Harry Potter and buttermilk pie crust

Ever notice how what you’re reading influences what you eat and cook, or what you WANT to eat and cook?

I finally started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to my two older kids this weekend, and oh my goodness. SO. MUCH. FUN. Only a couple chapters into the first book and they are already picking up on the challenges of making good choices, courage, the reality that adults don’t always get it right, that life isn’t fair, and that doing the right thing is always the right thing.

And the food . . . Rowling got it. I love how she details food.
Bags of stale crips.
A can of tomatoes on toast for breakfast.
Fried bacon.
A package of squishy sausages in Hagrid’s pocket.
Candy and sweets with so many odd names and flavors I can’t even remember them all at the moment. Except those jelly beans of all different flavors—because Jelly Belly, obviously, have jumped on that train.
I need to write about food in my own stories some more . . .

Today is about pie, though. Rowling’s description of the pies and tarts at the Hogwart’s feast got me itching to try a new pie crust recipe I’ve been thinking about. Plus I made butter again this weekend, so there is both icy cold buttermilk and fresh butter in my fridge waiting for experimentation.

Hope you had a great weekend, friends.
Here’s to good books and good food.
Enjoy!

BUTTERMILK PIE CRUST
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup chilled buttermilk

In a food processor, whirl the butter, flour, and salt until crumbly. Then, one teaspoon at a time, add the buttermilk until a dough forms. The trick here is not to overwork the dough or let it get warm. You don’t want the butter melting into the dough, but rather staying rather crumbled within it—those butter bits are what will make the dough flaky when it bakes.

Note: these measurements make a single crust, so you’ll need to double the recipe for a top and bottom crust.

I prefer using wax paper or parchment paper to roll out pasty dough because it means I don’t have to try and scrape it from my counter top or risk over-flouring it. Also, refrigerate whatever dough you aren’t currently working with.

Lay the bottom crust in the plate and add the filling of your choice (I’m going with apple, cheddar, and sweet-potato today).

Roll out the top crust as you did with the bottom, fit over top the pie, trim any excess around the edges and crimp.

Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown across the top and bubbling. About 40 minutes or so. Allow to cool before cutting so the juices can re-incorporate.

For a full tutorial on how I use wax paper and crimping, check out my earlier pie crust recipe tutorial. —Different recipe, same method. 🙂

making butter

So this isn’t really a recipe post as much as a reflection post . . . because one doesn’t really need a recipe for making butter.
To make butter: Pour whole cream into a bowl, add a dash of salt, whip the daylights out of it, and presto: Butter.

But the actual act of making butter connects you to something else. Something beautiful and nourishing and transformational. Is that an exaggeration? I don’t know. But making butter, for me, feels like all of those things.

As I sit on the counter, watching my stand mixer do the work housewives before me grew blisters for, I marvel at their tenacity. Their determination to do something good for their people. And gratitude is the only word I can think of. I’m thankful for them. For these women, all of them, who came before me to make the world what it continues to become. I’m thankful they cared enough about their people to do the work, day after day. To nourish and feed and love and build life out of nothing. Do to transformational work—in the kitchen and out. I think it fair to call butter making an allegorical act. A work that tells a story. In making butter, one useful nourishing thing is changed into another useful nourishing thing. And isn’t that what it is, to parent and cook? To wife and partner? To work and build and grow? We change ourselves, and those around us, with small daily acts, from one thing into another.

So as you go about this week, take a minute. Pause. Remember. You’re making butter. In and out of the kitchen. As men and women ages before you have done. The unseen, blister-growing, heart work that transforms lives. Well done. Churn on.