Saturday, July 31, 2010

Pietopia Entry: My Favorite Blackberry Pie

I entered and did not place in a contest called Pietopia.  Some of you have asked to see the entry, so here it is. It was supposed to be very, very short, but the contest guidelines were unclear as to whether the word limit included the recipe.

I played it safe and kept the whole thing under 300 words, which made it very, very streamlined.

It is my favorite pie recipe which I share with you in this posting. Enjoy!

Claire Germain Nail
Gypsy Blackberry Pie  
Himalayan Blackberries are a nuisance in Oregon. Some summers I feel like that oft-maligned vine: a gypsy imported from a hotter, wealthier land. Yet, I’ve sent down my roots for good. Come rain or shine!
Times have been tough here for me and countless others. The nearby Blockbuster store is gone, but the berry vines behind it prevail.  Damn the economy, the cloudy gloom! I thrive on pie, replete with luscious blackberries: free for the picking, notwithstanding vicious scratches and purpled fingers! Blackberries are tough; so are Oregonians. So am I.
Simple blackberry pie, ingredients available cheaply: tart it up or down, like your little black dress. Necessary tapioca thickener disappears into the berries. Add lemon. If you’re too rich and too thin, use butter instead of oil.  The sweat-earned luxury of wild blackberries: money won’t buy gems more wickedly dark and glistening.   
Gypsy Berry Filling
9 inch pie 
Preheat oven 425 degrees
8 -10 cups juicy blackberries
1/2 cup sugar (or more if you prefer a sweet pie)
1/4 cup instant tapioca 
Ginger to taste
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup lemon juice and peel*
Let sit in warm place and make crust.
Easy Crust
2 cups flour
1/2 mild-flavored oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
up to 1/2 cup milk (water if you are really up against it)
  1. Measure flour into bowl, stir in salt.
  2. Stir in oil with fork, forming pea-size clumps.
  3. Stir in liquid slowly, till dough forms ball (less liquid on wet days).
  4. Divide into two balls.
  5. Roll out crust to about 1/4 inch, between wax paper. Flip dough over into pan and peel off paper. Arrange crust and trim overhanging edges.
  6. Add berries, 6 flecks of butter, cover with top crust, and crimp edges. Slit top crust.
  7. Bake 45-60 minutes, till golden and bubbly.  Cool before eating.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Waiting for the Cosmic Egg to Hatch

I'm working on a new project for an artist friend in exchange for a beautiful painting.  This is a painting which I have permission to use as the cover for my up-coming novel which will publish before Christmas. 

(Watch for information here regarding this novel: Saint Sullivan's Daughter.)

The new project is a secret right now, as it will be a surprise for my friend.  Let us just say these few hints.  It involves the moon, the color blue, stardust, and a bee.

That and the beautiful inspirational image (you'll find below) - an illumination from Hildegarde, who lived from 1098-1179: visionary, writer, artist and composer.  And like so many gifted European women of her time, a Catholic monastic.

Have a great week!  I'll be publishing a photo of the altar sculpture as soon as it's done.

The Cosmic Egg by Hildegarde of Bingen