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Monday, June 25, 2012

Triple Berry Pie with Crumb Topping

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 When summer berries look like this right now, how could I possibly not bake some type of berry pie tonight?! As I was running through the market at 5:15 tonight, picking up a gallon of milk and some hamburger buns, my heart skipped a beat when I saw that berries were on sale!!! I stopped, dead in my tracks, grabbed a basket and filled it with a couple of containers of each.  I couldn't help myself. There's nothing quite as sweet as summer berries and absolutely  nothing better than berry pie. After all, when it's over 85 degrees outside anyway, why not turn on the oven?! What's a few more degrees among friends?!
 


 In my house, pies have one of  two basic types of top crust: lattice or crumb.  My sons seem to think that crust tastes better when it's lattice. I have no idea why.  Given the fact that it was now approaching 5:30 and crumb topping takes significantly less time to prepare than lattice, the crumb "won" tonight.
I've included my recipe for "real" pie crust below. However, when it's after 5 p.m. and I haven't even started dinner, let alone dessert, I use "cheater pie crust". Amazingly, no one complains. It's  Pillsbury. It comes in a red box. They keep it in the refrigerated section, near the eggs, at my grocer.  It's not quite as flaky as "real" pie crust but when it's only a single crust, it has fresh summer berries, one and a half times the recommended amount of crumb topping, and it's usually smothered with home made vanilla ice cream; is crust even really a consideration!?
 For the record, tonight's ice cream was not home made. It was Breyers, Natural Vanilla.  Because that's what was on sale. You know what?! No one complained about that either!  I'll  share our home made ice cream recipes with you for the fourth of July.  That's when our family tradition of making ice cream began.

 Triple Berry Pie with Crumb Topping

Ingredients:

Crust – The real kind
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 6 tablespoons (about) ice water
Crumb Topping
  • 6 9 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 9tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 1/2  7 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  • 4 1/2  7 tablespoons all purpose flour
Filling
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 cups assorted fresh berries such as raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. (Tonight’s pie contained raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.)

 Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and cut  berries (if necessary) and put them into a large mixing bowl.  This recipe also works with frozen berries. Thaw and drain. Omit Lemon Juice. In another bowl, whisk together the tapioca, cornstarch, and sugar. Pour the mixture over the berries and let stand for 15 minutes.

Make (or in my case, tonight, unroll) the pie crust into an 9 inch pie plate. Make the edges pretty as shown in magazines and cook books. Note, this step also seems to make the pie taste better. Again, I have no idea why.

Pour the filling into the crust. Make the crumb topping. Cut together all ingredients using a pastry cutter or fork. Sprinkle over filling. Place the pie in the center of the middle rack of the oven with a cookie sheet beneath it. (Unless you enjoy the smell of burning fruit and sugar as it bubbles over and becomes semi-permanently adhered to the bottom of the oven forcing you to use the self clean feature. This heats up your kitchen for four additional hours.) 

Cook the pie for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees and cover the edges of the crust with foil (or the really cool pie crust shield that you got for your birthday). Cook for an additional 40 to 45 minutes until the crumb topping is golden brown.

This is the point in the recipe where it generally says: Remove pie from oven. Place on rack to cool for two hours. Serve with ice cream.  These words would seem to indicate that there are people who actually wait until the pie is cool to eat it.  This never happens at my house. Here, the reality looks more like this:  
 Remove pie from oven, place on rack to cool just long enough so that you don't scald your mouth when you try to eat it and so that your ice cream doesn't form a lake on the plate before you can get back to your chair at the table.  Eat the whole thing with a spoon,  rather than a fork because both the pie and the ice cream will be semi-solid. This is because they are not cooled. Use the spoon, you'll drip less.  Sugary drips in the summer time bring ants. Truly, no one wants ants. Not one single person. Especially me.


xo,



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