Mixed Berry Pie

Few things say “summer” like berry pies. My husband is a little obsessed with them. And I have yet to conquer them. I’ve made several attempts at different kinds of berry pies – his true pie fantasy involves blueberries and a double crust and vanilla bean ice cream…but I digress.

Flavor is no problem. Every attempt I’ve made has had fabulous flavor. It’s all about the texture. Berries are juicy and my challenge seems to be getting the filling to firm up without turning into that gelatinous-out-of-a-can kind of thing. I’ve tried cooking the berries down first. I’ve added tapioca. Cornstarch. Flour. Some worked better than others, but I’m still seeking the perfect ratio.

Here’s my latest attempt:

Pie filling in progress

Blueberries and raspberries with tapioca and lemon zest.

It was delicious, but still runnier than I would like.  (Even after it is completely cooled…I baked it a full day before it was served at a family reunion, so it was well-cooled. Still just a tad too runny.)

The top crust was a new design, too. I thought it was a pretty way to vent the top and a little different. Any guesses as to how to get those neat little holes in there? (make guesses in the comments below…)

With Father’s Day approaching, I see a blueberry pie attempt in my future. And I have a new recipe to try. One the author claims is “fool-proof.” Ha. We’ll just see about that! There are more berry pies to come…for now, here’s this one:

Blueberry and Raspberry Pie

adapted from Martha Stewart

Two layer crust*

all-purpose flour for dusting

1 large egg

1 TB milk

2 cups fresh raspberries

2 pints fresh blueberries

1/4 cup instant tapioca (I will increase this next time.)

Grated zest and juice from 1 lemon

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sanding

*You can certainly use refrigerated pie crust here, I won’t tell!  But if you want to up the “scratch factor” of this pie, I recommend a Pâte Brisée: place 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon sugar in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add 1 cup chilled, unsalted butter (2 sticks) cut into small pieces, one piece at a time until the mixture resembles coarse meal. With machine running, add anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup ICE water a few tablespoons at a time – just until the dough holds together – no more than 30 seconds. Divide the dough in half, flatten into disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least an hour or overnight. Makes a double crust for 9-inch pie.

Roll out one disk of dough into an 1/8-inch round and drape over your pie plate. Chill for about 30 minutes.

Whisk together egg and milk in a small bowl and set egg wash aside. In a medium bowl toss together raspberries, blueberries, tapioca, lemon zest and juice and sugar. Mix/toss gently and transfer to chilled pie dough.

Preheat oven to 425°. Roll out remaining disk of dough. (insert decorative accent here, if desired.) Brush rim of chilled dough with egg wash, place other round on top and trim to 1/2 overhang. Crimp edges as desired and chill until firm (about 20 minutes in freezer or 40 in refrigerator.)

Cut a few slits in the top of dough (if no decorative holes were made). Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and continue baking until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling (about 40 minutes.) Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

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14 thoughts on “Mixed Berry Pie

  1. Christy Nielson

    I’m stumped, but dying to know the answer! Look forward to someone smarter than me solving the mystery.

  2. Selena Shelley

    Hole puncher??

    No, it’s probably some fancy PC tool that none of us but you would own!! 😛

    The pie looks great though. Boulder is really nice this time of year!! 😉

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Well, I have to say that a ton of Pampered Chef tools were used in the making of this pie…but not to punch the holes. And I would love to come to Boulder…maybe in August when I’ll be wanting to escape here for sure.

  3. Carolyn

    Based on an extensive examination of what I have in my kitchen, I’m gonna guess chopsticks. (Yeah, my take-out menu file is pretty thick…;)) Bigger secret-how do you keep the berry’s so fresh? I know I’m the kiss of death in the kitchen, but my farmers market berries don’t look that good the next day!

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Ooooh – chopsticks – also a good idea.
      As for berries – just a couple of things: I always try to remove any berries that are squished or overripe right away, because moisture is bad when storing berries. Also refrigerate them immediately – not good to let them sit out or in your car for any length of time. Don’t rinse them until right before you use them – again, the moisture thing. And generally, I try to use/eat or freeze berries within 1-3 days of purchase (except strawberries which can last a little bit longer.)
      (Thanks for the comment…it’s fun to “see” you here!)

  4. Shawna

    Hello, Jen! I have had this same issue with berry pies. I can’t stand the gooey cornstarch filling in lots of berry pies, but I’ve tried pies without cooking the berries first and that runny mess isn’t very tasty or attractive either. Ha.

    Last summer I made this Berry-Peach Cobbler from Cooking Light twice, and it received rave reviews from everyone. We even ate it for breakfast! Here’s the link:

    http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=printerFriendly&recipe_id=1906395

    It does have cornstarch in the filling, but it does not make the filling rubbery, just a little thicker. And you don’t have to cook the filling before you cook the cobbler. I made it the first time with blue and blackberries, but the second time I just used blueberries with the peaches. Both were delicious.

    I have Martha’s pies and tarts book, and have made a few of her pies, but these days I am usually looking for delicious and FAST. Ha. This cobbler is both.

    Can’t wait to hear how you made all those little polka dots for you pie. Very cute.

    Hugs, sm

  5. gatheraroundthetable

    A straw – that’s how I made the holes.

    Although I’m sure the pencil would work, too. The nice thing about the straw was that the little dough circles could just keep collecting up in the straw, there was plenty of room.

  6. leslie

    BEING A GRANDMA AND MOM A LONG TIME AGO – DOUGH ART ORNAMENTS WERE POKED WITH A LARGE STRAW FOR HANGING. THE STRAW SUCKS UP THE DOUGH INSTEAD OF SMASHING IT – CLEVER HUH?? IT TAKES AGE GIRLS AND GUYS!!!

    1. gatheraroundthetable

      Yes! That was a nice thing about the straw – the dough just went right up inside – so neat. And dough ornaments sounds like a really fun project…might have to add that to future Christmas plans!

  7. Pingback: Birthday Pie…of the blueberry variety « Gather Around The Table

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