Summer baking & blueberry hand pies

"And that's how summer passed" - Ben Howard

For the love of Pie is almost one year old. So much has happened! I won a life-changing trip to Sri Lanka, attended events where I've met likeminded, creative, and smart food & photography passionates, and got to know strangers who became familiar faces in this curious but awesome online world. And in exactly one year I will assist Eva Kosmas Flores & Carey Nershi during a fairytale workshop in Iceland. Unbelievable! I never imagined I would love my own blog and everything that comes with it so much. It made me realize that I am capable of a lot more than I used to think. Like I told you last week, I have countless ideas about where to go from here. It's a mix of who I was and who I've become. And I truly love it. 

Things I've learned these past twelve months:

- Stay true to yourself. There are many food blogs out there. The only way to stay in this for the long haul is to find your own identity. Which is hard in the beginning. And it takes time. Be patient, publish only content you love. 

- Food bloggers aren't always taken seriously by the mainstream media. As a journalist I know all about these things, unfortunately. I've received some nice offers this year, but when I asked to be compensated for the time I spent on writing & developing a recipe, let alone cooking and photographing the food, I often heard 'No, we don't have a budget'. I think it's time people don't take us for granted.

- Diversity is essential. Someone asked me once why I wrote personal stuff on this blog, after all, it's a recipe blog. Why bother people with my life right? Well if you don't like it, by all means, go to a blog where you only find a recipe, the ingredients, and the instructions. That's totally fine by me. But my blog isn't just about recipes: it's about life, it's about stories, about personal growth, and about photography. I think there's not a prototype food blog. Look at the Saveur blog awards. There are so many categories to choose from, and that is what makes this gig fun. 

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I actually planned to post today's recipe somewhere in September. When my new blog is live. But I changed my mind, because these pies involve blueberries, and those are in season right now. What can you do about it eh? Last weekend I invited my cousin Mirjan over. One of her many talents is that she's a brilliant photographer and stylist. For a long time now she & her camera have been inseparable. Mirjan is very good in still life photography, but even better in (self) portrait photography. Many of her photos have been turned into book covers. Isn't that amazing? So I was and am very grateful that she was willing to take photos of me while baking hand pies. We had a very inspiring and fun day together. Talking about our common interests, Ben Howard, Kings of Leon, Iceland, photography, our future, all while baking and taking photos. Love it. 

One of the most important things when working together on a project like this, is chemistry. Everything went so easy, so natural. We knew exactly what we wanted. And the result is amazing, don't you think? So many photos, I really can't choose. Therefore, this is going to be the most photo heavy blog post ever I think. Although, we kind of decided this isn't a one time thing. So prepare for future collaborations. ;)


Rustic blueberry handpies

makes 8-14 pies
recipe adapted from Modern Wifestyle

You need:

For the dough

2 cups all purpose flour (or substitute half for spelt flour)
115 grams ice cold butter, cut in cubes
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fine sea salt
6 tbsp ice water
1 egg (for brushing)

For the filling

150 grams blueberries (wild ones are best)
3.5 tbsp granulated sugar or honey
1 tbsp arrowroot 
a splash of port

How to make it:

1. Sieve the flour in a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt. Give everything a stir before you add the butter. Crumble everything between your fingers until you roughly have a sand-like consistency. 

2. Add the ice water and kneed until you can make a ball of dough and everything sticks together. Don't over kneed. 

3. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for at least one hour. Transfer to the freezer fifteen minutes before you want to work with it.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Add the blueberries to a saucepan and sprinkle the sugar over the fruit.

5. Place the pan on medium heat. Shake it from time to time. When the sugar has dissolved and the berries have softened a little, add the arrowroot. Do not stir too much, you want to keep the berries whole. Add the port and stir gently on more time. Set aside in the fridge.

6. Divide the dough in 6 small balls. Roll out with a rolling pin and use a 10 cm cutter to make perfect circles.

7. Place one or two tablespoons of filling in the middle of the circle and place a second disk on top of it. Gently close the dough by using your finger tips. Alternatively use only one disk, fold the dough over and leave 1 cm short. Gently close the dough with your fingers to make a empanada/pierogi formed hand pie. 

8. Crimp the hand pies by pressing a fork carefully into the dough all the way around. Make sure they are closed well to avoid big leaks. 

9. Whisk an egg lightly and brush on top of the hand pies. Sprinkle a little cinnamon or sugar on top if you like. 

10. Cut 3 air holes on top of the pies and bake them at 200 C/400F for 25 minutes. 

11. They are best enjoyed warm. Store in an airtight container for 3 days. 

Thank you so much Mirjan for taking these amazing photos. If you want to see more of my cousin's work, and you should, please visit her website: www.mirjanrooze.com