Summer Berry Pie for the Fourth of July

So, tomorrow is the fourth of July, and our little one square mile city puts on quite the production. There is a parade, and a concert in the park, which is followed by fireworks over the golf course. The highlight, for me anyway, is the Old Fashioned Bake Off. I’m not a baker, but I’ve always been a pie maker. I’ve placed second every year I’ve entered. Since Bryan came onto the scene, he, too has had bake off entries. The first year I dropped my pie as it came out of the oven and had to re-do the entire top crust (which had my signature star cut-outs). He made a spectacular looking lemon merangue pie, but made a critical error and refrigerated it (NEVER refrigerate merangue). He didn’t place – probably because his merangue had the consistency of Silly Putty. My dropped pie placed second. We had both had a few cocktails on the “baking eve.” We’ve since had a long running joke that I can win even after dropping the pie – our friends and neighbors recognize that this competition brings out the worst in each of us. It has occurred to some that there might be some “sabotaging” taking place: (Bryan making my drink extra strong on the baking eve – me failing to mention that you NEVER refrigerate merangue). This year, I will be the only contestant from our household. Bryan is the rib/barbeque sauce master, so he’s decided to stick with that. He will still probably put a little “extra” in my cocktail, just for fun. I’m trying a new berry combination for this year’s pie, and I’m going to hopefully sway the judges with some whipped cream spiked with Creme de Cassis – hoping that catapults me into 1st place range. I will keep you posted, but for now, here’s the recipe for this year’s pie.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Cups Fresh Blueberries
  • 3 Cups Fresh Strawberries – sliced
  • 1 Cup Sugar + extra for sprinkling
  • 1/3 Cup Flour
  • 3  TBS. Corn Starch
  • 1 TBS. Butter
  • 1 Package Prepared Pie Crust *
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 TBS. Cream

* I  “cheat” and use Pillsbury Pie Crust (found in the refrigerator section). If you’re a purist and want to make your own crust (which I have done many times, but I’m just getting too old for that) see my blog on Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for a tried and true Pate Brisee recipe. If you want to add star cut-outs to the top of the pie, you’ll need an extra box of pie crust. Use the remainder to make quiche or extra individual pies.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Gently combine fruit, sugar, flour, and corn starch in a non-reactive (glass or plastic) bowl. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Mold one pie crust into a deep dish pie pan. Add fruit filling to pie pan. Add small dots of butter evenly on top of pie.Using a knife or pastry wheel, cut second crust into 1/2 inch strips. Lay the shortest lattice strip vertically at one edge of pie, continue adding lattice strips of appropriate lengths about 1/2 inch apart until you reach the other side. Beginning at the top of the pie, “weave” the shortest remaining lattice strip into the vertical strip. Repeat this process until you reach the bottom edge. Using your thumb and forefinger of one hand, and your thumb from the other, go around the edge of the pie and “crimp” the lattice to the bottom crust (if you have excessive overhang in any one area, trim it). If you want to use star cut-outs, cut them from the additional pie crust and place on top of lattice top (you can use a little water to “glue” the cut-outs down). Combine egg and cream and whisk until well blended. Brush the top of the pie (but not the outer crust – because it will darken too much) with egg/milk mixture, and sprinkle with sugar (if desired). Place the pie on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees fro 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes. Allow pie to cool thoroughly before serving or covering. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream; garnish with a mint leaf if desired.

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