Monday, August 27, 2012

Recipe: White House Huckleberry Pie

Crustmaster Bill Yosses uses two pounds of berries, a hint of vanilla and artisanal honey to create a special Presidential pie...
The White House has issued a new recipe for a double-crust Huckleberry Pie, created by Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses.  Pie is President Barack Obama's favorite dessert, according to aides.  (Above: The Eater in Chief shares his pie with during a campaign stop in Ohio)

 Nicknamed "the Crustmaster" by the President, Yosses' fruit pies have been a part of all of the First Family's White House celebrations since 2009, from holidays through birthdays.  Pie has also been served as dessert at State Dinners.

"It is a well-known fact that President Obama loves pie, and in the pastry kitchen we rack our brains trying to create new combinations," Yosses wrote in First Lady Michelle Obama's book American Grown, which includes his recipe for Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble Pie.

Chef Yosses
Yosses' Huckleberry Pie recipe includes blueberries, and it is flavored with lemon, cinnamon, and vanilla. It has been served at every Presidential Thanksgiving celebration, according to the White House, where there are typically six pies as part of the dessert tableau. 

Huckleberries are typically grown in the wild, and are not currently being cultivated in Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn, where, Yosses has said, the chefs do battle with birds for the blueberries and strawberries that are grown.  So Yosses suggests that using frozen huckleberries is fine for his recipe.

In homage to the first-ever Bee Hive on the South Lawn, Yosses' filling uses both honey and sugar as the sweetener, and he specifies "artisanal honey, preferably local."  The dough must be refrigerated for at least one hour after preparation, with overnight refrigeration an option, too. The fruit mixture must stand for 20 minutes after being prepared. 

Yosses suggests letting the pie cool after baking for one to two hours before serving.

The Huckleberry Pie on a White House dessert buffet
White House Huckleberry Pie


For The Crust

3 Cups All-Purpose Flour

1/2 Tsp. Salt

10 Ounces Unsalted Butter (2 1/2 sticks) cut into 1/4 inch pieces

6 to 7 Tbs. Ice Water

1 Egg and 1 Tsp. Salt for egg wash on the pie crust

For The Filling
1 Pound Blueberries, washed

1 Pound Huckleberries (frozen is OK)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Artisanal honey, preferably local

1/3 Cup Cornstarch

1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/4 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

Zest and juice of 1 Lemon


For The Crust

1.  In a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms chickpea-size pieces, (3 to 5 second pulses). Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time and pulse until mixture is just moist enough to hold together.

2.  Divide the dough into two equal amounts and form dough into balls. Then press down into a circle, wrap the circles with plastic, refrigerate at least one hour before rolling out and lining the pie pan.

3.  To prepare the pie shell, roll out the chilled circles on a lightly floured flat surface to about a 14-inch diameter. With one of the circles line a greased pie pan, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Chill the dough in the pie pan for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

4.  Roll the other disk of dough and refrigerate it until needed for the pie top.

5.  Prepare the filling recipe below and fill the pie shell with it.

For The Filling

1.   In a large bowl, lightly toss together the fruit, sugar sifted with the cornstarch, honey, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, lemon juice and zest.

2.  Allow this fruit mixture to stand for 20 minutes.

3.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4.  Fill the pie shell with the fruit filling.

5.  Remove the second circle of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator and lay it over the filling, press gently to mold the top and bottom pieces of dough together.

6.  With the tip of a paring knife, puncture the top pie dough in a wide circle about 10 times to form steam vents.

7.  With a pastry brush, paint the top dough with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

8.  Bake the pie at 375 degrees for 75-90 minutes or until the pie filling is starting to bubble out the vents and the top pie crust is golden brown.

9.  Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 1-2 hours before serving.

Photo above: The Huckleberry Pie served at one of the President and Mrs. Obama's 2011 White House holiday receptions

More White House pie recipes:
CLICK HERE for White House Apple Pie, CLICK HERE for White House Key Lime Pie. A savory pie: CLICK HERE for the recipe for White House Spinach Pie from Executive Chef Cris Comerford.

Check the blog sidebar for all White House recipes.


*Top photo by Pete Souza/White House, taken during a lunch stop at Kozy Corners restaurant in Oak Harbor, Ohio, July 5, 2012.
Other photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama