Home Cooking Recipes
home cooking recipes                                            home cooking recipes
Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour


Let the good berries roll into a pie shell

The berries are picking their way into your shopping bags just begging to turn themselves into fabulous pies.

Simple combinations of flour, fat and sugar can create an amazing variety of crusts and toppings. You can, of course, use frozen pie crusts or those made from dry ingredients in a package. With the wonderful summer berries available to us now, you can't make a bad pie.


Three Berry Pie

You will need 5 cups of mixed berries such as raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, or any wild berries which can be picked in your area. June berries, huckleberries, buffalo-berries, etc can be stretched by tossing them into this mix. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

5 cups mixed berries
1 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 1/2 scant cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon raw sugar, crystallized sugar or granulated sugar
Crust for double-crust pie

Filling: Gently mix berries, brandy, and lemon juice in large bowl. Grind tapioca in spice grinder or your coffee mill (cleaned, of course) to a fine powder. Mix tapioca powder, scant 1 1/2 cups sugar, and cinnamon together; add to berries and toss to coat. Let stand 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll out larger pie dough to a 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch pie plate. Roll out a smaller dough disk for top. Transfer berry mixture to pastry-lined pie dish, mounding in center. Top with second crust and trim the overlap to 1/2-inch. Fold overhang over; crimp edges. Brush crust with cream or beaten egg. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut several slits in top crust. Place pie on baking sheet. Bake pie until just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F.; continue baking until juices bubble through slits, about 25 minutes. Cool.


Blueberry Pie with Almond Crumble Topping

Small wild blueberries are more flavorful but bog-raised berries can also be used. The lemon juice brings out the flavor of any berry. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or Greek yogurt. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Filling:

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons or more granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
7 cups fresh blueberries or 32 ounces unthawed, frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Topping:

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 ounces marzipan or almond paste, broken into 1/3-inch pieces (about 3/4 cup loosely packed)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pastry for single crust pie

Filling: Whisk 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch in heavy large saucepan to blend. Stir in blueberries and lemon juice. Stir gently over medium heat until mixture bubbles and thickens, about 13 minutes. Chill filling until cool, about 1 hour. If you like it sweeter, stir in additional sugar tablespoonful by tablespoonful.

Topping: Combine first 4 ingredients in processor; blend until mixture begins to clump together. Transfer to bowl; chill 30 minutes. Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 400 F. Spread blueberry filling evenly in unbaked crust. Sprinkle topping evenly over the filling. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust and topping are golden and filling is bubbling thickly, about 50 minutes.


Raspberry Crumble Tart

The crust ingredients for a double-crust pie are given below as half will be used for the sweet streusel topping. You can use your own favorite recipe, of course. A little whipped cream sprinkled with fresh raspberries or fresh mint adds a touch of glamour when you're serving it. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 to 7 tablespoons very cold water
3/4 cup whole almonds, chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 containers fresh raspberries

Dough: Blend together flour, butter, shortening and salt with a pastry blender or pulse in a food processor. Stop when the mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (pea size) butter lumps. Transfer 2 cups mixture to a bowl and drizzle 1/4 cup ice water evenly over it (reserve remaining mixture). Gently stir with a fork as you work in the water. Squeeze a small handful of dough and if it doesn't hold together gradually add more water. When you have a ball of dough holding together, divide it into 4 pieces. Use the heel of your hand to smear each portion once or twice with a forward motion. This helps distribute fat. However, if you do too much smearing you will over develop the gluten and make the dough tough. Gather all four pieces of smeared dough together and press them into a ball. Flatten the ball into a 5-inch disk. If dough is sticky, dust with a little flour. Wrap in plastic wrap or store in a plastic bag and store in refrigerator until dough is firm, at least an hour. Topping: Add almonds and sugar to reserved dough mixture and rub together until some large clumps form. Assemble pie: Place baking sheet on lower oven rack and preheat oven to 375 F. On lightly floured surface roll dough into a 14- by 13-inch rectangle. Fit into tart pan and trim excess dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang, then fold overhang under pastry and press against rim of pan to reinforce edge. Fill shell with berries and sprinkle topping evenly over the berries. Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake until topping and crust are golden and filling is bubbling, about 55 minutes. You may need to cover pie with a sheet of foil after 30 minutes to prevent over-browning. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes, then remove side of pan and cool tart completely, about 45 minutes.


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