INGREDIENTS FOR AUNT AIMEE'S PIE CRUST4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
3 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup ice cold water
Egg wash for sealing pastries
(1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of water)
Sift together dry ingredients. Using a pastry cutter, or 2 butter knives, cut in butter until mixture creates small crumbs (don’t blend butter in completely, you want some pieces). Mix together the egg, vinegar and water and pour over pastry batter. Mix together with your hands until it creates a smooth, elastic dough. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, take 4 pints of fresh or frozen blackberries and place in a small pot over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons Scotch whiskey or vanilla extract, ½ cup granulated or brown sugar (more if the berries are a little tart), and 1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon. Add ¼ teaspoon lemon or orange zest if using vanilla extract. Stir just until sugar dissolves. Remove before berries start to break down.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface (be sure to smooth a good layer over your work area), take a quarter of the dough, and with floured rolling pin, roll out to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 3-inch circles with cookie-cutter. Place a large spoonful (about 2 tablespoons) of berries in the center of each piece and place another 3-inch circle on top. Seal with a fork or crimp with your fingers around the edges. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar.
REBEKAH PIZANA is a professional food writer, pastry chef and licensed business owner. Her pastry work through Gourmet Amore has been published in Brides Maryland and Brides Washington, D.C., (Condé Nast Publications) and by the online wedding magazine, StyleMePretty.com.