Thursday, May 24, 2012

Backyard Bounty: Mulberry Pie

Keith comes from a rather more self-sufficient family than average. Both sets of grandparents have a history of growing quite a bit of food for themselves. Not just a crop of homegrown tomatoes, which is all I really aspire to in my garden, but fruit orchards, strawberry patches that yield a gallon of berries daily in prime season. You know, the kind of agriculture that toes the line between "garden" and "farm." Having grown up in times more tight-belted than I'm likely to ever see, the idea of letting food that just falls into their laps go to waste is a little absurd to them.

"We should eat those," Keith said, letting the guilt get to him. "We should make a pie."

City-girl Becka did not even know we had a tree that produced edible fruit.

It's a learning process.

So while Keith was mowing the yard this weekend, I plucked and foraged every ripe mulberry I could get my hands on. Just so we're clear, mulberries are tiny and it takes a long time of crouching on the ground to get a good haul of already-dropped berries and, no, I am not old, but I am not that young anymore. And if we plan to continue this whole berry business (and we should!), we're gonna need a system that causes me a lot less pain.


I proudly presented my berries to Keith, and we agreed that, it being something like 90ยบ that day, the pie could wait until more reasonable temperatures. Pie is important, but not turning on the oven when the house is already in the 80s is equally important.

I left the baking to Keith. He used Alton Brown's crust recipe, swapping more butter for the lard (which we do actually have, for once, but it was still in the freezer). He tossed together a pie filling with the mashed berries, sugar, vanilla, pomegranate liqueur, and a gelling agent of some sort. Since we didn't have a huge pile of mulberries, Keith opted to make a couple of rustic free-form pies rather than worry about filling a pie pan. They came out beautifully.

It just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to participate in this level of "from-scratch" cooking. Obviously we didn't raise the cows for the butter or grind our own wheat, but it's always incredibly satisfying to have at least one ingredient in a dish that you produced from your own land... even if the tree was already there when you bought the house.

Next step: actually start eating the nuts from our walnut and hickory trees.

Mulberry pie

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful pie. My Dad's pear tree had a bumper crop this year. Stop by between classes if you'd like to take a bushel or two to stuff in one of your baking creations. (I like turnovers.)