Blueberry Ginger Pies With Walnut Crumb – And Some News!!

So I’ve been on quite the little (HUGE) journey over the past few years. A lot of you know my story… some of you don’t. Here are the highlights…

I studied music in college and then moved into full time creative arts ministry at a church here in my hometown. I served in that role for 13 years and loved almost every second. There were some really crazy seconds that I did not so much love, but such is life, right?

Then I went through a divorce. We aren’t going to talk about that here, though. At least not now…

In the midst of that, as many divorced people can probably attest, I just needed a big ole life change. I was tired and I was uninspired. So, I started teaching piano again and then started this little NoshRoom labor of love. This blog and the subsequent home-based food business that just kind of happened has breathed life back into me in so many ways.

In the last year, I have been in on again/off again talks with the owner of my absolute favorite restaurant in historic downtown Wilmington. 9 Bakery and Lounge is my GO-TO place for amazing food, drinks,  desserts and perfect atmosphere.

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A couple of weeks ago, I accepted a position at 9 as their Bakery and Catering/Events Director! I am honored and so blessed to be a part of such an incredible team. I walked into a kitchen with some very talented and creative people and it has already been so much fun learning from each other and dreaming about what the bakery could become. I’m pretty sure this is going to be a fun ride. So, if you live in Wilmington, come out and see us!

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This is me… obviously. I’m standing in the Phoenix Room, an amazing little event space upstairs at the restaurant. I’m in love with the huge windows and natural light…the old floors and local art on the walls. I’ll be doing all of the catering and events in this space in addition to the fun I’m going to have in the bakery. If you’re looking for a space to host an event… now you know where to go.

Anyway… on to these perfect little Blueberry Ginger Pies…

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These are on the new dessert menu launching TODAY at the restaurant. (along with a GF lemon cheesecake with blackberry compote, vanilla bean crem brulee with lavender whipped cream and a peanut butter chocolate tart)

You can adjust this recipe and make one big pie if you like. But these individual-sized pies are just so darn cute! Also, feel free to use a store bought crust. I won’t tell anyone…

First, make your crust. This crust recipe is from Duff… one of the geniuses that works in the bakery!  In a bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour and 1 tsp. kosher salt. Dice 4 ounces of VERY COLD butter and add to the flour along with 3 1/4 ounces of shortening.

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Use your hands and quickly rub the butter and shortening in the flour to combine until it looks like very course cornmeal. It’s perfect if there are little chunks of butter still hanging around. Let them be what they want to be…

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Now add 1/2 cup VERY COLD water. It’s best to add half and then more if you need it. Using your hands again, mix the water into the flour and butter just until everything comes together.

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Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat into a thin disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and put into the fridge until your ready for it. The dough needs to chill before you roll it out.

Now let’s make the walnut crumble!

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Into a bowl, dump 3/4 cups coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (or nut of your choice), 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or AP if you don’t have it), 4 tablespoons melted butter and a pinch of kosher salt. Mix it up and then put it in the fridge to play with the dough while you make the filling.

So far, so good right?

For the filling, you can use either frozen or fresh blueberries. Or a combination of the two. The point is, you need blueberries, let’s not get technical!

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Aren’t they beautiful? I just love them.

Simmer 3 cups blueberries and 1/2 cup maple syrup in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium low heat until the mixture has reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Stir it around every once in a while.

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When it has finished reducing, remove the pan from the heat. Add an additional 4 cups of blueberries, 1/2 cup maple syrup, 3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca (as a thickener!), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp kosher salt and about 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger. Give it a good stir and then cool the mixture completely.

Take out your pie dough and get to rolling!

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First, spray your tart pans with non-stick spray and flour your board.

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On a floured counter, roll the dough out and then cut into rounds slightly larger than your tart pans.

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Place the dough rounds into the tart pans and gently press to form the dough into all the flutes. I like to par-bake the dough a bit – weigh the dough down with some rice in a coffee filter and bake on 325 for about 8-10 minutes.

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Remove the pie crusts from the oven and brush with a little buttermilk. The protein in the buttermilk creates a little barrier so that the crust doesn’t become soggy from the filling.

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Now just fill the shells with that perfect blueberry filling. Leave some room for the crumble!

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Cover the filling with the chilled walnut crumble and then bake on a parchment lined baking sheet on 400 for about 30 minutes.

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These really are so good! Not overly sweet – with a nice blend of ginger and citrus to balance the blueberries. I just love them so much!

If you don’t want to destroy your kitchen with these today, feel free to come on out and have one at the restaurant! These are on the menu all week.

I promise I will add a PDF version of the recipe later today… I’m currently sitting  at the bar at the restaurant frantically trying to finish this so I can run back upstairs to my kitchen and finish a catering order. Thanks for being patient! I hope to see you all downtown a LOT!

Oh – and by the way… my cookies (yes, those cookies) are now going to be available everyday at the restaurant along with freshly baked breads and specialty donuts! Yep… I’ll see you soon.