Buttermilk Biscuit Pie Crust (adapted from Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook)
Makes one 9” standard crust (for a 7" springform, prepare one and one half times the recipe)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon lemon or orange zest
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into ½” pieces
1 cup cold buttermilk, (I use whole buttermilk from Five Acre Farms)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and zest. Using a bench scraper or two knives, cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Gradually stir in the buttermilk, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The dough will be sticky; place some additional flour in a bowl nearby to help you roll it out.
Turn the dough out on a floured sheet of parchment paper. Pat the dough together and fold it over itself several times. (Add a little extra flour as needed.) Shape the dough into a disc. Lightly flour a rolling pin, dust the dough with flour, and roll the dough into a circle about 10” in diameter and 3/4 ” thick. Ease the dough into the pie plate, trim the overhang to 1” and fold and crimp the edges. Use a fork to prick the bottom of the piecrust, then place the pie plate in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 425 DEGREES F.
Use a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil to line the chilled shell and fill with beans or pie weights. Place the pie shell on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully remove the parchment (or foil) and pie weights. Prick the pie crust all over with a fork. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake the pie shell for an additional 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Cool on a rack completely before filling. (If not using right away, cover the cooled pie shell tightly with plastic wrap.)
(* if using a 7” springform pan, it’s best to prepare one and one half times the recipe; this will give you extra for mini shortcakes. Roll the dough into a circle about 11” in diameter and 3/4 ” thick. It’s easier to dust the circle of dough with flour, fold it in half, dust with flour, then in quarters, little more flour, then set the dough in the center of the springform pan and unfold it. Press the dough along the bottom of the pan and ease it up the sides, forming an edge. Trim any excess- you can use the scraps to cut out a few biscuits to garnish the pie. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust all over with a fork. Place the springform pan in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. When ready to bake, retrieve the pan from the freezer and line the pan with parchment or aluminum foil as mentioned above. The deep-dish pie shell will take longer to bake than the traditional 9” pie; about 25 minutes at 425 degrees F. with the parchment/foil and beans, then remove the parchment/foil and beans, and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, baking for an additional 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack completely before filling. Any mini biscuits from dough scraps can be baked on a parchment lined baking sheet, at 425 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes, depending on their size.)
For jam filling-
12 oz. fresh strawberries, lightly rinsed, dried on paper towels, stems removed, cut in quarters
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon orange zest
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ cup cold water
2 tablespoons good quality strawberry jam (I love Sarabeth’s)
Place the strawberries in a bowl. Use a potato masher or a fork to mash the berries; add the orange juice, sugar, zest, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the berry mixture and use a rubber spatula to combine. Scrape the mixture into a heavy bottomed saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the mixture no longer has a starchy taste. Remove from the heat, stir in the strawberry jam and let cool completely before transferring to a container; cover and refrigerate. The mixture needs several hours in the fridge, preferably overnight, to thicken.
For the berries and cream-
16 oz. fresh strawberries, rinsed, dried, stemmed (12 oz. should be cut in half, the remainder left whole to garnish)
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup mascarpone
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Prepare the cream-
In the bowl of a standing mixer, or using a handheld mixer, combine the heavy cream with the mascarpone until smooth. Beat until thick, gradually adding the confectioners’ sugar. (Do not overbeat or it will become grainy.) Add the vanilla. Cover and refrigerate.
When ready to assemble the pie, remove the jam filling from the refrigerator. Transfer to a bowl and give it a good stir. Add the halved strawberries to the jam filling and gently combine. Spoon that into the pre-baked pie shell. Smooth the top of the pie with an offset spatula. Garnish the pie with the remaining berries and the mascarpone cream. If you made mini biscuits, split them and fill with a dollop of cream and berries. Cover the pie lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or so to set. (If using the springform pan, carefully remove the outer ring, then place the pie on a serving platter.) Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. The berries will continue to give off some of their juice- the pie is best eaten within two days. (We seldom have to worry about leftovers.)