I believe I have finally recovered from our recent move.
This process took months. I’m not sure why… you’d think after 20-odd moves in my life I’d have the moving thing down to a science. Not so much.
I’m happy to report that located everything I lost along the way (among the most missed items: the rolling pin, the innards to the food processor, and the paddle for the kitchenaid mixer), and acclimated into the rhythm of cooking in a new space. It’s a great space.
Have I mentioned I’m never moving again?
Let me note: Moving is a great opportunity to evaluate all the stuff you have accumulated in life, and trash or donate anything you don’t need anymore. It’s shocking how much we collectively trashed or donated at House Morell this spring. We had lived in our old house seven years… longer than we had lived anywhere else.
As I was packing up my old kitchen, I unearthed a dusty old stack of mini pie-tins. I think they may have been a wedding gift. Even though I hadn’t used them in YEARS, they made the cut to be moved. And I am so glad… because these scrumptious little pies were begging to be made.
I was inspired in part by the gorgeous Blueberry-Pecan Galette that graced the cover of the most recent Bon Appetit magazine. But while an regular-sized pie or galette is nice, it’s every so much more fun to hand a friend an individual portion of sugar-dusted crust oozing with warm fruit. (Extra credit: a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.)
A crostata (or galette) style crust is meant to look rustic (my translation: a bit messy). This is my kind of pastry. Instead of covering the top with a top layer of crust, I simply folded and pleated the overhanging bits of pastry over the fruit. The fruit is pretty much guaranteed to ooze all over the place as it bakes… part of the charm, I would argue. And I love the combination of cherries and blueberries… obviously, you can use either, but the sweet, slightly tart combo is pretty fab. My family and friends certainly agreed.
I hope I never, ever move again… but if I do, these tins will be coming along. There are so many mini-pies waiting to be made.
- The crust:
- 1 cup finely ground almonds
- 2¼ cups all-pupose flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup butter cut into pieces
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
- The filling:
- 3 cups blueberries
- 2 cups cherries, pitted and halved
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ¾ cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- For the pastry, place the almonds, flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and pulse 12 to 15 times, or until the butter is the size of peas. Do not overmix. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube. Keep hitting the pulse button to combine, but stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto a well-floured board and gather it into one ball. Then divide it up into eight equal balls. Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Make the filling:
- Place the blueberries and cherries in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch, flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Toss with the berries and cherries to coat completely. Set aside.
- Remove the chilled pastry from the fridge. Flour a rolling pin and roll the disks about ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured surface. I used 5-inch tins, so I rolled out each circle to about 6 inches in diameter. Transfer them to individual pie tins.
- Scoop ½ cup of the berry mixture into the pie crusts, then gently fold the border over the berries, as you would for a crostada, pleating it to make a circle.
- Brush the edges of the pie crusts with a bit of milk, then sprinkle with extra sugar.
- Place the pie tins on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, as they will likely ooze.
- Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the pie crust is golden and the juices are bubbling.