Pie Night

From The Memory of Lemon

Pie Night at Neely’s bakery, Rainbow Cake

People I had never seen before flocked in, their faces showing a longing you never saw for cake. People’s eyes lit up for a cupcake; cake seemed to signal celebration. But their eyes got filmy, watery, misty when we handed them a slice of pie. Pie was memory. Nostalgia. Pie made people recall simpler, maybe happier times.”

Real-life businesses have inspired both The Cake Therapist and The Memory of LemonIn creating Neely's fictional bakery, I've been free to gather the best ideas. Seasonal, signature flavors of the month from ice cream parlors like Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and Graeter's. The look of La Durée, a Parisian tea salon,  and their brilliant use of color. In a previous blog post "The Art of a Wedding Cake Tasting," I described how I made pastry chef Neely's ritual of a wedding cake tasting very special after visiting--and sampling from-- Andrea Adams Britt's lovely wedding cake bakery for my own daughter's wedding. 

Dolce Bakery, in a Kansas City suburb near where I live, makes their cinnamon rolls, cookies, scones, and cakes from scratch. In the summer when berries and orchard fruits are plentiful, they host Cobbler Night from time to time. 

So, why not Pie Night for Neely's bakery? The reason is that she has to come up with pies and tarts that will taste great, hold up, and please the picky palates of a society mother and her folksinger daughter. And I imagined a chorus line of pies.

Scalloped tarts with a filling flavored by spicebush berries, a Kentucky native. (Photo by Donna Hay).

Blackberry tarts with a lattice top, also a Kentucky favorite.

Neely had fun experimenting with all the possibilities in  crust and filling.

And on Pie Night, her customers sampled pies of all kinds. (These pies are from Rye, a restaurant celebrating Midwestern cuisine and culture in Leawood, Kansas.)

Blackberry and Lavender Turnovers

With a package of puff pastry in the freezer and a jar of good blackberry jam, you can turn fresh blackberries with a hint of lavender into a summer treat.  Pack up these turnovers for a summer outdoor concert, a tasty reward after a hike, or a lunchbox goodie. You can find culinary lavender buds at Penzey's, your garden, or online. Recipe from Bake Happy.

Makes 8 turnovers

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 14-ounce/397 397-g or a 16-ounce/454 454-g package), thawed and kept cold in the refrigerator

Blackberry and Lavender Filling:
1/2 cup (125 ml) blackberry jam
1/2 teaspoon organic, dried culinary-grade lavender buds
11/2 cups (216 g) fresh blackberries
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons granulated or raw sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
Place the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a thickness of 1/4 inch (6 cm). Using a pizza cutter or paring knife, cut the pastry into 8 squares.
For the filling, combine the blackberry jam and lavender in a small saucepan over
medium-high heat. Stir the mixture until the jam starts to bubble around the edges. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in blackberries and lemon juice.
To assemble the turnovers, brush the perimeter of each pastry square with a little water.
Spoon about 1/4 cup (59 ml) of the filling into the center of each pastry square. Fold the squares in half on the diagonal to form a triangle. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork. Brush the top of each turnover with beaten egg and dust with sugar. With a paring knife, make 3 diagonal slits on top of each pastry. Place the turnovers on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is browned and the filling is bubbling. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the turnovers to a wire rack to cool.  These are best enjoyed the same day they are made.

So Happy Together:
Dark Berries + Lavender
A little sprinkle of dried lavender buds brings out the “purple” flavor in dark berries such as blackberries, blueberries, marionberries, and black raspberries.


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