Blackberry Pie and the Whitehouse Cookbook of 1887
April 7, 2011
We are all blackberry, all the time right now. And that would include Mark creating an amazingly delicious blackberry pie complete with the lattice top crust.
How did I know Mark would be pie baking? Because at our place it starts the old fashion way… with a pot of lard rendering for a day. Then the NEXT day you have the lard for making the crust. So, we are eating this warm, sweet/tart pie with the perfect crust and Mark mentions in passing that the crust recipe is from the Whitehouse Cookbook from 1887.
What?! This sort of foodie tidbit always gets me a bit geeked out and I scurry off to find out more. And there is MORE!
Because of its age the book is available as a free download from various places. One of my
favs is from the Gutenberg Project http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13923/13923-h/13923-h.htm . It really is a great read, so enjoy. Then I tried to find out more about the author – Mrs. F. L. Gillette. Alas, as one might expect given the age of the book and ummm,
“worth” of women during this period there is not much to report here other than what is in the book’s preface:
“Mrs. F.L. Gillette is no less proficient and capable, having made a life-long and thorough study of cookery and housekeeping, especially as adapted to the practical wants of average American homes.”
Lastly, here is the recipe converted into a format a bit more friendly than how it was originally written:
Pastry dough – double crust
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 1 teaspoon cold canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold leaf lard
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter (any brand wrapped in foil)
- Add all your dry ingredients to a chilled glass bowl and toss the mixture with a fork
- Cube your fats into small pieces and add to the bowl
- Using just your finger tips rub the cold fat into the flour. Stop when the mixture resembles cracker crumbs and tiny peas
- Whip the ice cold water and oil until it looks cloudy and the mixture looks a little foamy. Quickly add two thirds of this liquid to the dry ingredients and toss with a fork. If it is not coming together add the remaining liquid.
- The dough should look somewhat dry but come together when squeezed in your hands
- Now divide this mixture in half to make two balls by squeezing it all together. Compress and flatten the balls to form two large disks.
- Wrap disks tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 30-60 minutes. You can freeze them for two months by adding a foil wrap to the covered disks.
Want a no sweat blackberry pie? We’ll make one for you! Shoot us an email and Mark will make you a hefty and delicious pie for $20. Or if you are the gambling type, come by the farm stand this weekend and see if you can snag one that Mark puts out.