Afterberry Pies

Recipe by Kitsuki, based on Tarte of Cherries by Judith Carr and Blueberry Port Sauce from Chef de Cuisine. Photo by Kitsuki.
What do you mean you visited Neblenvar and didn't get one of Kaydee's pies? It were harvest time, weren't it? And you were in the town for a full tenday, weren't you? Too busy?! Nobody is too busy for the afterberry pie. Nobody. Still, suppose you couldn't've known that until you've et it. You don't know what you've missed, man.
  The gnomes of Neblenvar aren't much for secrets. And even if they were, they would think it a shame to keep really anything about the Chocolate Wench from the larger population of the world. In fact, if you meet a gnome from anywhere near Neblenvar during harvest season, they might well begin the conversation with a question of whether or not you've yet had the pleasure of an afterberry pie from the kitchen of Kaydee Thistlewhip.  

A Harvest Tradition

The humble afterberry is a favorite of the gnomes. They serve it baked in breads, a syrup on biscuits and ices, a jam, a savory compote topping for certain meats, and - of course - in pies. I do believe that no pie in the world is as well known as the afterberry pie available for two short weeks at the Chocolate Wench, which establishment I have perhaps lauded too often in my writings.
— Gulshan's Guide for Wanderers
  Early in the harvest season, the children of Neblenvar are sent out each morning to search for henpip bushes with a load of ripened fruit. Older children often seek out clusters of bushes in harder-to-reach places during the summer, the location of which is a secret they keep close so that no one else can beat them to the harvest when the time comes. In households where no one makes any afterberry foods - a rarity - the children's overflowing baskets sell at premium prices. For everyone else, the brief window of preparation opens up fierce competition for the best berry recipes.   Kaydee took herself out of the running many years ago, after winning "too many" of the informal and mostly friendly competitions, and she actively promotes the concoctions of other locals.  
After all, I cheat a bit. We alchemists have ways, you know. Have you tried Hantovan's afterberry bread pudding yet? It's orgasmic! No, really. I came a little.
— Kaydee Thistlewhip
  Still, the community gathers at the Wench as soon as the first bushels of berries come in on weary young shoulders, ready for the famous small pies. Kaydee always gives first round of pies to any berry pickers present, and if they spare a cup or two for her when they bring in their harvests, they can get two. Her more cynical neighbors note that this is a very good way to keep from having to purchase many baskets, but most don't begrudge her that. Everyone else just calls it a fair trade.   Kaydee's husband Neddar described the scene of the first pies in the song "Blue Chins," which like the pies has become a harvest tradition. He's been heard to say that one of his favorite things is the sight of dozens of children frantically blowing on the bubbling confections, slipping them from one near-burned hand to the other, until they are just cool enough to bite into, and washing them down with spiced milk.

Want some?

  Kaydee doesn't give up her recipe to anyone. Even her husband claims not to know her secrets, so maybe she really does use alchemy. But if you want a mundane approximation, this recipe will get you close enough. Makes 6-9 tarts, depending on how deep you make them.   Ingredients
  • 2.5 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/3 cup Ruby Port
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp elderberry liqueur
  • pie crust of your choice
  • 1/4 cup honey (Kaydee prefers orange blossom or cotton honey for this, but whatever you have on hand will do)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  1. Cut small rounds from dough to fill the bottom of the muffin tin recesses.
  2. Mix honey and butter. Paint interior of mini pie crusts with this before baking empty crusts as per usual. (Remember to adjust time down for minis.)
  3. Use leftover honey butter for all your toasted bread ever.
  4. Combine blueberries, port, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in elderberry liqueur. Spoon into crusts. Probably don't dare each other to bite into them while they're still piping hot. You are not a gnomish adolescent... I assume.


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24 Oct, 2018 07:22

Mmm... Pie.. This is a real good one and I would like some pie now :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
24 Oct, 2018 16:18

Thanks! I had to make them to test the recipe, so there are still li'l blueberry pies in my fridge right now. It has just occurred to me that I also have some vanilla ice cream and how wondrous a tablespoon would be on warm tarts.   I clearly would have been better off inventing a vegetable dish.