If, hypothetically speaking, I ever wanted to leave New York City for good, I know exactly where I would go. I’d pack my life into a moving truck, drive ten hours north, hop a ferry, and set up camp on Swans Island, Maine. There would be an initial shock, leaving a city of 8 million people and taking residence in a town of 300, but I’m sure I’d adjust quickly.
As I doubt I have any talent for lobstering (the primary profession among citizens of Swans Island), I think I’d build a little pie shop next door to the general store and live out my days wearing cute aprons, rolling dough, and serving warm slices of local berry pie a la mode. Oh yes, that’s the dream. Or at least it is today.
I’m currently vacationing on Swans Island with my dear friends VJ, Shira, and Liz. As there are two Lizzes here, I have been dubbed Betsy for the purposes of this trip. There’s not much to do here–there’s one store, no restaurants, no TV. Wi-Fi is available only from the porch of the public library and the vestibule in the post office. We’re completely out of our normal routines, instead filling our days with reading, relaxing, building fires, and making meals together. It’s absolutely glorious, and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we are not terribly thrilled that we’ll have to drive back to Brooklyn on Saturday.
Liz and I have spent several hours walking down the side of the main road foraging for berries. When I was here last year, I found tons and tons of wild blackberries, but they’re not quite ripe yet. Instead, we’ve done some light trespassing in the name of blueberries and worried about ticks while picking raspberries in a ditch. We have not been arrested or had any ticks, thank goodness, but we have managed to collect just enough berries for pie.
When Liz and I met a year ago, we bonded over our mutual love of pie. She is a filling person, while I prefer the crust–a perfect balance, if you ask me. We have made at least fifteen pies since, including one November evening where we baked three apple pies before virtually passing out during the final game of the World Series. Every single one has been an enjoyable (and delicious) collaboration, but I think the Blue-Razz Pie we made today is my very favorite.
And how couldn’t it be? We worked as a team, scouring every bit of woods up and down North Road in an effort to make this happen. On our first visit to the WiFi porch at the public library, we each rushed through checking our email and social media so that we could squat in a ditch and pick blueberries. Yesterday, we took a six hour sojourn to the mainland for provisions and even though we were exhausted when we got back to the island, we put on long pants and went out to gather raspberries near the Back Cove. Our foraging was cut short by rain, but when we got home, Liz cut together a batch of Cream Cheese Pie Dough and we planned to get up the next morning and make pie first thing.
She stirred together the filling while I rolled and cut dough. We cut out hearts with an ancient cookie cutter we found in the back of a cabinet full of mismatched pots and pans. Everything got a brush of egg wash and a sprinkling of sugar before being popped into the oven. And forty-five minutes later, we pulled out the most beautifully browned pie, full of bits of wild raspberries and blueberries and smelling like magic.
There’s something really amazing about biting into something you made with someone you adore. This pie captures what I love about my friendship with Liz: the teamwork, the creativity, and the sweetness. I can’t wait to make another one.
1 recipe Cream Cheese Pie Dough
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon water
On a floured surface, roll out one disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter and fit it in the pan. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch of overhang. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
In a large mixing bowl, combine blueberries, raspberries, 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and lime. Fold with a wooden spoon until everything is evenly coated. Transfer filling to prepared crust. Refrigerate.
On a floured surface, roll out the other disc of pie dough to a 12-inch diameter. You may use a cookie cutter to cut shapes in the dough before laying it over the top of the filling. If you want a full top crust, lay the rolled-out dough on top of the filling and cut a few vents. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch of overhang, and crimp the top and bottom crust edges together. Refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Make the egg wash. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together egg and water. Use a pastry brush to brush the entire exposed crust with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45-55 minutes, tenting with foil at the 20 minute mark.
Let pie cool completely on a rack. Slice and serve with ice cream, if desired.
Pie will keep covered in the refrigerator for up to five days.