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Berry Pie Tested Recipe

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Berry Pie Recipe

Crisp and buttery pastry combined with lightly sweetened blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries makes for a delicious mixed Berry Pie. This dessert is perfect during the Summer months when berries are at their best. The filling uses a total of five cups (1.2 liters) of berries, and you can vary the type. Just keep in mind that you may have to adjust the amount of sugar depending on the sweetness of the berries. I love how the berries soften as they bake, becoming almost jam-like in texture and flavor. This pie is excellent served à la mode, that is, with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Fruit pies need a crust and, for me, nothing beats Pate Brisee (short crust pastry), which has a wonderful buttery flavor and crumbly texture. It is easily made in the food processor, just remember that the butter and the water need to be very cold. Once made, the pastry must be chilled until firm. The tricky part is rolling out the pastry. In order for it to roll out smoothly, without it sticking to the counter or tearing, it has to be at the right temperature. Too cold (it will tear), too warm (it will stick). This "feel" for the dough will come with practice, so don't get discouraged if you have some trouble at first. If the rolled out pastry tears a little as you put it into the pie plate, just patch it. Now, the top crust of this Berry Pie has a lattice design which is made by cutting the pastry into strips. The strips are then laid evenly over the pie, half the strips in one direction and half in the other. The top strips are weaved over and under the bottom strips. This makes a beautiful lattice design which also serves the purpose of allowing the bubbling fruit juices underneath the crust to evaporate. This is particularly good when using berries that are quite juicy.

Now, for the filling. It is important to pick through the berries and discard any soft, moldy, or crushed ones. Because berries have such a wonderful flavor all this pie filling needs, besides the berries, is a little cornstarch (corn flour) to thicken its juices, a little sugar to sweeten the berries, and a splash of lemon juice and lemon zest to heighten all the flavors. The pie is baked until the crust is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling. If you find the crust browning too quickly, cover with a foil ring or a piece of aluminum foil. Lastly, when you pull the baked pie out of the oven there is the temptation to cut into it right away. Resist if you can. Fruit pies need several hours to set so that when you finally cut into them the fruit is juicy but these juices will not run. 

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Short Crust Pastry:  In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds). Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched. If necessary, add more water. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

Turn the dough onto your work surface and gather into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flattening each half into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour before using. This will chill the butter and relax the gluten in the flour. 

After the dough has chilled sufficiently, remove one portion of the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. (To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards).)  Fold the dough in half and gently transfer to a 9 inch (23 cm) pie pan. Brush off any excess flour and trim any overhanging pastry to an edge of 1/2 inch (1.5 cm). Refrigerate the pastry, covered with plastic wrap, while you make the filling. 

Remove the second round of pastry and roll it into a 13 inch (30 cm) circle. Using a pastry wheel. sharp knife, or pizza cutter, cut the pastry into 1 inch (2.5 cm) strips. Place the strips of pastry on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Put a baking sheet on the oven rack. (The pie plate will be placed on the hot baking sheet to catch any spills.)

Make the berry Filling:  In a small bowl mix together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest. Place the berries in a large bowl.  Add the sugar mixture to the berries and gently toss to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and dot with the 1 tablespoon of butter. Then, lightly brush the rim of the pastry shell with cream.

Remove the lattice pastry from the refrigerator and, starting at the center with the longest strips and working outwards, space the strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Use the shortest pastry strips at the outer edges. Then, rotate pie plate a quarter turn, and repeat the process with the rest of the strips. Weave the top strips over and under the bottom strips. Trim the edges of the strips, leaving a 1 inch (2.5 cm) overhang. Seal the edges of the pastry strips by folding them under the bottom pastry crust and flute the edges of the pastry. Brush the lattice pastry with milk and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Bake the pie for about 20 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Continue to bake the pie for about 35 - 45 minutes or until the crust is a deep golden brown color and the juices are bubbling and thick. If the edges of the pie are browning too much during baking, cover with a foil ring or aluminum foil. 

Place the baked pie on a wire rack to cool for several hours.  Serve at room temperature with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Store any leftovers for 2 - 3 days at room temperature.

Short Crust Pastry:

2 1/2 cups (350 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon (30 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) pieces

1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 - 120 ml) ice water

Berry Filling:

2 cups (1 pint) (480 ml) fresh blueberries

2 cups (1 pint) (480 ml) fresh blackberries

1 cup (1/2 pint) (240 ml) fresh strawberries, sliced

2/3 cup (135 grams) granulated white sugar (use a little more or a little less sugar depending on sweetness of berries)

3 tablespoons (30 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)

1 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest (outer yellow skin of the lemon)

1 tablespoon (14 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

Glaze:

Cream

Granulated white sugar

 

 

 
 
     
 

 

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