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Berry Blossom Pie

Berry Blossom Pie {take 2: Mochiko...madness?}

You want pies with that… spoonful of nostalgia?!

This month’s YWPWT theme – VACATION PIE – was chosen by Jenn of Piccante Dolce, and our mission was to bake up a sweet (or savoury!) treat inspired by vacations we’ve taken or hope to take.  Initially, I was at a loss as to where to even start with this one because there are loads of places I hope plan to visit someday…But it also got me thinking about the brilliant holidays I’ve been lucky enough to take already, and suprisingly – out of all the more exotic vacations (Reunion, Peru, Thailand..) – I kept coming back to..{drumroll here}….. family trips to the lake every summer.

I lived in Tokyo for 7 years as a child, and each summer we fled the hot, sticky city for a few weeks of rustic cabin-dwelling and lakeside lounging.  So my entry is an ode to those vacations:

..to the  tortuously boring 5-hour car journey from Tokyo, the lack of tv (!), the smell of musty sheets on a rickety bunk-bed, the injustice of having to share a room with my younger brother, and the sickening stench of outhouse drop-toilets… unforgettable.

But I’ll also never shake the memory of trekking up windy mountain paths to the tiny local store (the only store), just to collect the best blueberry pies I’ve ever known.  “Blueberry pie??! In Japan??!” you cry.. yeah, it seems odd. to me anyway.. I’ve always associated blueberries with New England (although they’re grown in virtually every US state apparently), so when the YWPWT challenge sent me on this trip down memory lane I googled & learned:

“The Nojiriko area has numerous roadside stalls and farmers’ markets where you can buy great local produce for a quarter of the price you would pay in Tokyo. The tomatoes and peaches are renowned and the region grows blueberries, apples, pears, corn, edamame and dozens of other fruits and vegetables, as well as all sorts of local specialities such as Scotch thistle preserve, walnut jam and aloe vera honey.”  [from this site]

Who woulda thunk it. (Not the bit about the insane prices in Tokyo..that I remember clearly).  So my entry to this month’s YWPWT challenge is a blueberry pie inspired by the ones I stuffed my face with each summer up in Lake Nojiri.  I tried to add some Japanese elements using cherry blossom cutouts, but the first version I made was VERY juicy and unfortunately the juice seeped out of the cuts, completely obscuring the blossom shapes. doh. (Apologies for the crappy pic – it’s mine..)

Berry Blossom Pie - take 1

Berry Blossom Pie - take 1 {the runs}

So I made another pie (some call this as madness, I call it ‘seconds’).  This time I decided to live on the edge and embrace the Japanese theme more fully by substituting Mochiko for the cornstarch. I’ve posted about Mochiko before, but just in case you don’t know: it’s a glutinous sweet rice flour used in Japan for making mochi..and as far as I know (not far), it’s not traditionally used as a thickener in pies.. (er, pies aren’t really ‘traditional’ Japanese desserts  anyway I suppose).

you say wonky, I say rustic..?

Berry Blossom Pie - take 2 {you say wonky, I say rustic..?}

So the Mochiko experiment has just come out of the oven and I have no idea whether it’ll work taste-wise.. but I’m going to take a risk and offer this one as my YWPWT entry.  The first pie hasn’t been sampled yet either, so I’m planning to bring both over to a friend’s house tomorrow evening for a blind taste-testing and I’ll post the verdict + recipes once judgement is passed.

Big thanks to Jenn for picking such a fun theme! Please check out the YWPWT blogroll to see what she and the other creative tartelettes came up with this month Xx


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