Introduction: Tinker Tailor Soldier Pi Berry Pie
It's a pie layered in deception and lies. Was it Blueberry, codename Tinker? I've always been a bit suspicious of that Strawberry, Tailor. Maybe it was Soldier; Blackberry has often been a bit tart with me. Then again, there is the honorable Red Raspberry, codename Pi. George Smiley knows one of these berries is berry guilty. How can we know who the turncoat is? That's easy. As with any case, we just need to get to the bottom of it. The berry at the bottom of the pie is bound to be our pie spy (say that 10 times fast).
Step 1: The Crust
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup COLD butter
3/8 - 3/4 cup ICE COLD water
Cut the butter into about 1/2" cubes and return to refrigerator or freezer until needed. I usually refrigerate my dry ingredients as well for about 15 minutes before starting. A flaky crust begins with cold ingredients.
Add dry ingredients to food processor and pulse until combined. Scatter about half your butter on the top and pulse only for a few seconds. Scatter the rest along the top and pulse until mixture resembles a course crumbs. Slowly add the water while pulsing just until the dough can pinch together. Too much moisture will make it the crust easier to manage, but you sacrifice flakiness in the end.
Divide dough in three piles on separate pieces of saran wrap. Use the wrap to form the dough into discs. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Prepare your work surface with flour, and roll the first disc out. Transfer to 9" pie pan and trim edges to about 1/4" longer than you want them. Tuck that extra 1/4" inch under. If you developed any cracks or holes, just use the excess dough to patch them. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Meanwhile, roll out your second disc. Use a knife to cut out some symbols for each codename--a wrench and screwdriver for tinker, a needle and thread for tailor, a sword and shield for soldier, and the Greek letter pi for pi. Alphabet cookie cutters made pretty quick work for the words 'tinker', 'tailor', and 'soldier'. I cut out another Greek letter pi using the knife to go on top of the crust. I had some extra dough, so I used a small triangle cookie cutter to make several small triangles. I used my handy pie crust guard (used to prevent burning during baking) to get an estimate of how many I would need to cover the edge of the pie for a nice decorative border. This all goes into the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Roll out the last disc in the meantime. This will be your top crust. Again, it goes into the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Step 2: The Berry Fillings
About 2 cups each of blueberries, strawberries cut to bite size, blackberries, and red raspberries (all rinsed and allowed to dry)
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup cornstarch
Combine each type of berry with 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in separate bowls. Allow to macerate for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 3: The Assembly and Baking
1 egg, separated
1 tablespoon cream
Use a pastry brush to coat the bottom crust with egg white. This will help keep the crust from getting soggy. Make a one berry thin layer of -- the truth at last! Which berry is at the bottom of this pie? OMG! It's Red Raspberry! I feel like I should have known; the signs were there the entire time: it is Red Raspberry afterall, and Pi does sound an awful lot like spy. The villain!
Ahem. Back to the recipe.
Make a one berry thin layer of raspberry filling inside the crust. Brush both sides of the pi symbol cut out with egg white and place on the raspberries. Make a similarly thin layer of the blackberries topped with your soldier emblems, strawberries with the tailor cut outs, and blueberries with the tinkers. Egg wash both sides of every cut out before placing. On goes the top crust. Mix together egg yolk and cream. Brush this mixture over the crust and each letter and the pi symbol as you place them to spell "tinker tailor soldier pi." Brush the yolk mixture on each triangle to make the decorative border. Finally the pie needs vents, so in honor of George Smiley, use a knife to make a smiley vent.
Keep in refrigerator while preheating the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake on top of a parchment or aluminum foil lined baking sheet until edges are lightly golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cover the edges with an aluminum foil ring and reduce temperature to 350 and bake until the crust is golden brown and the juices start to bubble, about 40 to 50 minutes.
Allow at least a couple hours for the pie to cool. Serve warm or cold. Berry pie goes great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whip cream. Enjoy! (I'm going to really enjoy eating that great offender, Red Raspberry, most of all. George Smiley is a real sweetheart compared to me; I'm going to eat every last raspberry without mercy.)
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