sour cream apple blueberry walnut pie

The inspiration for this combination pie comes directly from an article in a women's magazine that bob caught by chance in a doctor/dentist's office on the 14 super foods that can contribute to a more healthy cuisine for those of us Americans who are not only aware of what agribusiness and the food industry is doing to our national health but are ready to act locally to attempt to save ourselves from an eventual possibly unpleasant end should we make it that far. In fact this was a review of a new book that bob eventually ordered from Amazon after an eccentric food conversation with a colleague lead to the rediscovery of the book title and author with his help. Blueberries and walnuts are on the short list.

But it was really the free product sample at the Costco warehouse store that set the wheels in motion for the 2004 Thanksgiving dessert project. Dried blueberries? They look like purple raisins but they taste like blueberries. Sold! The fresh blueberry season is way too short, and although you can usually get them for 3.99 for a pathetically small plastic container-full out of season, the bob is not quite in the income bracket where that sticker price means nothing. Dried blueberries year round for his oatmeal with flax meal, banana, walnuts and fruit yogurt! Microwaved up with the oatmeal, they even loosen up a bit with the moisture. What a lucky find. One that bob would never have seen on his own wandering the isles impatiently searching for some other target acquisition. Free product samples really work.

The second contributing factor was the whole grain issue. 2004 had to go down in the books as the year of the new carb awareness craze. bob put refined white flour on his hit list. Aim for complex carbohydrates, like whole grain flours, yeah, that was the thing. And since bob loves baked goods, especially at the in-laws, whole wheat pastry flour had to be tried in whatever ways it could substitute for the killer white stuff. But someone had to lead the way in experimentation. Buying the stuff for the mother-in-law was not enough. The bob had to rejoin the ranks of the baking public that he had been away from too long, cheesecakes excepted.

So when the dr bob cooking team was relieved of the bird prep and supporting players activity for Thanksgiving, and stuck instead with the dessert job, it was only a matter of time before the pie idea came together. Sour cream, on the surface, might seem to defeat the possible health benefits of the other ingredients, but this seemed like the time to try nonfat sour cream in spite of our reservations about possible dangerous chemicals allowing such a product to be faked. Of course interpreting the container ingredient list requires a food expert and these guys are never around when you need them. Yogurt (another super food) might be a better substitute, but its baking with fruit properties were a possibly ruinous unknown factor that we did not need to introduce into the mix at this late time in the T-day countdown. The day before.

Pie crusts were something bob had mastered in his early single days, doing nice woven lattice topped apple pies for a few special occasions. But it had been years since we'd had any hands on experience with pies. Some new kitchen toys were ready: a pretty sleek black Good Grips rolling pin from Oxo and a silicone coated fiberglass Made In France Roll'Pat counter pastry mat that allows "dough to be rolled out effortlessly". Effortlessly that is, unless you absentmindedly approach this task without any recent experience.

After deliberating on the two whole wheat pastry dough recipes at the Bob's Red Mill website for some time, bob discovers a much simpler no-frills recipe right on the package as he prepares to execute the dough prep step. But one recipe on the website said something about refrigerating for 12 hours first, and having already learned the refrigeration trick in earlier times, this seemed like a good way to get that out of the way the night before. Unfortunately the little part about letting it sit an hour after removing from the fridge escaped bob's attention. The bottom crust was pretty stiff and seemed a bit hesitant to roll out easily like the hype said, but persistence got it out to the required diameter. However, no quick release! It had to be peeled off tediously, which it allowed without actually breaking although a few really sticky spots thinned out the dough as it pulled away. Meanwhile a cell phone spouse check from ani allows her to remind bob about room temperature dough, so he gets the brilliant idea of a brief microwave defrost cycle to warm up the top crust dough a bit. Fatal error, almost. The dough turned into superglue, so the rolling pin was useless. Not one to give up, bob simply presses it out with his hands. He's planning a lattice top anyway, so it doesn't have to be perfect. Indeed it is far from perfect since this one tears up in the peeling process. Not to worry. Carving out almost strip-like segments with the parmigiano cheese wedge tool, and giving up the weave complication, a jagged lattice top manages to get laid down in bits and pieces. The result looks great! Never admit defeat as long as there is hope for an alternative exit strategy. In the kitchen that is.

The filling required some web surfing to figure out how to marry the super food combo with sour cream apple pie. Eventually one from Epicurious that is actually in a cookbook in our library suggests itself as good start together with the adjustments from the other recipes that had popped up. Seems to work out okay. But the crust clearly needs some practice and maybe some modification. Not as flaky as advertised. But as ani suggested and bob initially rejected, warming your slice 30 seconds in the microwave before slapping on the ice cream is a good idea.

ingredients

flaky whole wheat pastry dough [or substitute your favorite less problematic dough]
2 c Bob's Red Mill organic whole wheat pastry flour
1 t sea salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, chilled (1.5 butter sticks = 12oz)
5 to 8 T ice water
filling dry stuff
3 T flour, whole wheat pastry flour if you are brave
1/3 c sugar in the raw
1/4 t salt.
filling wet stuff
1 c nonfat sour cream, full fat sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 t vanilla extract.
filling fruits and nuts
5 Granny Smith apples, halved, cored, skinned and food processed with the slicer blade
1 lemon, juice of
1 c dried blueberries
1 c walnut baking pieces (finely chopped size)
facilitator
vegetable oil spray

instructions

  1. Start with the dough prep. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.
  2. Cut the frozen butter sticks into 1/8 in thick slices if you keep your extra in the freezer like we do. If not cut your refrigerated butter sticks into 1/8 in thick slices. A good sturdy bread knife will do this job nicely in the first case. Many knives will fill the bill in the second.
  3. Dump the butter slices into the dry stuff and tediously cut it up with a pastry tool for working chilled butter or other fats into flour. What is that called? You can stop when the result resembles a course meal with pea-sized lumps.
  4. Then add 2 T of water and begin working the dough together a bit still with the pastry tool, then adding a T of water at a time until it looks like it might be on the verge of allowing a dough ball to form. Proceed carefully with both hands kneading it into shape so that the water fat and flour come together and form into a dough ball.
  5. Cut into two pieces and flatten out into disk shapes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from fridge and let sit 30 minutes.
  7. Then attack with your favorite method for rolling out the bottom pie crust.
  8. If successful try to release from your working surface and transfer to the 9 or 10 inch pie plate, sprayed first with cooking spray to help release the crust later on. We use dark glass. Set aside.
  9. Prepare the apples and dump them into another large bowl and mix them up with the juice of one lemon with your hands just for good measure. The food processor tip came from user feedback at the Epicurious web site. It makes the apple slices uniformly thin for thorough cooking and saves the extra work of slicing them up by hand.
  10. Dump the filling dry stuff into still another large bowl, or maybe the same large bowl as above if you are a fanatic about cleaning during the creative process. Bob is not. Ani is.
  11. Combine all the other filling wet stuff and dump in the apples and dried blueberries and mix up well.
  12. Pour into the bottom pie crust working the apple slices into more efficient stacking patterns with your hands, leveling off the contents.
  13. Sprinkle the walnut pieces over the top and spread around with your hands. Pat down nicely.
  14. Roll out the second crust and if brave, do a lattice top. Good luck.
  15. Bake in a 350 F oven for about 45 minutes with four strips of aluminum foil protecting the edge crust. Then remove the strips and continue baking another 10 minutes or so, and if your whole wheat crust still looks like it is not ready, turn up the heat to 425 F and finish it off for another 10 minutes. Watch it though. No need to screw up your end product because of carelessness at the last step.
  16. Remove and cool, then refrigerate. Remember this has egg and sour cream inside, so even if you might think about leaving some pie types out at room temperature for extended periods, this one should be stored in the fridge.
  17. Serve with vanilla or almost vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, no excuses. For our mandatory topping, we made our usual homemade ice cream recipe using 1 T of tiramisu liqueur as the flavoring, reminiscent of an old Ben and Jerry's White Russian flavor (we subbed the Kalua at the last minute with the more complex coffee-plus-extras flavoring in our last almost finished tiramisu bottle).

notes

  1. SuperFoods Rx, Steven Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews, William Morrow Publishers, 2004.
  2. Stoneridge Orchards Whole Dried Blueberries. Convenient 14oz resealable zip-lock bag. Under 8 bucks at Costco nationwide in fall 2004, but later disappeared. But once aware of the existence of this category of product, the cooking team immediately spotted it at Trader Joe's as a regular item under the generic Trader Joe label. What a jewel that chain is!
  3. Trader Joe's California Walnut Baking Pieces. Convenient 16 oz resealable zip-lock bag. Reasonable.
  4. Bob's Red Mill whole grain products. Like the flax meal we inject into our oatmeal.
  5. Oxo Good Grips rolling pin.
  6. World Cuisine Roll'Pat counter pastry mat.
  7. Illustrations available.
scabwpie.htm: 30-jan-2005 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]