Remember that old phrase “easy as pie”??
They must have been talking about eating pies, not making them! But it’s a skill you can master in a few simple steps.
Here are some recipes and suggestions that will enable you to master the art and turn out crowd-wowing pies using any combination of berries or fruit you have at hand. For this example, we are combining red raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, but you can change up the combination or use all of one fruit as desired. You can streamline this process even more by using prepared pie crusts, but just think how proud you will be when you have mastered the art of baking from scratch.
Important Timing Notes: While pies can take less than a half-hour for a confident, organized baker to assemble, they take another hour or so to cook, and then about an hour to cool before serving (unless you don’t mind a runny mess.) In addition, the dough for the pie crust needs to “chill out” in the refrigerator for at least one hour (or overnight) before it can be rolled out. The overnight preparation often seems to work best. Many practiced pie pros will prepare dough and wrap and freeze it, so it’s ready to roll out when inspiration strikes.
Here’s a tried and tested routine, assuming you have some prepared pie dough either in the fridge or freezer:
If you want to serve your pie right after dinner, plan to assemble it before you start your dinner, and let it bake while you are preparing the rest of the meal, then pull it from the oven so it can cool while you are eating dinner. Be sure to remind everyone to save room for your masterful creation!
Double Pie Crust Ingredients
- 2 1/2 C flour (all purpose or preferred substitute)
- 1/2 t salt
- 2/3 C cold, unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/3 C shortening
- 6-10 T ice water
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter and shortening until the mixture is crumbly and the chunks of butter and shortening are about the size of peas, using a pastry blender or two knives. Gradually add ice water a tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until the dough holds together when pressed. Divide the dough in two parts with one being a little bigger than the other (approximately 60%/40%), shaping each piece into a disc shape. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate one hour or overnight.
- 5 C of Any Berries (We love using 1 C Red Raspberries, 2 C Blueberries and 2 C Strawberries. Strawberries should be washed, hulled and sliced.)
- 2 t fresh lemon juice
- 1 C sugar, plus 1 t sugar, divided
- 1/3 C flour
- 1 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1T milk (for pie crust)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all berries in a large bowl and add lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar with the flour and a teaspoon of the cinnamon. Sprinkle over the berries and toss gently to coat. Set aside.
Remove the larger pie crust disc from the refrigerator and unwrap it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough, working from the center outward, until the dough is approximately 1/8 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9″ pie pan, and ease the crust into the pan. Add the prepared berry filling. Roll out the remaining disc to 1/8 inch thickness and place it on top. Trim dough to the outer rim of the pan and press with the tines of a fork to seal around the edge. Cut slits in the top for vents.
Place on a cookie sheet and place in the pre-heated oven on a middle rack to bake for 40 minutes, then remove pie and brush the top with the tablespoon of milk. Then combine remaining cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle this mixture over the pie crust*. Return the pie to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool on a wire rack before serving.
*If the edge of the crust is browning too fast, cover it with a strip of aluminum foil shaped to fit.
Adapted from “Taste of Home”
No fresh berries?
No worries! Frozen berries work fine in pie recipes–just measure the fruit for volume before it thaws (unless the recipe calls for mashed fruit) and lengthen the cooking time a bit because the fruit will release more juices, which usually means having to cover the crust edges to prevent over browning. We like to stir in a tablespoon of quick-cooking tapioca to help with the juices.