Blueberry Sour Cream Torte

A week ago I was talking with a friend about pie and they mentioned a rather easy and super-tasty tort. It’s like a pie and a cheesecake and it has blueberries. I love blueberries. And of course I also love pie and cheesecake.

Today I added to my Sunday to-do’s the torte recipe that was sent special delivery by Edith. It was very easy and made the house smell great.

The crust:

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup sugar

2 egg yolks

2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

Pre-heat your oven to 400F. Combine the butter, sugar and egg yolks. Stir in remaining ingredients until it forms a dry, coarse meal. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a 9 in. spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes and allow to cool. Press the remaining mixture 1 inch up the side of the spring form. Reduce heat to 350F. Set crust aside.

The filling:

4 cups fresh blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup quick cook tapioca

1/2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel

1/2 tsp round cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine ingredients and let stand 15 minutes. Cook in medium saucepan until bubbly. Pour into crust.

The filling:

2 egg yolks

2 cups sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Blend ingredients and spoon over blueberries. Bake in over at 35F for 45 minutes. Allow to cool for about an hour. Then chill for 4 hours.

I love the taste of blueberries and the consistency of a cheesecake with a graham cracker crust. I would suggest greasing the spring form before pressing the crust. Most of the crust for the torte I baked is stuck to the bottom of the pan. I liked it and Andre, my stepson, liked it enough to have 2 pieces. I might do that too.

blueberry sour cream torte2

Mixed Berry Pie with Oatmeal Lattice Crust

2nd place on the least presentable list.

2nd place on the least presentable list.


The 4th of July has come and gone. We are half way through the year and it’s fairly hot in the state of Texas. Not 2011 hot mind you, but still very hot. It’s strange days when you consider the upper 90’s not-so-hot.

We went to friends for the 4th and had dinner and made our own fireworks show in their front yard. Dinner consisted of hamburgers, potato salad, beer or margaritas, and a bit of pie. Not necessarily in that order. This recipe was pulled from Epicurious circa 1997.  You don’t need a national holiday to make or eat this one. But it is certainly worthy of baking for such a day.

The crust!

4 1/2 tbsp. ice water

1 large egg yolk

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1 tbsp. grated lemon peel

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into piece

Grease your pie plate. Whisk 4 1/2 tablespoons ice water and yolk in small bowl to blend. Blend flour, oats, brown sugar, lemon peel and salt in processor. Add butter and process until coarse meal forms. Add yolk mixture and process using on/off turns until moist clumps form. Gather dough together and divide into 2 pieces, 1 slightly larger than the other. Flatten into disks; wrap each in plastic and chill 1 hour or up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out larger dough disk on floured surface (I use a floured baking cloth to make it easier to transfer to plate) to 12-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold overhang under (if you have any). Crimp edges.

Line your crust with foil. Fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Continue to bake until crust is set, about 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Roll out remaining dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

The filling!:

1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar

2 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

2 tsp. grated orange peel

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 3/4 cups fresh raspberries

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

3/4 cup fresh blackberries

1/4 cup blueberry preserves

1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)

Whipped cream (optional)

Mix 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, orange peel and nutmeg in large bowl. Add all berries and preserves and toss to blend. Pour filling into crust. Place dough strips atop pie, forming lattice; trim excess. Gently press strip ends to crust. Brush lattice with egg glaze. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Place pie on baking sheet. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles thickly in center, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour. Cool on rack. Serve lukewarm or at room temperature, with or without whipped cream.

I scorched the crust as you can see but the sugar, glaze and berry mix did a nice job of taking that away . It was a bit messy to serve up but tasted very good and was a good way to end the evening. Onward to Labor Day…

Pie #46 – Pear and Apple Pie

Yesterday was my birthday so please forgive me if this is a day late. My wife and I spent the weekend in San Antonio as gadflies on the River Walk. There were lots of drinks and laughs and just all-around good times. I also enjoyed the salutations from a bunch of my friends and family via Facebook. Those were like a bunch of little presents. They were very much appreciated.

However, my week has been tinged with a bit of sadness as well. As I wrote in my earlier blog, our cat Fuzzle has gone missing. And now, a week to the day after she disappeared, our other cat, Ginger, has also disappeared. I’ve spent the week wandering our neighborhood calling out to both cats and even wandering into the wooded areas that we have around our house and in the neighborhood. There is no sign of them and I can already tell this is going to be one of those life mysteries where we will probably never know what happened to either of them. It’s sad. They were beautiful and awesome cats. After I got home today, I put away their food and water dishes. And we’ve already moved their cat perch into the garage, along with their toys. *Sigh*

Pie number 46 is a basic Pear and apple pie. I didn’t want to go through the effort of making pie dough today so I just bought a couple of ready-made crusts.

The ingredients:

Pear and apple pie

4 peeled, sliced and cored pears (or 1 can pear quarters)

4 peeled, sliced and cored apples (or 1 can sliced apples)

½ cup of brown sugar

¼ cup of granulated sugar

¼ cup of flour (preferably all-purpose)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

a pinch of salt

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 tbsp. light cream (or you can use half and half)

1 tsp. granulated sugar

Pre-heat oven to 325F. Thaw your ready made crusts. One will be the top of your pie.

Combine the sliced apples with the sliced pears, brown sugar, and one-quarter cup of sugar in a large bowl. Also throw in the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.

Pour the apple and pear mixture into pie pan. Dot the top with butter.

On a floured surface, roll out other dough into a 12 inch circle and transfer to top of the pie. Seal the crust and cut slits into the top. Brush the top with cream. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top.

Bake for 50 minutes and cool for an hour. At 30 minutes you may want to check on the pie as the cream and sugar on top will darken the dough considerably. I recommend covering the top in foil after 30-35 minutes.

It’s an easy and quick recipe and tastes pretty good. I recommend a scoop of vanilla ice cream with it.

Good night girls. I miss you both:(

Pie #37 – Peach and Blackberry Pie

I’ve had a few distractions today in getting this posted. First, I started on this post while waiting for pizza delivery from Hill Country Pizzeria. They got lost so I began to work on my sunday posting for pie 37, a simple peach and blackberry pie. They showed up in the middle of my masterpiece of type. So I broke for dinner – pizza and wings. As I started to motivate so I might finish this, I had a certain cat named Ginger stand, or I should say lay on my way:

When cuteness lays in the way of discipline

The base recipe for this comes from the bon appétit Desserts cookbook by Barbara Fairchild.  This recipe calls for double crust but I just made it single crust. I also changed the cook times based on a single crust. The edited cook times are listed below.

This selection comes from my wife, Tammi. It’s two very good choices in a row. Why, thank you!

The crust!:

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening or lard, frozen, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 1/2 tbsp. (or more) ice water

Blend the flour, sugar and salt together in a food processor. Add butter and shortening using on-off turns until mix resembles a coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl. Add ice water and combine. Form dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 20 minutes.

The filling!:

1 1/2 lbs. ripe peaches (about 6 small ones)

3 cups fresh blackberries

2/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar

3 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour

Vanilla ice cream

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Drop the peaches into the water; cook 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon and drop into a strainer. Rinse peaches under cold water to cool. Slip skins off peaches. Note: this is known as blanching:) So today, I blanched. Halve, pit and slice peaches

Peach and Blackberry Pie

( your yield should be 3 3/4 – 4 cups)

Position rack in lower third of your oven and pre-heat to 400F. While you await the heat, mix the peaches, blackberries, sugar and flour, tossing to blend. Set aside.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface or baking cloth to 13 inch disk and transfer to pie plate. For this pie, my first crust transfer became a wreck, so I re-chilled the dough and tried again. I didn’t roll it out large enough so I removed the crust edge from the top of the pie plate. Thus, it looks like a pie plate of baked fruit:)

Spoon the filling into the crust. Place cookie sheet under pie and transfer to oven. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes. Open oven and cover pie with foil so the fruit doesn’t dry out. Reduce heat and bake for another 30 minutes or until the peaches are soft and tender when cut with a knife and the juices bubble thickly.

We had some fruit left over so my wife took the remnants and turned it into a topping for the ice cream.

It’s very sweet and the peach flavor really stands out. I’m not too happy with the crust and don’t think I want to use vegetable shortening in the crusts I’ll make down the road. It tastes great with the vanilla ice cream and the sauce my wife made is a very nice touch. Overall, it’s pretty basic but a perfect pie for this time of year.

Pie #21 – Shimmering Strawberry Pie

It’s a beautiful day here in Austin. It’s not too hot but not chilly either. There was a long list of to-do’s around the house and I got a few things done. Among them, pie.

I wanted to make a fruit pie this week. My list of options for this seems to be getting more limited. I’m not a huge fan of peaches.  I’ve done apple and blueberry pies. I’ve done bananas. Rhubarb makes me skeptical. Strawberry pie sounded like a good one take make so this is number twenty one.

The crust!:

1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 stick chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/4 inch cubes

2 tbsp. sugar

pinch of salt

3 tbsp. or more of ice water

Blend the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a food processor using on/off turns. Add 3 tablespoons of water and mix until moist clumps form. Add additional water by teaspoon if the mix is dry. Remove from processor and form into a ball. Flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Let set in the fridge a minimum of 3o minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and remove the dough after half hour. Roll out on lightly floured surface into a 13 inch circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Trim the dough and use the remnants to patch any holes you might have around the crust edge or in the dish.

Line crust with foil and add dry beans or pie weights and bake for about 15 minutes until the sides are set. Remove from oven, remove beans and foil. Heat oven to 350 degrees F and bake an additional 10 minutes until crust is a light brown.

The filling!:

6 cups strawberries, halved

1 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Few drops red food coloring (optional – I opted out)

Light frozen whipped dessert topping, thawed (optional – I opted in)

In a food processor or, using a blender and large bowl combine 1 cup of the strawberries and the water. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes.

In a medium saucepan stir together sugar and cornstarch; stir in berry mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. If you want the red of the strawberries to pop, stir in enough red food coloring to tint a rich red color. I’m a naturalist. I opted out to the food coloring. Cool to room temperature.

Fold remaining strawberries into cooled mixture; transfer mixture to pastry shell. Cover; chill for 3 to 4 hours. If desired (oh yes I do), serve with whipped topping.

Pie #10 – Cherry Crumble Pie

As I sit here in my office, typing away with our white Siamese purring on my lap, I can only say, hmmmm, 42 more pies to go. When I baked the 1st pie at Thanksgiving, 52 didn’t seem like such a big deal. Now, at the end of January and on my 10th pie, I see this is going to be a test of discipline.

My wife selected this weeks pie, Cherry Crumble. Summer in January would be like Cherry Pie:) Even the cherries are frozen…

The Crust:

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 tbsp.  chilled non-hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 tbsp. (or more) ice water

1 large egg yolk

Blend the flour, sugar and salt in a processor for about 5 seconds. Add the butter and shortening, using on/off turns, cut into mixture until it resembles a course meal. Beat in 2 tablespoons water and the yolk in a small bowl to blend, and add to processor. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by tablespoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk. Wrap in cellophane and chill at least 30 minutes.

The topping:

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sliced almonds

3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

Blend the oats, flour, sugar, almonds cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Add butter. Rub in with fingertips pressing mixture together until moist clumps form. Chill at least 30 minutes.

And now for the filling…

6 cups of fresh cherries or (in my case) 2 pounds pitted, frozen sweet cherries, thawed with juices preserved

1 cup of sugar

2 1/2 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

1 tbsp. Kirsch (clear cherry brandy) or regular brandy (I used regular brandy, which was what I had on hand)

Pinch of salt

Mix the cherries with any juices, sugar tapioca, brandy and salt in a large bowl. Let stand until tapioca looks translucent, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

The Bake:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 13-14 inches around. Transfer to 9 inch diameter deep-dish glass pie dish. Trim the dough over hang to 3/4 inch. Fold the edge under and crimp decoratively. I had a real problem with the dough. I need to stop using a cutting board and roll it on the counter. I did a lot of paste-up on this one.  I could also use some suggestions on decoratively crimping. All I know how to do is use a fork…

Spoon in the filling. Sprinkle with topping. Be careful not to try to break up the topping over open drawers. When it breaks, it flies.

Bake pie for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Continue to bake until filling is bubbling thickly and topping is brown and crisp. Cover the edges with a foil collar if browning too quickly, about 25 minutes longer. Cool pie on rack at least 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Vanilla ice cream is optional.

And finally, it is wise to check the oven periodically as opposed to relying on a timer. The crumble on this pie got a bit crispy. Ahhh, attention to detail.

Pie #8 – Lattice-Topped Blueberry Pie

The "least presentable" in todays pie category

I love blueberries. I put them on cereal, I eat them in bagels. Breakfast bars of course. I don’t care about antioxidants. If they do something healthy, that’s nice too. I just like the way they taste. That and they’re really purple. Who names purple berries blue?

From the handy Bon Apetit Deserts Cookbook

Best Ever Pie Crust (this is debatable):

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup non hydrogenated solid vegetable shortening or lard, frozen, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
5 tbsp. (or more) ice water

Blend the flour, sugar and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening. Using on/off, cut in until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer mixture into large bowl. Mix in 5 tablespoons of water, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls, if needed, until moist clumps form. Gather the dough into a ball; divide in half. Flatten each half into a disk, wrap in cellophane and chill at least 20 minutes.

Point of note: make sure your processor is big enough to accommodate the above crust recipe or things could get messy and frustrating…

While the crust is chilling, prepare your blueberry filling. Yes, I meant to do that.

The filling:

32 ounces frozen wild blueberries or regular blueberries (unthawed) of 7 cups fresh wild blueberries or regular blueberries ($14 total at your local HEB)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
Heavy whipping cream
Vanilla ice cream (also known as pie garnish)

Combine the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch lemon juice and lemon peel into a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and bubbles, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Continue to cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Cool until warm.

Position rack in bottom third of oven and pre-heat to 400 degrees F. Roll out one disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to 12 inches around. transfer to a 9 inch diameter pie dish and trim dough so 1 inch hangs over the edge. Spoon the filling into the crust. Roll out the remaining dough to 13×10 inch rectangle, cut into 2/4 inch wide strips. I hope you have a ruler:) Arrange half the dough strips atop the filling, spacing evenly. Arrange the remaining strips at a right angle atop the first strips. Weaving is optional or, in my case, not realistic. Brush the crust edge with the cream so the strips adhere. Trim the dough strips even with the overhang on lower crust. Fold the edge of crust up over strips, pressing gently to seal. Crimp the edges decoratively. Brush the edges and the lattice lightly with cream. I didn’t do the previous six sentences, The cream was an oversight and the crust work was in need of some piecrust ninja. There wasn’t one to be found.

Place the pie on baking sheet and bake until crust is a golden brown, about an hour. Cool pie on a rack for about an hour.

Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream garnish.

The pie bubbled over quite a bit and the presentation is messy but it’s tasty. And I like tasty just as much as I like blueberries, bubbled over or not.