Saturday, May 20, 2006

Pie Oh My

Because I haven't blogged quite enough about things to do with curdled milk, I baked a tvorog and blueberry pie this weekend. Seriously, it's not like I decided to make Yulinka Cooks a tvorog-themed blog. It's just that I always have milk and buttermilk nearing expiration in the fridge. I figure that I'll make tvorog and find some use for it later. Sometimes I'll end up eating it for breakfast or lunch; sometimes I have no choice but to bake with it.

I've actually had my eye on this pie recipe, from Anya von Bremzen's Please to the Table, for at least a year. I like tvorog, I like blueberries and I like a challenge--sweet yeast dough. Remebering what I learned last time--more flour!--I had far less trouble making the dough this time around. The trouble came later.

For the cheese filling, I mixed 1 1/4 cups of tvorog with a couple of tablespoons of sugar, an egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, lemon zest (I used lemon juice) and a tablespoon of sour cream. The recipe calls for fresh blueberries, mixed with a little sugar, but I used frozen. This was a mistake, as frozen blueberries release a lot of juice when they bake.

You need 1/2 recipe of the sweet yeast dough for this pie. I rolled out 3/4 of the dough into a 13-inch round and draped it across a 10-inch pie plate. I made my second mistake here, using a pie plate that was far too deep. Use a standard pie plate or something shallow. The other quarter of the dough is for the lattice strips. I tried to make them no more than 1/4 inch wide, as instructed. Even though mine were too thick, I still wound up with a leftover hunk of dough (used for mini-vatrushki).

The above photo shows the pie before it went into a 375-degree oven. I had a few concerns about it looking kind of messy (not to mention the pie-making mess in the background). When it came out, it was... Well, look at the top picture. "Rustic" is a kind way of putting it. "Peasant-style" would also work. But it didn't quite look like an elegant northern Slavic pie that Anya promised.

Because the pie plate was too deep, the shell didn't bake all the way through. I thought the tvorog filling could have used a little more browning, which it didn't get thanks to the lattice. The frozen berries released too much juice. But how did the pie taste? Good! Really, this is a very nice adult dessert (or breakfast). I've become a big fan of sweet yeast dough--it's not too sweet or leaden. The boyfriend had about three slices and proclaimed the pie "yummy" and "not very heavy." So there you go--just use fresh blueberries and don't bother with the lattice. The cheese and blueberry filling would work just as well on a flaky, American-style pie crust, I think, or in a tart, which is what I might try next time.


Anonymous said...

Yum, this looks so good, but I'm thinking tvorog? What tvorog; has she been overwhelming us with tvorog? If they all look as great as this you can make and post about them every day as far as I'm concerned, and Pete Wells would probably think you had one of the few interesting food blogs! I love rustic looking desserts and even taught a class on rustic desserts once, but nothing I made equalled this in rusticity. (I made some crostata, among other things).
Is this the same boyfriend who thinks pasta is for girls on diets? I doubt if he finds anything "too heavy"! :)

Mrs. M. said...

"Nothing I made equalled this in rusticity."

Um, is that a compliment? ;) I like rustic desserts too, but I *really* like making stuff that looks elegant and dainty. I'm a pretty messy cook, though, so that doesn't happen very often.

You're right about the boyfriend--he just vacuums food in.

lobstersquad said...

I always have milk about to expire! This is great. Blog on

Helen said...

Hi Yulinka,

I saw your comment on my blog, but last couple of weeks have been too crazy and I didn't have a chance to come visit. But today I finally did, and what a wonderful blog you have! Now I'll know whom to turn to with all my Russian food questions :) Anya's book is my favorite Russian cookbook in English. I must say that her recipes don't always work for me and I end up changing them to make them more like my Mom's. But since getting a recipe out of my Mom is nearly impossible, Anya's book really helps. Your blueberry pie brought back many wonderful memories. I had the same experiment last summer:


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