Friday, July 22, 2011

Is There Anything Better Than Butter?

Have you seen the movie Julie & Julia?  There is a part where Julie Powell asks the question "Is there anything better than butter?"  Well, I have to reply with a resounding NO!

For example: pie crust.  Living in Oregon, I am beyond thrilled that this state produces some of the best fruits and berries you could ever imagine.  In fact, it is home to the marionberry, a variety of blackberry developed in the Willamette Valley.  These beautiful and flavorful berries are coveted for use in making pies and cobblers.  Yesterday when I was at the local grower's market, I picked up two pints of the black beauties, dreaming of what concoctions I could come up with them.

A glorious pint of organically grown marionberries.

I thought about a coffee cake or a crisp, but at the request of my son, settled on pie.  Well actually, I made turnovers, which I think are more fun to eat and seemed like a good summer treat.  I'm not really a baker and I don't have a tried and true pie crust, so I decided I would experiment and come up with one that I liked.  Let me just say that butter made it better!

I used a recipe that used only shortening, water, flour and salt.  The first batch was okay, except I rolled the crust too thick making it pale and not very flavorful. Today I changed it up a bit and instead added some cold, unsalted butter and rolled out thin crust.  To my delight it turned out light and flaky and golden and ... well let's just say I am in turnover heaven!

Marionberry turnovers.  Yes, I did eat TWO of them.

Heavenly Marionberry Turnovers - makes 8 turnovers or 2 pie crusts

2 pints marionberries (or whatever fruit you like; I also threw in a few raspberries from my own backyard)
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
dash of salt

Pie crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cold, unsalted butter cut into small cubes
6 Tbsp icy cold water

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 Tbsp water

ground cinnamon
turbinado sugar

In medium bowl, gently coat berries with flour, sugar and salt.  Set aside.  

To make crust, use a food processor by pulsing together flour, shortening, and salt.  One tablespoon at a time, add cold water and pulse.  Add in cold butter and pulse.  The dough should be soft and hold together in a ball.  On floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8" thickness.  Using a cutter (or bowl) approximately 5" in diameter, cut out rounds and place on parchment lined baking sheet.  

Spoon small amounts of berries onto each round, making sure not to over fill. Brush egg mixture onto edges and fold over the round, crimp the turnover closed with a knife.  Brush egg wash over the top of turnover, sprinkle with cinnamon and turbinado sugar.  Make a steam vent by slitting the top of the pastry with a sharp knife.

Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 30-35 minutes.  Allow to cool on wire rack, or serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

My kids harvest (but mostly eat) the ripe raspberries from our backyard.

The crunchy turbindo sugar made these turnovers extra special in my opinion.  I can't wait to try these with some apples.  Hmm, and maybe some fresh cherries.  Ooh, and lets not forget peaches ... or pears ...


Anna said...

Those crusts can be such stinkers. But well done! Berry desserts are my most favorite.

And speaking of Julia ... have you seen the book Julia's Kitchen?

Love, love it.

Kelly said...

That looks like a great book, Anna! Certainly one to add to my collection :)