Pie is one of the season’s greatest pleasures. Autumn seasonal options include apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, etc. But once summer arrives, grocery stores are stocked with in-season fruits like peaches, blueberries, and strawberries (that don’t cost $5 a pint). Fruit pies are a favorite of ours. You can count on a summer berry recipe being posted before the summer is over.
The week before last, when strawberries were on sale, I bought a bag and froze them. The pie-making weekend was practically predetermined by the fact that Kaitlin was home for the weekend.
Our inspiration for this dish came from the classic blueberry pie recipe in The America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. This book has been in our family for at least a decade; it was a Christmas gift from one of our aunts. The stained pages are evidence of its frequent use. Minor variations can be expected due to our habit of making incremental improvements.
The crust is their typical double-crust pie dough recipe. We upped the fruit content of the filling (to fit into our slightly anthropomorphic 10-inch pie plate) and tinkered with a few other numbers. 6 cups of fruit might be required if you’re using a regular pie plate. As a side note, their recipe calls for potato starch, but we used tapioca starch because that’s what we had on hand. It was as effective as, if not more so than, the potato mixture. The filling for this pie was just the right consistency.
Let’s get this party started.
For the Filling:
- 7 cups of fresh or frozen berries (you can use whatever berries you’ve got)
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 4 tbsp. of tapioca starch
- 1 tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ tsp. of allspice
- ¼ tsp. of nutmeg
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp. of sugar
For the Crust:
- 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling)
- 2 tbsp. of sugar
- 1 tsp. of salt
- 8 tsp. of vegetable shortening (or more butter, chilled)
- 1 ½ sticks of butter (chilled and cut into ½ inch pieces)
- 6 tbsp. of ice water
- The crust is the first step. The flour, sugar, and salt should all be combined in one large bowl. If you’ve noticed that your kitchen is getting too hot, try to move more quickly.
- The chilled shortening can be folded in with a pastry cutter or two butter knives. After it has reached a crumbly consistency, cold butter can be cut in. It should have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. If it’s summer and your kitchen is warmer than usual, the dough may have already begun to appear like a pie crust. Keep the ingredients as cold as possible by working quickly.
- Using a spoon, incorporate the ice water (about 5-6 tablespoons) into the dry ingredients. Some extra tablespoons may be required if you live in a dry area.
- Cut the dough in half and put each half on a separate piece of plastic wrap. Make flat disks out of them, cover them, and chill them for at least an hour.
- When the dough is ready, place a baking sheet on the bottom oven rack and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- Mix the fruit with sugar, tapioca starch, lemon juice, and spices. After that, spread the crust. Remove one disk from the refrigerator (again, if the kitchen is warm, leave the other one in there until you’re ready to use it). Roll the crust into a 12-inch circle on a floured surface. Distribute it in the dish and press it to the corners.
- Now is a good time to inspect your fruit. Incorporate a few extra teaspoons of tapioca starch if the mixture appears too watery to be stirred. When ready to assemble, pull out a second crust and roll it to a slightly smaller size (10-11 inches).
- Put the fruit in the pie shell and cover it with the top crust. Make sure the seams are sealed with crimping and cut six ventilation holes in the top.
- Use the remaining egg white to glaze and a light dusting of sugar. To bake the pie, put it on the hot baking sheet and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Put it in the oven for 25 minutes or until the crust begins to brown.
- After 30–35 minutes of baking at 400 degrees, turn the baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees until the juices are bubbling. Preserves and other hot dishes benefit from being chilled.