Desserts matter in our family. The butter-cream-and-sugar kind. (My mother long ago decreed that there’s no such thing as a worthy low-fat dessert.) Unless that final course has some kind of chocolate in it, though, I’m usually not interested; I’m just not a cooked-fruit-in-anything kind of gal. However, I love jam and I love pie crust, and one day I put the two together to get jam pie. It was sort of like a Pop Tart, only with real ingredients. The Twits* were in heaven. The recipe is simple. Yes, you have to make a pie dough, but if you have a food processor, it’s easy.
*Those whom I tirelessly serve
Pie dough for a 10-inch double crust (see recipe below)
3/4 to 1 cup jam, preferably homemade, but whatever you have works fine
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the first piece of dough to make a 10-inch circle. (Make it super easy: roll out the dough in a pie-crust-rolling bag.) Place on a baking sheet.
Spread jam on dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border all the way around. Roll out the second piece of dough to make a 10-inch circle and place on top.
Press the edges together firmly, then roll up the edges to make a tight, raised border (it’s OK if it doesn’t look perfect; rustic is good).
Using a strainer, spread the powdered sugar over the top, but avoid the edges. Then using a small knife, slice 6-8 slits evenly across the top.
Bake till edges are golden and jam is bubbling through the slits, about 20 minutes. Then remove from oven and let cool. Cut into slices and serve with mascarpone flavoured with almond extract and sweetened with powdered sugar.
Regarding the pie crust, my mother swears by Cook’s Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough, the secret ingredient of which is vodka. And that crust is pretty impressive. But the crust is such a major player in Jam Pie that I actually prefer the recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From my home to yours, which uses a higher butter-to-shortening ratio. (In a pie crust, butter provides the taste, while shortening provides the flakiness.) Please note that whichever pie crust you choose, you’re going to need to let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.
Anybody-Can-Make-A-Pie-Dough (for a 9-inch double crust)
adapted from Dorie Greenspan
3 cups unbleached flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2-1/2 sticks (10 ounces) very cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces; put in the freezer after you prep
1/3 cup very cold (frozen is best) non-hydrogenated shortening (I use Earth Balance); put in freezer after you prep
About 1/2 cup ice water
Pulse the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor until combined (2-3 pulses’ll do it). Add the butter and shortening and pulse only till the butter and shortening are cut into the flour. Don’t overdo it; you want the mixture to be about the size of cottage cheese curds. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of water over the mixture, then pulses a few long times. You want a dough that will stick together when pinched, so use more water if you need to. Big pieces of butter are fine. Scrape the dough out of the work bowl and onto a work surface.
Divide the dough in half. Gather each half int a ball, flatten each ball into a disk and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before rolling (or up to 2 days).