I made a Blueberry Lychee pie for Thanksgiving!
TL;DR - Recipe
I don't cook nor bake and have never made pie before, but this turned out really well! Try it yourself! Here's the recipe I hacked together from other a variety of resources:
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- 1.5-2 cans of lychees (Drain them, but keep the juice! Then cut them up in to smaller pieces.)
- 2 cup blueberries (mine were pretty large and tart)
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tablespoons cinnamon
Mix these altogether. Then transfer them into a pot with:
- 1/3 cup lychee juice from can
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
Stir everything over Medium heat until it gets pretty thick. I mashed the blueberries a couple times in the pot to make sure they're soft, and to make them ooze purple!
CRUMBLE TOPPING (optional)
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 stick butter (chopped up, cold)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Frozen supermarket pie crust for 9" pie will do.
Bake for 40-45mins, at 375 degrees F.
Long-winded back story
My mom and I have never really done a traditional American Thanksgiving style dinner. She also generally prefers Asian flavors so we have been fortunate to have Chinese restaurants be open on this holiday for us to cover our dining table with. The last several years, we have been using this holiday as an opportunity to try and make something new, often ambitious.
Last year I tried making oat-milk coffee ice cream. It came out like a sorbet, but was not-bad!
This year as I was thinking about what to bring home for dinner, I randomly wondered, how come I never hear about anyone making Lychee pie? Asians love lychee! And there are so many delicious Asian-fusiony restaurants and cafes and dessert shoppes around the Bay Area. How come I haven't come across any Lychee pie?? Are pies just too Western a style of food to stray from in flavor? Or Is it because there's something about the lychee fruit that makes it hard to bake? No idea. I don't know how baking fruit, or baking in general works. And I actually don't have a lot of experience eating pie. Never had it growing up, never baked it myself.
So that was about to change this Thanksgiving. (with a store-bought backup pie in tow)
I looked around the Internet for "lychee pie recipes"; I'm sure someone else in the world has wondered this. I only found 2 recipes, and both were "vague" free flowing recipes. Good 'nuff! Thank you justineh for giving me the idea to mix blueberries, that indeed sounded like a good complement in flavors. And thank you alana for giving me the idea to make a kind-of crumble!
Using both those recipes as starters, as well as some research from other food websites about blueberry pies or lychee tarts, I hacked together the recipe above.
Here's how things looked along the way.
Re: Crumble Topping
I saw a picture of the oats on one of the websites and I was like, YES, I love oats and I want that too! Apparently that's what"crumbles" are made of.
FYI the above recipe will yield way too much topping. Also, a few sites have insisted that the butter for the crumble should NOT be melted and needs to be cold when going into oven. So there.
Dough/Crust No way, I did not make my own dough! That requires too many fancy devices and minimalist me doesn't have room in my kitchen for things I'm only going to use once! And dough seems too easy to mess up especially for a n00b like me!
So I bought some frozen crusts from the supermarket. They usually come with rolled 2 sheets. One for the bottom, to line the pan; one to cover the top. You just have to defrost and unroll when ready to use.
By the time I got around to my dough, it started cracking a little, so I had to use parts of the top to patch it up. So unsightly! And I wasn't sure if the bottom lining dough was supposed to pour over the edge? Shrug. Here's the mess I made.
Now pour the filling in!
Since I already use some of the top dough, I figure I could use the rest to make the cool criss-cross pattern I see on other pies. Then I'd fill the spaces in between with the crumble. Yeah I don't know what I'm doing.
The Baking Part
The oven was pre-heated to 375F.
I wasn't sure how long to put it in for. I had read anywhere between 20-25mins at 350F, to 45mins at 425F. I chose a middle ground, and started with 375F, for 25mins.
At 25mins, this is what I got:
Some of the dough seemed to white. The crumble still looked like sugar granules, and tasted powdery. I think it was too early.
I realized my starter recipes had made smaller pies, so their oven times were shorter (is that how it works?). So I decided to put the pie back in for another 20mins.
After a total of 45 minutes in the oven, my pie came out looking legit!
And it actually tasted great!
Lychee generally has a strong floral flavor, and especially from a can, it's very sweet. The tartness of the blueberries balanced out the sweetness. No need to add any sugar to the filling!
Glad to say this was a success! maybe I'll bake another pie again one day!