August, already!?! I have a love/hate relationship with the month of August. I love another month of long, sunny days and filling them with swimming, biking, gardening and sleeping out under the stars. I love having a birthday and wedding anniversary in this month to celebrate(although numbering the years that have been celebrated is getting a little tough to swallow and quickly moving into the “hate” column). Unfortunately, the reality that when August comes to a close and life gets buckled down, starting the crescendo of over-filled schedules and less daylight hours as we march through the end of another year, that truth puts August boldly into the “hate” column as well. So August becomes a time to “get in” the last of the fun stuff before the summer fun ends.
Our August diversions begin with Dear Father-in-law’s birthday. Because his birthday comes during blackberry picking time AND he happens to like blackberries, an annual gift of a homemade blackberry custard pie is always on my August 1st to do list.
Of course this pie begins with blackberries, and that means a trip to the berry patch. This year seems to be a year of plenty for the blackberries. I have noticed that fruit growing in the wild has years of plenty mixed with years of lean. Luckily, plenty means the job of picking is completed quickly.
The custard pie recipe I use for this pie was given to me by my Mother-In-Law and happens to be Dear Husband’s favorite, any fresh, canned, or frozen fruit can be used, his favorites are peaches and blueberries. I like this recipe because it doesn’t require a top crust and makes the job of putting a pie together quick and easy.
After choosing your fruit, line a pie dish with your favorite pie crust. I use my Mom’s recipe:
2 c Flour
1 tsp Salt
In a bowl mix together flour and salt; In a separate bowl mix together to form a paste:
1/4 c Water
1/3 c Flour/Salt mixture
Into the remaining flour/salt mixture, mix with forks or a pastry cutter:
2/3 c Shortening
Once shortening is well incorporated, add in your water/flour/salt paste to form your pastry dough. Separate the dough into two equal pieces. On a floured surface, using a rolling pin, roll out each dough piece into a circle large enough to fill your pie dish.
When your pie dish is prepared with your unbaked pie dough, you can fill your dish with the fruit of choice, in this case it is my blackberries. With fruit that is extra juicy like blackberries, I have found that tossing them around in a small amount of flour to give them a light coating before placing them into the pie dish has help to keep my finished pie from becoming too “soupy” and helps it to hold shape after the slicing has begun.
Once the fruit has been added to the pie dish, the custard is just poured over top of the fruit:
Custard Pie (for all fruit pies)
2 TBS Milk
1 c Sugar
3 TBS Flour(pack the TBS full, maybe even overfull)
1/2 tsp Vanilla
2 TBS Butter-cut into small pieces
Mix all the ingredients together by hand or with an electric mixer; Pour over fruit and let stand for several minutes; Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1/2 hour or until the pie is set(doesn’t jiggle) and the custard is becoming a golden brown.
Don’t forget you have two pie crusts! The review board living at my house was lucky this year, with blackberries being plentiful, they got to have their own blackberry custard pie to enjoy.
“Cut my pie into four pieces, I don’t think I could eat eight.”
― Yogi Berra
Enjoy your pie, but don’t sit for too long! I hear the beans, onions, peaches, sweet corn, cucumbers and tomatoes all calling out for attention. Oh, the overwhelming blessings of August!