A buttery polenta shortcake crust filled with fresh blueberries makes a beautiful dessert for family but it’s pretty enough for special guests.
When I was in university studying journalism with some public relations and graphic design thrown in, we still used picas (1 pica=12 point) as a measure of column width. We talked about leading (the space between the lines of type) and kerning (the space between the letters) and column inches. I’m guessing that those designing newspapers still do. What I didn’t realize is that the origin of the word pica is connected with another of my favorite words: Pie!
"magpie," mid-13c. (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French pie (13c.), from Latin pica "magpie" (see magpie). In 16c., a wily pie was a "cunning person." Source: EtymOnline
Yeah, I’m kind of a word wonk. One of my favorite parts of reading cookbooks, magazines and blogs from other countries is learning all the different ways we refer to the same sorts of dishes, like pies and tarts. Even the variety of things that are called pie, both savory and sweet, baked and fried, handheld or baked in a pie plate, is enormous.
Last January I was blessed with the gift of the digital UK edition of delicious. magazine for my birthday. Each month I scroll through the gorgeous photographs and mark the recipes I’d like to try, either as written or adapted to our own tastes. As soon as I saw the recipe they called Blueberry Polenta Shortcake, I said to myself, “Shortcake?! That’s pie! It has two crusts!”
Adapted from delicious. magazine, UK digital edition, August 2015
For the crust:
1 2/3 cups or 210g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup or 150g chilled unsalted butter
1/2 cup or 100g polenta or fine cornmeal
2/3 cup or 150g fine sugar
Finely grated zest 1 large orange
1 large egg
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
For the filling:
2 1/2 cups or 340g fresh blueberries, plus a couple extra for decoration
5 teaspoons sugar
Good pinch salt
1 heaped tablespoon polenta or fine cornmeal
To sprinkle on before baking
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C. Use some non-stick spray or a little oil to grease the inside of your 9 in or 23cm spring form pan. Cut a piece of parchment just bigger than the base so you can cover up past where the sides and bottom of the pan join.
Cut the butter into cubes and add it to your food processor with the flour, baking powder and salt. Pulse until you have sandy looking crumbs.
Add in the polenta, sugar and orange zest and pulse again briefly.
Add in the egg mixed with the orange juice and pulse again until a dough starts to form.
Knead it a turn or two.
Cut a little more than 1/3 of the dough or 250g off and wrap it with cling film. Put it in the refrigerator to chill.
Press the rest of the dough into the bottom and at least an inch or 2cm the sides of your prepared baking pan. Just keep working on it till it's nice and even.
Remove all little stems, if any, from your blueberries and pour them into the bottom crust.
Mix the good pinch of salt with the sugar and heaped spoon of polenta then sprinkle them over the blueberries.
Draw a circle the size of your baking pan on a large piece of baking parchment. Roll the chilled dough out between that one and another piece of parchment until it’s a little bigger than the circle. Try to peel the parchment off. If it’s too sticky, pop the rolled dough back into the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
Cut the dough out around the circle and peel one side of the parchment off.
Turn the pastry over and gently ease the pastry circle onto the blueberries and bottom crust, pressing down gently to remove air from underneath. Push the crust in at the sides, peeling the top parchment sheet off as you go.
Decorate with a few more blueberries, if desired, and sprinkle on the demerara sugar. As you can see, I also made some little balls with the pastry scraps but they just baked into the crust so you really don't need to bother.
Bake in your preheated oven for about 45-50 minutes or until the top crust is golden.
Allow to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes and then run a thin knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the crust.
Open the spring form pan and carefully remove the pie to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely before cutting.
|The golden bottom|
This blueberry pie with polenta shortcake crust is my contribution to this month's Friday Pie Day, the brilliant creation of Heather from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen. (Formerly girlichef.)
For more information and recipes, please check out her #FridayPieDay page!