Friday, July 9, 2010

First Berry Pie of the Summer

It's summer in northeastern Ohio. It feels like it. The sun is shimmering, the humidity is rising and the air is heavy with a breeze that could have come out of an oven. Some would say this is the time to get out of the house. Go out to eat. But for me, summer is just another reason to stay in.... in the kitchen, that is. I'm all for being outside. Bring on the picnics and the grilled everything, but I'll be bringing homemade pie with me. Any objections? I didn't think so.

Summer means fresh fruit pies for me, (along with grilled burgers, crunchy salads and ice cream) so I would like to share a recipe I tried for Razzle Dazzle Berry Pie from Bon Appetit. It calls for raspberries and blackberries, but I just used the black raspberries from the bushes in our back yard. The filling is simply berries, sugar, orange juice concentrate and some cornstarch to thicken. The end result was delicious-- like homemade jam delicious. It tastes like summertime and it looks like home to me. I use a pastry recipe with shortening; that's what my mom uses and how she taught me to make pie. I'd like to use butter in pastry because I love the taste, but this pie crust is so delicious and so reliable, I haven't experimented with any others....yet. I have plenty of recipes to try out and I want to share them all. Just thinking about all the possibilities excites me and I hope this blog will inspire you to create, to play with flavors and to discover all the many ways they can sing.

Pie Crust (9" double crust)
2 2/3 c. flour
1 t. salt
1 c. shortening
7-8 T. cold water

Combine flour and salt in medium mixing bowl. Cut in shortening until it is the size of peas. One tablespoon at a time, sprinkle in water, stirring lightly with a wooden spoon after each, until dough comes together. Pat into a ball and divide in half. Proceed with filling.

Razzle Dazzle Berry Pie from Bon Appetit, July 2006

1/2 c. plus 1 T. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. frozen orange juice concentrate
3 c. fresh/ frozen and thawed raspberries (12 oz.)
2 c. fresh/ frozen and thawed blackberries (8 oz.)
1 T. milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix 1/2 c. sugar and cornstarch in medium skillet. Add water and stir over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in orange juice concentrate. Add berries and stir to coat. Roll out one portion of pie dough to about 10-11" round. Roll dough around rolling pin and transfer to 9" pie plate. Pour berry filling in. Roll out rest of dough and cover filling in same manner. Trim edge of pastry, if needed and crimp decoratively. Cut in some vents for steam to escape and line crust with three strips of foil to prevent over-browning. Brush top of pie with milk, if desired. Place pie on lined baking sheet to catch any drips, then bake until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. (Maybe this baking time is for frozen berries? I don't think mine took this long. I made this before I knew I would be sharing it with the world, or I would have paid more attention to details like this. The pie should be done when the juices bubble and the crust is browned to your liking.) Remove foil strips for last 15 minutes of baking to brown edges. Cool pie on a rack at least 1 hour before serving with vanilla ice cream.

*Some of the directions for baking and assembling are my own additions. The original recipe calls for a butter crust, freezing it briefly and then cutting it into a lattice pattern. I prefer more crust on my pie, and it's much simpler to do.

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