Harvest and Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.

strawberry & pistachio pie, two ways

9 Comments

I started this blog on a whim. It was Winter 2014 and I’d found myself at a crossroads of sorts, having (kind of) gotten the hang of motherhood and seeking something more – something that would help me feel creative and inspired and motivated and excited, I guess. A food blog has an uncanny ability to do all of those things, if you let it … if you want it to. A truly incredible outlet and platform for all types of creativity, a simple food blog is a veritable blank canvas for everything from delicious recipes and unique photography to artful styling and personal storytelling  … and more. Had I known how genuinely beneficial this little online space would be to me – and in how many ways – I would have started it long before I actually did. We all know what they say about hindsight, though …

I even deleted it once, my blog. After nearly a year of posting, in one hasty, nearly insane moment of total weakness, I deleted every. single. post. because I decided I didn’t really like them very much, the whole lot of them. Well, hello neurotic lady! 

I’m still tempted to do that sometimes, but I think part of the beauty of a living, breathing, real-time journal like this is that you get to see the evolution of a person. That’s something I particularly enjoy as a lover of many blogs. It’s nice to watch someone grow and develop in their style and voice, and to delete past work purely because it doesn’t quite sync up with current work, seems silly and almost sad. And so, I will delete no more. If we leave Winter 2014 and fast forward to this very moment as I write this – past the handful of years and all of the posts posted, photos shot, stories told, messes made, dishes broken, recipes won, recipes lost … here I am, in the same exact spot I was sitting when I first clicked “PUBLISH”on this blog, still a bit gobsmacked, but incredibly proud and excited to have won the 2017 IACP Award for best Culinary Narrative Blog. The whole awards affair was a complete and total blur, I will admit, but the fragments and snippets that I do clearly recall are really really nice.

My husband, Lucas, and cousin Lucia (who is a mega food nerd like I am), met me in lovely Louisville, KY two weekends ago to attend the much anticipated IACP awards gala and frankly, to stalk some of the other attendees. Several of my all-time food heroes were being honored, nominated and recognized that night and I was so excited just to be there that I could barely stand it. We took our seats in the gorgeous auditorium at the Louisville Palace Theater and chatted with those around us, making polite but interested small talk, as you do. I honestly did not think for one second that I was going to win. Truly. I was THAT person who prepares exactly nothing to say and then gets up and proceeds to give a master class in awkward acceptance speech-making. I think I temporarily spaced out, as I don’t exactly remember saying anything at all. But people told me I sounded un-awkward … and that’s good enough for me.

Afterward, there were glasses of sparkly champagne and bourbon-filled mint julep cups. There was something called a hot brown “smackdown” where a bevy of local chefs all whipped up and presented their takes on the beloved Louisville delicacy known as the hot brown (an open-faced turkey, bacon, and tomato sandwich smothered in gooey mornay sauce). As a native Kentuckian, I took extra special pride in this aspect of the evening. They were ALL great, those hot browns were. One of these days I’ll whip up my own interpretation and present it to you guys here. Scouts honor. After chatting with some of my favorite fellow foodies (Molly Yeh, Ronni Lundy, Peter Reinhart, Carla Hall, etc.), we retired to our lovely room in the historic Brown Hotel and fell happily, dreamily, and promptly to sleep.

So, for something that started on a whim – on a teeny tiny notion that maybe I could contribute my own small something to the larger-than-life lexicon that is the World of Food – I am so amazed by and grateful for the places this little blog has taken me, the people it has helped me to meet, the things it has taught me about myself, the doors it has opened, and the challenges it has presented. All good good things. Thank you for following along on my food journey and reading my stories! I have some SUPER exciting news to share with you soon and yet another story to tell in my next post, someone else’s story. But this post is mostly a mushy one, designed largely to show my gratitude and appreciation to YOU, dear readers.

Until next time.

With love,

Lauren

 

Strawberry & Pistachio Crumble Pie RECIPE

And now, for the recipe part. These pies are glorious, are they not? Oh how I love them. The flavor combo of strawberries and pistachios is lovely and I think the slight note of orange really brings it all home. I based my recipe for the crumble pie on one I saw in Bon Appetit a while ago, but I took it to a much more “pistachio-ey” place because I have such a fondness for that nut. The pastry, which tastes like a cookie, is infused with ground pistachios and is more tart shell than pie crust, so do feel free to bake this in a tart pan, if you like. I spread an easy, two-ingredient pistachio cream onto the par-baked crust before piling the orange-infused strawberry filling on top. The crumble topping is laced with the flavor of cardamom, which is so wonderful with the pistachio and orange – it all just WORKS.

This may read like an intensive recipe but it’s really not. Each of the pie’s four components is very simple to throw together and they all take very little time. Plus, there’s no lattice work involved so …

And as for the hand pies, these are a quick-fix option that I also love – and so do my kids. I use frozen pie crust and they come together in a snap. The strawberry filling and pistachio cream are the same as those in the crumble pie, but this version has no crumble topping and it uses a pre-made crust. So, it’s a time-saver if that’s what you’re looking for. Whichever type of pie you choose, I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed.

(p.s. That gorgeous embossed rolling pin is from www.propped.com and I’ve been using it on alllll the crusts lately. If you’re interested in scoring some great kitchenware (or even selling your own), I cannot recommend this website any more. #getpropped)

 

INGREDIENTS

For the crust:

12 cup shelled pistachios (unsalted, preferably)

12 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

12 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 teaspoon salt

1-14 cups all purpose flour

 

For the topping:

¼ cup raw pistachios (unsalted)

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup old-fashioned oats

¼ cup (packed)  brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces

For the pistachio cream:

1 cup pistachios, shelled and unsalted

1 tablespoon sugar

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

For the filling:

2 pounds strawberries, hulled, quartered (about 5 – 6 cups)

5 tablespoons tapioca starch (corn starch will also work)

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Pinch  salt

 

Serving suggestion: Pistachio ice cream!

 

DIRECTIONS

 For the crust:

In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until they are a finely ground meal. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar at medium speed until pale and smooth, about 1 – 1.5 minutes. Add the ground pistachios, vanilla, and salt and beat until everything is evenly combined. Add the flour and beat at low speed until incorporated and the dough is crumbly.

Scrape the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Using the bottom of a glass, press the dough over the bottom and up the side of the pan.

TO BLIND BAKE: Preheat your oven to 300 Degrees F. Prick the dough all over with the prongs of a fork. Bake the crust for 25 minutes, until it is lightly golden. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely before adding your filling.

For the topping:

Preheat your oven to 350°. Toast the pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet in the preheated oven, tossing once, until golden brown, 5–6 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop.

Mix the pistachios, flour, oats, brown sugar, orange zest, cardamom, and salt in a medium bowl. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the butter until no dry spots remain, the are no really large pieces, and the crumble holds together when you squeeze it. Chill while you make the pie filling.

For the pistachio cream:

Process the pistachios along with the sugar in a food processor until a smooth butter forms (like peanut or almond butter), this takes about 10 minutes. Combine the pistachio butter and the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer, and whip until evenly combined and very smooth. Set this aside.

For the filling and pie assembly:

Toss the strawberries, tapioca starch, granulated sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a large bowl to combine.

Using a butter knife or an offset spatula, spread the cream cheese in an even layer over the bottom of your pre-baked crust. Scrape the strawberry mixture into crust, and sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over top.

Place the pie dish on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet and bake (still at 350 degrees) the pie until the crumble is brown and the strawberry filling bubbles around edges, 1½–1¾ hours. NOTE: you can tent the pie with a large piece of foil to keep the crumble from burning, if necessary. Transfer your pie to a wire rack and let it cool for at least two hours before slicing.

NOTE: This pie can be baked 1 day in advance. Just store it uncovered at room temperature and it will be good to go the next day.

Strawberry, Pistachio & Chocolate Hand Pies

INGREDIENTS

1 cup shelled pistachios (unsalted)

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided (plus a little more for dusting)

4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and chopped (about 5 – 6 cups)

5 tablespoons tapioca starch (or corn starch)

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks, roughly chopped

Pinch of kosher salt

2 packages of frozen pie crust, thawed (such as Pillsbury)

2 eggs, beaten

 

DIRECTIONS

Process the pistachios along with one tablespoon of sugar in a food processor until it becomes a smooth butter (like peanut or almond butter), takes about 10 minutes. Combine the pistachio butter and the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer, and whip until evenly combined and very smooth. Set this aside.

Next, toss the chopped strawberries, tapioca starch, granulated sugar, orange zest, orange juice, chopped chocolate, and salt in a large bowl to combine. Set aside.

Roll out the pie crusts a little bit with a rolling pin, just to increase the surface area a bit, giving you more room to work with. This isn’t an exact thing, I just like to maximize their value! Using a 4″ biscuit or cookie cutter (or a ring mold or even a glass – whatever works!), cut out circles of dough until all of the crust has been used up, gathering and re-rolling if necessary. You should wind up with about  12 – 16 circles, which will make 6 – 8 hand pies. (NOTE: You can make them as big or small as you like, I made both 4″ pies and also 2″ two-bite hand pies as well)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Place half of the dough rounds onto baking sheets. Using a small offset spatula or a knife, spread a few teaspoons of the pistachio-cream cheese mixture onto those dough rounds, spreading it almost to the edges but leaving a thin border (about 1/4″ should do). Top this creamy layer with a couple tablespoons of the strawberry filling and then finish by placing another dough round on top. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal. Cut a small slit in the tops of the pies with the tip of a knife.

Add a tablespoon of water to the beaten eggs and brush a thin layer of this mixture onto the tops of each pie. Sprinkle with a little extra sugar, if desired. Using a spatula, transfer the pies to a baking sheet and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.

Cool slightly before enjoying.

 

 

 

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Author: Harvest & Honey

Lauren McDuffie is a freelance food and travel writer, photographer, stylist, cookbook author, and award-winning food blogger. She lives in Indianapolis, IN with her husband, Lucas, and two children.

9 thoughts on “strawberry & pistachio pie, two ways

  1. It was inspiring and a bit strange to read this today! I recently started food blogging for the same reasons you describe here, but after a steep learning curve I’ve been looking back at older posts (almost all the posts) and not loving them, but you’ve convinced me not to delete and to keep developing and rediscover my creativity! Thanks!

  2. Great that you didn’t abandon the blog. I for one love your photography and would miss it. You obviously put a great deal into the staging.

  3. This felt like an especially relevant read on Spring Equinox! A great reminder to accept progress rather than trying to delete the past. Beautiful photos!

  4. Such a beautiful pie!!!

  5. I understand the desire to delete early writings that no longer ‘measure up’ or reflect who we are, but I’m glad you’ve avoided the delete key. If nothing else, those writings can show us how much we’ve grown as writers. But the main thing, to me, is that we’re our own worst critics and what we might see as writing that no longer measures up, others won’t. As always, lovely photography here, and a recipe I need to try.

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