It’s 11:00 a.m. in East Williamsburg, and Montrose Avenue smells like heaven. There are Dona Chai saffron doughnuts baking at Dun-Well, Kyoto-style ice coffees brewing at Brooklyn Ball Factory, and here, in an industrial studio lit only by natural light, Amy Berger has been up since six, rolling out dough for three dozen mini raspberry pies.
Berger, 42, is the self-made baker and owner of Luckybird, an appointment-only baking studio that has quickly become an editors’ favorite—count Eva Chen and Vogue’s Selby Drummond as fans—since it launched two years ago. This month marks her one-year anniversary in the Williamsburg space, which was a turning point. “Before that, I was baking out of my apartment,” she says, pushing a French rolling pin with open palms. “I even did a wedding out of my kitchen, which was insanity.”
Wiping her hands on an indigo recycled canvas apron, Berger shows me the results of her morning’s work: Two naked cakes—one lemon zest with vanilla bean whipped cream and fresh strawberries, the other dark chocolate with chocolate chip buttercream, topped with pale pink spray roses—those three dozen mini pies, and four large lattice and star-topped berry pies. “This is going to sound crazy,” she says, “but I make each one individually. Pies are sensitive! You have to be gentle, or else you lose control of the dough.”
Not likely to happen to Berger, a former fashion buyer turned baking perfectionist. Before launching Luckybird, she spent an entire year making batch after batch of brownies to polish her version (fudgy, not cakey, and packed with chocolate chunks). The same goes for her lemon zest cake—happily sampled at roughly three wedding tastings each week—and that perfect pie crust, which was meticulously tweaked from a Jacques Pépin recipe. Here, she thoughtfully shares that secret recipe and two berry fillings for a tasty tribute to the Fourth that you’ll find yourself craving year-round—trust us.
Luckybird’s Perfect Pie Crust
Makes one 9-inch pie, serves 6 to 8
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 T granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 sticks organic unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 cup and 2 T ice water
Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor, and pulse several times. Cut both sticks of butter into small cubes and add them to the processor, pulsing until the butter is mixed with the flour. Be careful not to overmix: chunks of butter should still be visible, and the dough should not yet look fully formed.
Add several tablespoons of ice water at a time, and continue to pulse. The dough will loosely come together, and should resemble small crumbs that stick together once pinched. Place the mixture on a piece of parchment paper and use the paper to help form a round ball, or simply form the dough with your bare hands. Peel the paper back and cut the ball in half. Then, using the palm of your hand, press each half into a round disc and wrap individually with plastic wrap. Leave in the refrigerator for at least three hours, or overnight for best results.
Preheat the oven to 415 degrees.
Flour your work surface and remove each disc from its wrapping. Lightly flour your rolling pin and roll out each disc into a 9-inch round. Press one round along the bottom and sides of your pie pan, then use the other to cut out stars or slice strips to form a lattice top. One disc should make 10–12 strips or eleven stars; eight more stars can be made if the remaining dough is formed, floured, and rolled out again. Place the pie dish back in the refrigerator to chill for 10–15 minutes, while you prepare the filling.
Luckybird’s Mixed Berry Pie Filling
2 1/2 pints fresh blackberries
1 1/2 pints fresh raspberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 and 1/2 T cornstarch
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 T lemon zest
Luckybird’s Blueberry Pie Filling
4 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 T and 1 tsp. cornstarch
Juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
Combine the flour and cornstarch in a small bowl and loosely mix with a fork or small whisk. Place the berries for your chosen filling in a large bowl, then add the mixed flour and cornstarch. Fully combine the ingredients with a wooden spoon or spatula, then gradually add the lemon zest and lemon juice while gently mixing.
Pour the filling into the chilled crust and place the stars or strips on top. Then, take a small bowl of ice water and lightly brush some along the visible crust and on the stars or strips to barely coat the dough with moisture. Sprinkle small pinches of the granulated sugar across the top.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the pie and cover with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, and remove when the crust turns golden brown and the berries begin to bubble. Let cool for 2–3 hours before serving.
The post The Perfect Pie Crust Recipe and Fourth of July–Ready Fillings appeared first on Vogue.
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