I like cream in my pie, not on my pie. So I was like a moth to light when I read Tamasin Day-Lewis’s Sugar-Topped Raspberry Plate Tart recipe, which starts as a pure-bred fruit pie for its first baking. Then comes the fun part: you take the pie out of the oven as its burbling with warm raspberry juices, and pour a custard through a funnel beneath the crust, like you’re flooding a mine. Then you send it into the oven for one last lashing of heat. The custard doesn't behave exactly as planned. Most of it floods the mine, while the rest floods the crust plain. It all gets a little swampy, in a good way.
I started with Day-Lewis's recipe but ended up somewhere else. I didn't bother with her crust, which I'm sure would have been fine, but it called for weights and I was miles from a scale. I turned to the crostata crust in Cucina Simpatica, but couldn't resist fussing. Taking a nod from Merrill's mom's recipe for Secret Cookies, I used salted butter. In place of the regular sugar, I opted for turbinado, and I increased the flour to make the dough slightly more cooperative.
In Italy, there are cookies called brutti ma buoni -- ugly but good. This pie is their sweet cousin. —Amanda Hesser
For the pie crust
2 1/4 cups
unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
sticks salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
plus 1 tablespoon ice water, plus more if needed
For the filling
vanilla sugar (or sugar blended with either the seeds of half a vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
Place the sugar in the bowl of a food processor and puree until the sugar granules are fine. Add the flour, and pulse the mixture to blend.
Add the cubed butter, and pulse until the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. With the motor running, add the ice water through the feed tube, and stop the machine as soon as a mass begins forming. If you pinch a small piece of dough and it holds together, this means it’s ready.
Lay out two large squares of plastic wrap and divide the dough among them, making one lump slightly larger than the other. Use the plastic wrap to help you shape each mass into a disk, then wrap it up and chill for at least 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured board (or between layers of lightly floured plastic wrap), roll out the larger disk of dough to a circle 1/8-inch thick, about 12 inches in diameter. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough. Chill the lined pie dough, while you roll out the other disk to a circle 1/8-inch thick.
In a mixing bowl, fold together the raspberries, vanilla sugar, and flour. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy.
Fill the lined pie plate with the raspberry mixture. Top with the second layer of dough. Trim the edges with scissors so there’s ¾-inch dough hanging from the edge of the pie plate. Roll this under to meet the edge of the plate and pat it down lightly to seal and flatten the edge. Brush the top of the pie with the egg white and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Cut a cross in the center of the pie and 4 vents around the rest of the pie.
Bake the pie for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the cream and egg yolk in a measuring cup with a spout and leave out at room temperature. After 40 minutes, the pie top should be golden and there should be raspberry juices bubbling from the vents. Remove the pie from the oven.
Press a funnel with a narrow tip into the center pie vent and slowly begin pouring in the cream mixture. Pour the cream into each of the pie vents. Some of the cream will sneak under the crust and some will pool on top. Don’t worry about how it looks, but go slowly so you don’t completely drown the crust.
Set the pie back in the oven and bake until the cream just sets but is still a little wiggly in the center, about 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let the pie cool off before serving -- or it will be more soupy than swampy!
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.