apparently REALLY commit).
Why blackberry and passionfruit, you ask? I wish I could give you a more inspired answer, but the truth is, I saw it in a cookbook once and it sounded bomb city. I’d never heard of anybody using whole fruit and a curd together in a pie, so I figured it why not give it a try? And it was worth it. It’s delicious. Delicious enough to temporarily distract me from all the lobster rolls, Scandinavian hot dogs, and honey drizzled pizzas this city has to offer.
Just temporarily though.
- Let’s talk equipment: I used the following oddly sized (but oh-so-cute) rectangular deep dish pie tin from Falcon Enamelware. It’s definitely not a standard size, but I’ve found that a standard recipe for a double-lidded 9-inch pie crust works for the tin. The pie plate is surprisingly deep, so it ends up using a lot of dough! To cut out the bear shapes, I used the following cookie cutter from Daiso, this awesome Japanese dollar store that sells everything and anything. You can get it from Amazon too.
- Because you’ll be using curd in the pie filling, don’t be surprised if the filling is more liquidy than your usual pie. Don’t worry! That liquidyness is tangy and delicious. However, it does mean that the crust will get soggy faster — be sure not to miss the step of brushing “pie dust” at the bottom of the pie before filling! This will help prevent any soggyness. I also didn’t use as much sugar in the pie as I usually would; the curd already adds extra sweetness, and sugar would have drawn more liquid out from the blackberries.
- This was my first time ever using shortening in my pie crust. I have mixed feels. On one hand, I appreciated how easy it was to roll out the dough and stamp shapes; the pie also did a wonderful job of keeping its shape in the oven, with almost no shrinkage! However, I’m a food snob and shortening grosses me out. I mean, it tasted fine, but definitely not as flavorful as butter or lard. Also, I think it gave the pie a weird gray tinge??? Or is that just in my head? You tell me.
Get the Recipe: Blackberry and Passionfruit Curd Pie
For the Passionfruit Curd
- 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (2 fluid ounces) passionfruit puree
- 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (1 stick // 4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
For the Shortening Pie Crust
- 2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (8 ounces) very cold vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) cold water
- 1/4 cup (4 fluid ounces) apple cider vinegar
- around 1 cup ice
For the Blackberry Filling and General Assembly
- 1 1/2 heaping cups (12 ounces) fresh blackberries
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided into 2 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon portions
- 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 tablespoon demerara (or other coarse) sugar
- a candy thermometer (preferably instant/digital)
For the Passionfruit Curd
- In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 3 large egg yolks until well combined and you have a homogenous pale yellow mixture. Whisk in 1/4 cup passionfruit and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice until the mixture thins out and place the pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (and make sure to use a heatproof rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the pan), until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 8 to 10 minutes, and registers 160 (F) on a candy thermometer.
- Once the mixture registers 160 (F), remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 cup cubed unsalted butter, a couple cubes at a time, only adding more when the previous cubes are fully incorporated. Once all the butter has been added, use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the curd into a small glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and set, at least 2 to 3 hours (but preferably overnight). The curd keeps in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator for up 2 weeks.
For the Shortening Pie Crust
- In a medium bowl, stir together 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Add 1 cup very cold vegetable shortening pieces and coat with the flour mixture using a bench scraper or a spatula. With a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour mixture, working quickly until pea-size pieces of shortening remain (a few larger pieces are okay — be careful not to overblend).
- In a liquid measuring bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cold water, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 cup ice. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons if the ice water mixture over the flour mixture (from the first step), continuing to use the pastry blender to cut the water into the mixture until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, using your hands to mix until the dough comes together in a ball with some dry bits remaining. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, and, if necessary, sprinkle any dry bits with small drops of ice water to combine. Divide the dough into two equal portions. If using a rectangular pie tin, shape one portion into a rough rectangle, and the other into a rough rectangle. If using a regular circular tin, shape both into rough circles. Wrap each portion in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow. Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.
- Once the dough has chilled overnight and has the texture and consistency of saltwater taffy, it’s ready to be rolled. Liberally sprinkle a work surface with flour (see baker’s notes). Unwrap the circular portion of dough (but keep the rectangular portion in the fridge!) and place it on the work surface, sprinkling its top with flour. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes. If the dough seems too sticky at first, add flour liberally. If using a rectangular pie plate, roll the dough out into a rough 5 x 13-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. If using a circular pie plate, roll the dough out to a circle about 11 to 12 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. In both cases, you can place your pie plate upside down over it to check if the crust is the same size.
- Move the dough into the pie plate by folding it into quarters, then moving it into the plate and unfolding it. When the dough is in the plate, press it firmly into the bottom and sides of the plate. Use kitchen shears to trim the excess dough, leaving about 1/4-inch overhang over the pie plate’s rim. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the coldest part of the refrigerator while you roll out the second portion of dough.
- Re-flour your surface and roll the second disc of dough into a rough rectangle or circle for the lid, following the measurements from the 3rd step. Use a cookie cutter to stamp out designs. Transfer the lid to the refrigerator and chill while making the pie filling.
For the Blackberry Filling and Assembly
- In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Use your hands to toss the fruit until all the berries are covered with a dust of cornstarch and sugar. Spoon about 1/3 cup passionfruit curd over the mixture, and use a rubber spatula to toss until the fruit is coated with curd. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour and remaining 1 teaspoon granulated sugar until well combined. Remove the pie plate lined with the pie crust base from the refrigerator, and use a pastry brush to the base of the pie with the flour and sugar mixture until completely covered. Make sure you get the sides of the pie too!
- Once the base has been "floured", use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to spread about 1 tablespoon of passionfruit curd across the pie crust base and sides. Spoon the blackberry and curd filling (from the 1st step) into the pie, using your hands to pat down the fruit to create an even layer. Remove the designed lid from the refrigerator and transfer carefully onto the pie. Fold the edges of the base over the lid and crimp to seal the lid onto the base of the pie. Transfer to the freezer and chill for 20 minutes, preferably an hour.
- Once the pie has chilled and you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Prepare a sheet pan by lining with parchment paper.
- Once the oven has preheated, remove the pie from the freezer and set on the parchment lined sheet pan. In a small bowl, quickly whisk 1 large egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water together to create the egg wash for the pie. Use a pastry brush to brush the lid and edges with the egg wash; sprinkle immediately with demarara sugar, concentrating the sugar more on the center of the lid than the edges. Transfer to the oven and bake for at least 1 hour, or until the crust has turned golden and the juices are bubbling. If the edges of the pie starts to brown faster than the rest of the lid, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
- Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing. Enjoy!