6.11.2010

A Slice of Heaven

the freshly rinsed mulberries
Yesterday I finally stopped grabbing handfuls of mulberries from the community's trees on my walk with Benny. They're great snacks while walking leisurely, mind you. So instead, I picked 3.5 cups in order to make a pie.

mulberries under sugar and flour
I researched throroughly whether these amazing little berries were edible, even before taking my first bite of one several weeks ago. When I realized they were mulberries, the first thing I thought of was Mayberry--where the Andy Griffith Show was based...I have no idea why I thought of Mayberry. I guess mulberry and Mayberry sound alike?

Daydream (like me) for a moment...gauzy window coverings fluttering on the breeze, ever so gently, the open kitchen window with the view to a grassy area and perhaps a clothes line drying in the sun, the kitchen is styled from the 40s-50s...a lady in a gorgeous apron putting a pie in the oven? Or putting one on the window sill to cool down? It's what I absolutely love about living in this country: Americana. Yeah, yeah. I realize pie baking is done across the globe, I just like to daydream and visualize ;)

the crust, underway
Anyway, so I snapped out of my 40s-50s reverie long enough to look up a great little recipe for mulberry pie on AllRecipes.com on my laptop.

They didn't include a recipe for the top and bottom crust, so I quickly scanned the site and found one. However, I substituted European butter for the shortening, because I absolutely abhor the mere mention, much less idea, of shortening. However, this being my very first substitution and pie baking attempts in my life, you can guess what happened: too much butter to the flour ratio. That was...when I realized I didn't have enough butter at home and had to go out and get some at the grocery store across the street ^_^; Nonetheless, I think the flaky puffy pastry turned out mouthwateringly delicious. Melt-in-your-mouth spectacular. Kinda uber-crumbly like a Walker's Mince Pie is! But even more! Yum. Drool.

I'm sure any antioxidant benefit of the berries has been utterly shattered and nullified by the entire square of butter I used. However, that's irrelevant here. The significant other's innumerable shouts of joy, surely attest to it. During his post-pie-slice-eating-euphoria he even went as far as saying this is the best pie slice he ever ate in his life. I had no idea he had eaten enough pie to form an informed opinion...actually, I wasn't expecting him to take a slice until the pie was completely cooled either...like I asked him to...but that's neither here nor there.

Baked crust topped w berries
So seeing my work of art dug into, I decided to take a forkful myself and see what kind of hallucinogenic really was in these wild berries. Well, I really, really liked it.

It's like what Baker's Square berry pie should taste like if it were made properly, from scratch every day, instead off of an industrially-controlled recipe. Of course, there's plenty, plenty room for improvement on my recipe. Beginner's luck can only stretch so far! I plan on studying closely both Martha Stewart and Donna Hay recipes for pie crust...if I find any that is. I've been unsuccessful on the Donna Hay front so far.

ta daaa
I imagine we'll be indulging in pie this weekend as breakfast, snack, coffee/tea time, even possibly after coming back from dinner or lunch from somewhere. And seconds! Don't forget to get seconds. Mmmm. It's just really good. And I don't know how much cooler it could get than picking my own berries and all. It was truly an awesome experience that put me in touch with our family's origins in Italy (Prarolo and Paveto). Just loved it.

Oh yea... I just remembered I got some Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream in the freezer...hm...now that's a fast track to a diabetic coma if I ever heard of one, but oh my, what a way to go ;o)

omg yummy
I had to call my grandmama this morning to share the news. She merely and casually thought it was nice. I had to close my agape mouth as she didn't make an ooooh or ahhhh about it. I reminded myself that she doesn't think it's as big a deal as I do, because in Italy, people often make pies and tarts from scratch! With fresh ingredients! Especially in summer! Imagine.

If she only knew how prized a skill it's become here, in our land of the automated, industrial, fast-casual kitchen. *sigh*

OK so stop reading! What are you doing still here! Go on to your local farmers market or pay attention on your next hike and you might also discover some fantabulous edibles that can be foraged.

I wish you many fresh and juicy berries and pies in this summer season. Enjoy fresh, locally-made/sourced food as much as you can. Believe me, you'll taste the difference!