I walked out the door expecting to find enough blackberries to make a pie. If that fell through, the backup plan was purchasing a couple quarts of blueberries from a local orchard. Well, like most things this weekend, the world didn’t co-operate. Unlike everything else this weekend, I was blown away when I found bush after bush of ripe wineberries.
Wineberries keep popping up in my life. Fifteen years ago, they decorated my first marriage’s wedding cake. A decade ago, they were a closely guarded resource during my short internship at the Inn at Little Washington. And, seemingly appropriate to my life, I find a trove of them in my new home, bridging into a new stretch of life, strangely enough, just mile from the Inn.
The mechanics of this pie are pretty straight-forward. It’s a berry pie, similar to working with raspberries. To keep the brilliant red juice, I chose tapioca as the thickener. Because they are a juicy berry, this is shallow pie dish, and baked open face. The plan is to lose a significant portion of water via evaporation. However, because the tapioca is in granules, I want to make sure they don’t try out. I mashed a third of the berries with sugar, lime juice, a dash of salt, and the tapioca. A third of the berries were folded in. That went into a lined shell, and I layered the final third on top. My thinking is that top berries will provide cover for the tapioca as it swells.
And.... Like most everything else this weekend, this sucked. The berries released so much juice that the pie took over 90 minutes to thicken. While it was baking, the juice turned a layer of the bottom crust to mush. The unbaked pastry dissolved into the filling—"It tastes like homemade playdough," said Charlotte. The berries were overbaked with a mushy, gummy texture. And the lard in the crust added a gag-worthy porkiness.
Then, thanks to a question from the Preheated Podcast, I learned what wineberries are. They're an invasive species of Asian raspberry endemic to the East coast and Appalachians. Two states even outlaw growing them. Joy.
So, after this pie, and a few other piefails in the past few weeks, I've realized I've been phoning this project in for the past six weeks. Do to life—moving, working, fixing up a house—YoP got pushed to the back, an afterthought obligation to grind out on the weekend instead of a learning project. More on phoning it in later.
What will I do differently next time? Partially or fully cook the filling or, more likely, use them in icebox style pies—Wineberry Chiffon?