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I’m setting up dangerous expectations at work: someone yesterday had a random hankering for blueberry pie, I asked him if a variety of berries would be acceptable, and today I delivered just that, a berry pie.

But, I needed an excuse to bake something. I always feel at my best when I’m creating something in the kitchen, not thinking about all the things I have sitting on my desk, all with imminent deadlines. Or thinking about the couple of family members I have in and out of the hospital. Or the uncertainty of our future with Marco having just finished law school and looking for a job wherever he can find one.

So, I needed pie, too.

And since I happened to have an assortment of berries in the freezer, that’s what happened. And I have to say, this might be a new summer staple. Putting this together was so incredibly simple, I hardly spent any time with prep, especially since I’ve got this pie crust just about down pat. For the filling I just looked up some different berry pie recipes and went with my gut on what I thought might be best.

It really turned out great. I chose to cut out shapes (flowers) to use as the top crust, rather than a whole crust, and I loved the springy look and feel it gave. I did, however, roll them out too thin, so some of them sort of disintegrated after baking. This definitely works with this pie crust, just make sure you make the pieces thick enough.

Berry Pie

Sorry to say I have no after-baking pictures, it got completely devoured at the office. Someone even went out at lunch and bought a tub of ice cream to go with it, so we had ourselves a lovely Friday afternoon break. 🙂 So much for those things on my desk with imminent deadlines…

Pie Crust:
1 cup of cornstarch
1 cup of tapioca flour
1/2 cup of rice flour
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup (one stick) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup of cold shortening
1/4 cup of cold gluten-free vodka (like Tito’s)
1/4 cup of cold water

4 cups of berries of your choice, frozen or fresh (I went with 1 bag of Trader Joe’s Berry Medley plus half a bag of frozen strawberries)
1/2 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (once your pie crust has been in the refrigerator long enough, no need to have that sucker on all day).

The easiest way to make this crust is to put all dry ingredients plus butter and shortening into a blender or food processor and pulse until crumbly, then add the water and vodka in increments, pulsing in between, until the dough starts to form. Then transfer to a bowl and knead together to form a ball, that needs to be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated for about 2 hours.

While your crust is gettin’ frosty, combine your filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside to thaw for a while, if you use frozen berries. They don’t need to completely defrost, just softened slightly is fine.

Remove your pie dough and separate into two pieces, placing one back in the fridge. On a piece of floured parchment paper, roll out your dough to the size of your pie plate (I used a glass 9″ Pyrex deep pie dish), and transfer to the pie plate using your rolling pin (I finally bought one by the way!). Adjust as needed. I ended up pinching off extra pieces and rolling them out into thin strips to give a “lip” to my pie. The crust actually holds together really well for doing this. I think I might have to make a pretty braid next time.

For the top crust, you can really do whatever you want. There’s enough dough to make a whole top, but I went with flower decorations. As I mentioned before, make sure you roll out your pieces thick enough so that they make it through the long baking process.

Ok, pour in your filling and make it as flat as possible for your top pieces or crust, and then bake at 425 for 25 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 30-45 minutes more, until your crust is adequately browned and your filling is nice and bubbly. My edges were quite browned after baking at 425, so I cut a whole in a piece of tinfoil so that I could cover the edges but allow the center (with the flowers) to continue browning. I ended up broiling for a final 2 minutes to get my flowers to fully brown, and sprinkled a little vanilla bean sugar on top.

Twas delicious. And lasted well on the counter, covered, over night until I took it to work. Where it did not last very long at all. 🙂