This week's Sweet Melissa Sundays was hosted by Gloria of The Ginger Snap Girl: plum raspberry pie with sweet almond lattice. We're nearing the end of Sweet Melissa Sundays (only 3 more recipes left I think!) and while I haven't been able to participate as much as I'd like in the past few months, there was no way I was skipping this pie. Fruit pies are a major weakness for me, and frankly, my pie skills are lacking so I need all the practice I can get!
There are 3 components to this pie, so I definitely recommend splitting the process up over 2 days to make things easier on yourself. I waited until the last minute (of course) and spent the better part of my Saturday in the kitchen working on it. Aside from the fruit filling, there are 2 separate dough recipes to be made - the bottom crust calls for a standard flaky pie dough, while the lattice on top is made with a sweet almond dough. One of the components for the sweet almond dough was almond paste, which I've never purchased or worked with before. I have seen it in the store, however, and I knew it was pretty expensive (relatively speaking) so I decided to make a homemade version instead. I'm including that recipe below - it calls for just a few ingredients, and comes together in your food processor in about 5 minutes. Though I have no basis for comparison, I thought it was tasty. And now I have a whole bunch of almond paste in my refrigerator so I need to start looking for other recipes to use it!
Back to the pie - the only thing I found tricky about the recipe was working with the almond dough to make the lattice top. The strips of dough are extremely fragile and even well chilled, I found that mine were breaking left and right. I moved the strips and the half-assembled pie in and out of the fridge 3 or 4 times but still struggled. All of that breakage meant I had lots of samples to nibble on, and they were really delicious, so I pressed on despite the frustration. I pieced together the strips that broke the best I could, and thought it was looking pretty good before I popped it in the oven. My poor lattice didn't fare well in the oven though - the cracks and breaks were exposed as the lattice baked and the finished result was definitely on the messy side. This was my first attempt at a lattice pie and though it didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped, I am smitten with the look of a lattice and am already trying to figure out which recipe I can try next. I don't know if I can ever go back to a regular double-crusted pie now :)
I baked my pie for about 15 minutes less than the recipe instructed because the juices were boiling up and out of the pie like crazy. When I cut it though, it wasn't quite as set up as I'd have liked so next time I wouldn't pull it out of the oven early. Despite the issues I had, I really enjoyed this pie. The filling is a gorgeous ruby red-pinkish color and just a bit tart, which was a nice compliment to the buttery pie dough and sweet almond lattice. I'm itching to make all kinds of fruit pies now, especially while there's so much gorgeous in-season fruit to choose from at the store and farmer's markets.
Many thanks to Gloria for hosting! She shared the recipe for the pie on her blog today if you want to give it a try.
Homemade Almond Paste
from Of Cabbages and King Cakes
1 1/2 cups blanched almonds
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 egg white
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground. Add the confectioners’ sugar, egg white, almond extract and salt and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice.
Transfer the almond paste to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for up to 3 months.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups