I know that Memorial Day weekend is supposed to be the official start of summer, but for the last few years, 4th of July has held this place of honor for me. Part of it is that many big life events always happen around now—last year, the manuscript for Weeknight Baking was due this same week, and fast forward literally a year later (after SO MANY edits and design iterations), Weeknight Baking is finally going to the printers!
Honestly, I thought I would feel more joy or pride or something, but I’m mostly just relieved that Weeknight Baking will finally be out of my hands and I can catch up on sleep again. I know I keep saying this, but the last few weeks—no, months—were a little insane. My publisher set crazy deadlines; to wit, I’m currently waiting for the latest and last pass of the book, which is supposed to land in my inbox this afternoon. They asked for me to turn in feedback by first thing TUESDAY MORNING. That’s 300 pages to comb through in less than 24 hours!!! To get it done, I’m going to have to pull an all-nighter, ugh. I literally have a six pack of cold brew coffee in the fridge, ready for the mad rush later tonight.
I wish I could say that these intense deadlines were atypical, but it has been like that for the last year and, well, I don’t really know if I can say too much without exploding right now, lol. But rest assured—I know I keep saying this, but I’m working on a series about what it’s like to really like a cookbook with all the details about the crazy scheduling and deadlines. And I have opinions and feelings, both of which I’ll definitely go into more detail about. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait to read it until after summer’s over, because I’m currently burned out and planning for a relatively chill next few weeks. What does that mean? I’m planning on doing as much as I can this month so I can hopefully take the entirety of August off. Expect lots of baking on Instagram stories this month (maybe I’ll even try my first IGTV, but that seems ambitious, lol) as I get everything set up for the next two months—I’m planning on baking with all the summer fruits and making desserts like this tayberry pie.
What are tayberries? Tayberries are a cross between raspberries and blackberries; they look a little bit like raspberry-colored blackberries. They’re a relatively recent cultivar, and, according to this Serious Eats article, were developed in the late 70s by the Scottish Horticultural Society and named after Scotland’s River Tay. They’re sweeter than traditional blackberries, and have a higher level of pectin, making them perfect for pie filling. One of my pet peeves are leaky pies, and pectin helps the fruit filling solidify without being too gummy. Not to mention leading to perfect slices, too. Enjoy!
- Oregonians: I found my tayberries at my local New Seasons supermarket; I’ve also seen a bunch sold at the various farmers’ markets around Portland. If you’re not an Oregonian or Californian, it’s likely that tayberries are harder to find. In a pinch, you can substitute the tayberries for blackberries. You may want to add 1/4 cup more sugar, as tayberries are significant sweeter than blackberries. If not, you might find your pie a little on the tart side (which, no worries—just serve it with ice cream).
- To make the pie pattern, I used a mix of cookie cutter sets: big stars from this Wilton set, and little stars from this fondant cutting set. You can use whatever shapes you have on hand to make other patterns and designs too!
For the Pie Dough
- 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) very cold water
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup ice
- 1 cup (8 ounces) very cold unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Tayberry Pie Filling
- 4 1/2 cups tayberries (see baker's notes), divided into 2 1/2 and 2 cup portions
- 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed and strained lemon juice
- a pinch of kosher salt
- For Finishing
- 1 large egg white
- 1 teaspoon water
- For the Pie Dough
- In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the water and vinegar. Add the ice and whisk. Refrigerate while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Slice the butter into 1-inch cubes, placing the cubes in a small bowl as you go. Freeze while you prep the rest of the ingredients.
- Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the frozen butter and pulse until the dough starts to resemble coarse meal, with pea-sized pieces of butter.
- Remove the ice mixture from the refrigerator. Add 6 tablespoons of the mixture one at a time, pulsing for a few seconds after each addition. Scoop up a small handful of dough and pinch—if the dough holds together once pinched, it’s time for the next step. If it still feels crumbly and dry, keep adding water from the ice mixture, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough holds when pinched.
- Tip the dough into a large bowl and use your hands to squeeze it together and quickly knead it into a rough ball. Use a bench scraper to divide the dough into two halves, each around 11 ounces in weight. Shape each half into a rough ball. Wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap and flatten each into a small disc. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- For the Tayberry Pie Filling
- In a medium, heavy-bottomed sauce pot, combine 2 1/2 cups of the tayberries with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt. Cook, over medium heat, until the cornstarch has dissolved and the mixture has thickened considerably, around 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 2 cups of tayberries.
- Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it into a 10- to 11-inch circle. If the dough is too hard to roll out, give it a few whacks with your rolling pin, rotating the disc after every whack to ensure that it's flattening evenly. Transfer the dough circle onto your pie plate to make the bottom crust. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the tayberry pie filling into the bottom crust, spreading the filling evenly across the pan. Refrigerate while you work with the second disc of dough.
- Remove the second dough disc from the refrigerator and follow the instructions above to roll it into a 10- to 11-inch circle. Transfer the dough circle onto a parchment paper-lined sheet pan and freeze for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, use star-shaped cookie cutters to stamp out stars in the dough, taking care to stamp in the center of the pie and leave a 2-inch border clear for the crust. Freeze once more for 5 minutes.
- Remove the top crust from the freezer and carefully transfer to the bottom crust, centering over the filling. Use kitchen shears to trim off any dough overhanging over the edge of the pie plate, leaving 1 inch of overhang. Fold the overhanging dough onto itself, aligning the edge of the dough to the inner edge of the pie pan. Pinch along the fold all the way around to create a crimp. Dust your fingers with flour. Take your thumb and press it into the folded overhang, using your thumb and index finger on the opposite hang to pinch around your thumb and create a crimp. Repeat, crimping the dough around the entire pan, flouring your hands as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze for 4 hours, preferably overnight.
- Once the pie is frozen solid, position a rack in the lower-third of the oven and preheat to 375 (F). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Make an egg wash by whisking together the remaining egg white and water.
- Remove the pie from the freezer and place on the center of the sheet pan. Working quickly, use a pastry brush to brush the top of the pie with the egg wash, avoiding brushing the crimp.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the fruit filling is bubbling slowly in the center. Cool completely on a wire rack. The pie will keep at room temperature, under a cake dome or a large bowl turned upside down, for up to 1 day. After 1 day, cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 more days.