Thursday, December 29, 2011

Blueberry And Lavender Cream Pie

  Color,color what color do you choose? Violet, will be my answer. As kids we all have our favourite color. The mauve shades were my favorite specially purple and violet. I just took a trip down the memory lane and I remembered a game based on colors I used to play with my friends when I was a kid. Also, this is the beginning of a new year, so a lot of you will be reminiscing the past year, past decade etc. I'll leave you to that, while we at FSB unveil a colorful theme to represent a colorful past year and for an even more colorful new year which we all are looking forward to.

  The theme for this month was picked by me. This season of FSB saw all kinds of themes so it was tough for me to pick something that was not done before. I put on my thinking cap and landed on COLORS!! and colors instantly  remind me of the rainbow. 

  The rainbow has 7 colors and there are 8 of us. So I decided to add White. After all white is the resulting color when all the colors of the rainbow are fused together. The colors were randomly picked by the free- sprirters. I got the color violet.

The rules were simple:

  • The food must be naturally colored. The dish(s) could be sweet or savory and of any course, without using or minimally using food coloring.
  • The dish can be of a certain color by itself or it can be representative of the flavor in it. For example, I made pistachio rose water cupcakes. I added 3-4 tbsp of rose water in all but I had to add pink coloring. So usage of food coloring in such situations is OK. You can also get creative and avoid it completely, that would be ideal.
  • Of-course you can add garnishes and accessorize you final dish, but the focus should be on the color assigned.  
  This got all us, the free-spiriters busy thinking and cooking. My first thoughts obviously went to desserts (my favorite course of the meal!). I decided to use some ingredient I have never used before or make a dish I have never made before. I zeroed in on Lavender, and a pie. I thought it was going to be as easy as a pie. Boy! was I wrong. The whole process was so lengthyThe result however, was very delicious. Lavender was a new flavor for me, the taste was very new and refreshing.

Recipe for the pie filling adapted from here
Recipe for the crust adapted from here

For the Pie Crust: Makes one 9 inch pie crust. Make it 1 day before you make the pie.

1 1/4 cups of All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Sugar
3 Tbsp Vegetable shortening, chilled
4 Tbsp Butter -cold, unsalted and cut into 1/4th inch pieces
4-5 Tbsp Ice water

  • Stir together flour,salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the shortening and beat until the mixture resembles coarse sand. 
  • Scatter butter over the flour mixture and cut butter into flour using a pastry cutter or you can use your finger tips, until the mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs. The butter bits should not be bigger than small peas.
  • Sprinkle 4 tbsp of ice water over the mixture. Using a silicone spatula  mix into a sticky dough.If the dough does not come together sprinkle upto 1 tbsp of ice water more.
  • Flatten the  dough into a 4 -inch disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate atleast an hour, or upto 2 days before rolling.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator( if refrigerated for more than an hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable). 
  • Roll the dough into a 12 inch circle on a lightly floured surface  (I even floured my rolling pin).
  • Transfer the dough into the pie plate by rolling the dough around the rolling pin and unrolling over the pan. Working around the circumference of the pie plate, ease the dough into the pan corners by gently lifting the edge of the dough with one hand while pressing into the pan bottom with the other hand. Trim the edges.
  • Refrigerate the dough-lined pie plate until firm about 40 minutes, then freeze until very cold , about 20 minutes.
  • Adjust an oven rack to lower middle position and heat to 375 F. 
  • Remove the pie plate from the freezer, press a 12 inch sheet of foil inside the pie shell. Distribute the pie weights evenly.
  • Bake leaving the foil and weights in place, until the dough looks dry and is light brown in color. Takes about 23-30 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and pie weights. If you want a partially baked crust bake for another 5-6 minutes. If you want a fully baked crust continue baking for about 12 minutes till golden brown.
  •  Transfer to a wire rack.

To make the filling:
For the lavender cream:
2 Cups Heavy cream
1 Cup Half and half  or Milk
3 Tbsp Dried Lavender buds (I would add lesser next time)

For the cooked blueberries:
1 Tbsp Butter
12 oz Blueberries (I used frozen)
2 Tbsp Cornstarch

For the Custard:
3 Whole eggs
3 Egg yolks
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

To make the lavender cream: (If you are making the pie too, make this cream before you start baking the pie.)
  • Pre-heat the oven to 325 F.
  • Warm the cream and milk together until it starts to simmer. Turn of heat and stir in the lavender buds. Allow to steep for 30 minutes
To make the cooked  blueberries:
  • Set a colander over a bowl.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat add the butter. When the butter is fully melted and starts foaming, add the blueberries.
  • Cook until the blueberries are soft and much of the juice has run out. After about 3-5 minutes turn off heat and pour into the colander. Set aside the drained blueberries.
  • Mix cornstarch with the blueberry juice and set aside.
To make the Custard:
  • Whisk the eggs, egg yolks,sugar and vanilla lightly and set aside
  • Strain the Cream into a large saucepan and discard the lavender.
  • Whisk in the blueberry- cornstarch mixture. Bring to simmer over medium heat. The color looks gorgeous!!!
  • When the mixture boils and starts to thicken lightly, remove from heat.
  • Whisk in a little of the cream mixture into the egg mixture to temper it. Add this mixture to the cream mixture and whisk vigorously. It will look curdled and broken at first but it will come together into a satiny, glossy and a very violet mixture!
  • Stir in half the reserved blueberries.
  • Pour the mixture into the pre-baked pie shell and bake for 30 minutes.
  • after 30 minutes sprinkle the rest of the blueberries on top. Bake for another 15 minutes, until the center is wobbly but firm. and the crust is nice and golden.
  • Take out and rest for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

  The pie was very tasty! Specially with a scoop of icecream on the side. The one thing I would keep in mind the next time is reduce the quantity of lavender as I felt it was very overpowering, it was so strong that I didn't taste any blueberry! Other than that I felt lavender was a very unique flavor it had some cardamom notes to it and a soapy feeling(I guess that's just me, I got a new body wash that is made of pure lavender and it smelt exactly like the packet of dried lavender buds!!!). Also If you have a very dark colored vanilla extract  use a lighter colored or colorless vanilla extract, because that kind of made my violet a bit grey-ish.

Do check whats happening with the other colors of the rainbow! AnuDeepti-Orange, DK- Yellow , Lataji - Red, Mads, Nags- Blue, and Siri - Green
Pie anyone?

1 comment:

  1. OMG This looks Yum-o! The pic with the three alternatingly placed slices is my favourite!!