Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bake Together - Gooseberry Pie with Cardamom Streusel

Late as usual with my Bake Together contribution.  If you're new to Bake Together, it's an effort to encourage baking and creativity sponsored and wrangled by the ever-delightful Abby Dodge.  This month, she presented us with Very Berry Mini Pies.  Go visit her blog and get the original recipe.  I'll go over my modifications in just a minute.

Normally, West Michigan would be awash in fruit at this point in the summer.  But it's been a rough year.  The tart cherry crop was decimated by a late frost.  (If you like tart cherries - stock up on the frozen ones now.  Wholesale prices are expected to quadruple.  Michigan normally makes up 70% of the tart cherry crop, and we're at a fraction of a percent of OUR normal crop).  Peaches and apples were also hit hard.  To make matters worse, it's been dry.  REALLY dry.  The Lake Michigan coast isn't normally subject to brush fires, but even we have had a few.  That, in turn, is hard on the berry crop.  My favorite pick-your-own farm won't have any raspberries ready for another week or two.  The strawberries are gone.  Blueberries are really just starting, and the sweeter varieties are several weeks away.

Here I sat with a great recipe, and no available fruit.  (I'm unfond of the trucked in commercial stuff.  I grew up on homegrown berries, and I'm an inveterate fruit snob.)  The freezer contained a few frozen raspberries - which my youngest would much prefer to eat directly.  Some red and white currants.  Which are a bit seedy for pie and better suited for jelly.  Then it dawned on me - I still had a scant quart of gooseberries in the fridge from last year.  Now, gooseberries are tart.  And maybe a little prone to "war" with the cinnamon called for in the original recipe.  So I decided to get my Scandia on and use the favored spice of the Swedes: cardamom.

Go get the original recipe from Abby's website.  The crust recipe isn't too hard to convert.  In place of the flour, I used 1 cup of my usual AP flour blend and 1/3 c. tapioca starch.  Upping the starch ratio in the flour helps keep the crust pliable.  I also added 1/2 tsp of guar gum, just to help things hold together.  I've made GF pie crusts before, and as a rule they're pretty fragile.  That was my main reason for going with a pie rather than tarts.  I knew the fussing around for multiple tart shells would be problematic.

I do confess, I made my crust by hand instead of in the food processor.  I loathe cleaning the food processor.  And I'm such a dyed-in-the-wool farm cook that it never occurs to me that the instruction will call for a food processor until I have them in a bowl.

I simply cut in the cold shortening with a pastry blender, then tossed the water and lemon juice in with a fork.  From there, I followed Abby's directions for chilling and rolling.  I did find that the pastry softened quickly and had to go back into the refrigerator once to make the transfer into the pie pan.

Have I mentioned how much I love my vintage pink pyrex pie plate?  (say that three times real fast).  I adore it.  I need a couple more - maybe in the light green and aqua.
For the filling, I pinched the stems and blossom ends off the berries and measured them.  I had about 3 1/2 cups of berries.  To these I added 1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp sugar, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp of vanilla and 2 Tbsp tapioca starch.  The lemon juice ups the acid content and will help the abundant pectin in the goosberries contribute to setting the filling.  I let the berries macerate while I made the streusel.

The streusel needed a little "lightening" to not overpower the berries.  I replaced the AP flour with 3 Tbsp of sweet rice flour, 1 Tbsp of potato starch, and 1 Tbsp of tapioca starch.  For the sugar, I used 2 Tbsp each of white and brown sugar.  And I used 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom in place of the cinnamon.  Otherwise I followed Abby's recipe.
The pie baked for about 55 minutes.  Cover with foil after the first 25-30 minutes to prevent overbrowning.

I don't have a picture of it cut yet, because it's still a bit too warm TO cut.
I'm still hoping to try the original berry version - once berries can be had in my neck of the woods!

3 comments:

  1. I'd never seen a gooseberry until this morning at the grocery store. They are so cute. Beautiful pie by the way.

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  2. I've never had or even seen gooseberries before! What a wonderfully creative unique pie. I love it! Should I ever cross paths with some gooseberries I'll be making this for sure. Lovely pie!

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  3. Donna - Thanks so much! This crust made a fabulous GF pie. I think I've found my new recipe, and I must remember to thank Abby profusely for it.

    Kate - Come visit and we'll go picking!! IIRC my favorite U-pick farm had both gooseberries and red and white currants for $1/lb last year. The currants pick REALLY fast. And they make fabulous jellies.

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