Slowly, but surely, Yuki and Neva have sorted out who is the boss (Yuki is the boss) in the four weeks since we brought our puppy home. Don’t worry, Neva has never wanted to be the boss of anyone and she seems to enjoy having someone in charge. It’s most evident on the field after Neva has chased the tennis ball a bazillion times and is ready for a big drink of water. We pour the water and Yuki, who only gave chase 2.5 times and isn’t all that thirsty, saunters over and sticks her little face into the water dish, pushing Neva’s face out. Neva will sit back, panting like crazy, patiently waiting for her little sister to finish before she even considers getting near the water dish. But more than that, Yuki and Neva have become pals. I’ve caught them hanging out together with greater frequency and sometimes in the mornings, they both hop up onto the bed with us and it feels… peaceful. It feels right.
band album cover?
chilling out after an evening fetch/chase session
This past week the girls went out for several hikes and Yuki practiced overcoming her fear of strangers and other dogs. When Yuki is uncertain, she backs up and growls or even barks. But instead of letting her cower and be antisocial, we ask the approaching hikers if it is okay for Yuki to say hi to their dogs or to them. Once she sees that these people and/or pups are friendly and not so scary, she perks right up. She’s building her confidence, which is great. We also got Yuki out on the standup paddleboard to see how comfortable she felt on the water. Yuki is a little champ with lots of hidden talents.
we think yuki is growing taller
somehow walking these two is easier than walking just neva
sitting nicely on the paddleboard
yuki is so calm that jeremy could actually paddle while standing
We are now just over a month into summer and it is starting to taste like true summer with all of the berries, peaches, tomatoes, corn, zucchini, melons, and cherries in the markets. It’s a good time for fruit pies. Now I love me a good pie, but for the longest time I didn’t make pies because I couldn’t get the pie crust right. A few years ago, my friend gave me a big bag of frozen pitted sour cherries. She said, “Make a pie or something!” I kept those cherries in the freezer until last year when I finally found a great pie crust recipe that is consistent, easy, flaky, and delicious. It’s great because I haven’t managed to screw it up yet!
butter, salt, water, sugar, flour
scatter the butter over some of the flour, sugar, and salt
sprinkle the rest of the flour over the dough
drizzle cold water over the dough mixture
fold the water into the dough
wrap and refrigerate the two disks of dough
Make the pie dough first because it has to chill for a couple of hours. While the dough firms up in the refrigerator, you can start on the filling. The filling is made up of cherries, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and tapioca starch. I didn’t have tapioca starch, so I used quick cooking tapioca pearls (which I don’t recommend). The cherries can be fresh or frozen. If using frozen cherries, let them thaw to about 50°F and reserve all of the liquid that collects. I was worried that I had too much liquid and that the tapioca pearls wouldn’t cook enough during baking, so I cooked the filling for 15 minutes to reduce the liquid and firm up the filling. I think if you were using tapioca starch with fresh or frozen cherries, you’d be fine to skip simmering the filling.
sugar, thawed cherries and juices, lemon (juice), tapioca, salt
add the lemon juice
mix it all together
cook until thickened
As the filling cooled, I rolled out my pie crusts: a solid sheet for lining the pie plate and then some fun with my attempt at a lattice top. I like to roll my pie dough out between two sheets of plastic wrap to keep it from sticking to my rolling pin or the work surface. It eliminates the need for added flour. When the dough is about 1/8 inch thick, I peel one plastic wrap sheet off, then invert the dough into my pie plate and peel the second sheet off. Gently press the dough into the shape of the pie plate and then pour in the filling. If your top crust completely seals off the pie, be sure to cut some steam vents into the top.
rolling out the dough
cutting lattice strips and other shapes
ladle the filling onto the pie crust
making the lattice
The pie gets a half hour of chilling in the refrigerator, which is plenty of time to get the egg wash ready and the oven preheated. Brush the egg wash over your pie crust and then pop the pie into the oven for an hour or so. I used a foil tent to prevent the crust from burning in the last 15 minutes, but in the future I might just wrap foil around the edges and let the center brown a little more.
egg yolk, egg, pinch of salt, cream
whisk it all together
brush over the pie crust
bake until golden
The two things that really make a great fruit pie are: an excellent flaky, flavorful crust and delicious, ripe fruit. It’s so simple and yet it eluded me for quite some time, until now. I no longer worry about wasting good fillings on unreliable pie crust recipes which means more pie in this world. And how can that be a bad thing?
i’ll have a slice, please
the proper fruit to crust ratio
pie for my pie hole
from Serious Eats
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsps granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks (10 oz.) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 tbsps cold water
28 oz. pitted cherries (if frozen, thaw to 50°F and keep the liquid)
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
7 oz. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 oz. tapioca starch (I used quick cooking tapioca, but don’t recommend it)
1 egg yolk
1 large egg
1 tbsp cream
pinch of salt
Make the pie dough: Combine 1 1/2 cups of flour with the sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Scatter the butter over the flour mixture. Pulse about 25 times or until the dough clumps together. Sprinkle the rest of the flour (1 cup) over the dough and pulse until the flour is just cut into the dough (about 5-10 pulses). Pour the dough into a large bowl and sprinkle the water over it. Using a spatula or spoon, fold the water into the dough until it begins to form a shaggy ball. Cut the dough in half and shape each half into a disk about 4 inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before rolling. Roll each disk of dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. I like to roll my pie dough out between two sheets of plastic wrap. Line your 9-inch pie dish with one of the pie dough sheets, gently pressing the dough into the form of the dish.
Prepare the filling: Combine the cherries, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and tapioca in a large bowl until mixed. [Optional (but it’s what I did): Pour the contents into a medium saucepan and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the filling has thickened.]
Assemble and bake the pie: Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust. Top the filling with the other pie dough sheet and seal or crimp the edges. Cut vent holes into the pie crust. Refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes. Adjust your oven rack to the lower middle of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Whisk all of the egg wash ingredients together in a small bowl. Set the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and brush the top of the pie dough with egg wash. Bake for 1 hour. Place an empty baking sheet on the upper rack above the pie or use a loose foil tent to prevent burning of the crust. Bake 15 minutes more until the center is bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before serving. Makes 1 9-inch pie.
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