I’ve done a fair amount of looking around when it comes to ideas for July 4 shorts. You could deck out the front pockets, dip-dye them, or paint on simple stars and stripes. Ultimately, I decided to cut my own stencil (not necessarily the best decision), and spray-paint the back pockets. Here’s how.
Get excited. None other than Annie Dean, blogger and food extraordinaire, let us in on her quintessential summer dessert (and how you – yes you – can make it at home) just in time for the Fourth of July spread:
Summer is the season, unquestionably, to bake pies. Growing up, my mom used to bake us all sorts of pies. Blueberry. Peach. Strawberry Rhubarb. We’d never eat them hot, though. After they came out of the oven, we’d let them cool off by an open window in the kitchen and then pop them in the fridge overnight. By breakfast we’d be ready for a slice: the perfect relief from the morning heat. For her pie recipes, my mom has always relied on McCall’s Superb Dessert Cookbook by Mary Eckley, the then-food editor of McCall’s magazine. And for good reason: Mary Eckley was my mom’s godmother. Try this blueberry pie. You’ll forget winter even exists.
McCall’s Blueberry Pie
2 pints of blueberries, rinsed, patted dry and picked through to remove obvious stems
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
dash of salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (sifted before measuring)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shortening
4 to 5 tablespoons ice water
To make filling:
Place blueberries in a bowl and add 1 cup sugar mixed with 1/4 cup flour and a dash of salt. Toss until thoroughly coated.
To make crust:
Sift flour with salt into medium bowl. With pastry blender or two knives, using a short, cutting motion, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Quickly sprinkle ice water, one tablespoon at a time, over all of pastry mixture, tossing lightly with a fork after each addition and pushing dampened portion to side of bowl (pastry should be just moist enough to hold together, not sticky). Shape the pastry into a ball and wrap in wax paper until ready to use. When ready, divide in half and flatten each half with palm of hand.
Roll out each half into a 12-inch circle, rolling with light strokes from center to edge. As you roll, alternate directions. Fold bottom pastry in half and carefully place in a buttered pie dish, taking care to ensure that fold is in the center of the pie dish. Unfold and fit carefully into pie plate, leaving some pastry overhanging on the sides. Cut top pastry into 12 1-inch slices.
Once the bottom crust of the pie has been added to the pie dish, add your filling and make your lattice-top crust. Crimp the edges with a fork and pop in the oven at 425°F for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and filling is fizzling out of the top crust.
Protect your crusts with a makeshift crust protector. Cut a circle of aluminum foil larger than the circumference of the pie. Cut out a large hole from the center of the foil, just an inch or so smaller than the circumference of your pie. When placed over the pie, the foil will fit just over the crimped edges of the crust. After 20 minutes of baking, add the crust protector to prevent the edges of your crust from over-browning.