Friday, July 17, 2015

Eat Your Heart Out

Berry lust. . .
Go into the Divine meadow, look at the fat blackberries shining like patent leather and multi-chambered, ripe and free of charge, and try not to pick them even though they're on briars that gaily hook and rip your flesh. Berry-picking is one of my greatest pleasures because a pie is inevitable. I now pick wearing long sleeves, long pants, and a glove on the picking hand. I have always liked pies: custard, peach, chess, pecan, cherry, key lime, coconut; also savory pies, and I can't get spiritually close to  people who don't like pie. There's nothing more Midwestern than a homemade wild-blackberry pie which I made this morning -- unless it's serving that pie to a friend.

Where to find blackberry briars? Look in sunny, grassy meadows on the edge of a Missouri woods. National Pie Day aptly falls on my birthday in the winter, and  I look for pie wherever I go (black bottom pie, chocolate cream, banana cream, lemon meringue, orange chiffon, apple, pumpkin) and have made piecrust expertly so many times -- the secret is, DON'T roll it out, merely press it into the pan -- I developed permanent muscle memory. The secret to a great berry pie slice is to avoid cornstarch and use Minute Tapioca instead. You'd never know it was in there, and the slices hold their shape. Also, use a cup more berries than the recipe calls for, and instead of dotting the top with butter, use small bits of coconut oil. My guest wanted to see the berry vines, so we went out and was surprised to see -- after picking them clean yesterday -- so many patent-leather blackberries just begging to be harvested again today.

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