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Sunday, July 25, 2004

Fresh Berry Pie

I had some people over for dinner last night, and wanted to make an appropriately summery dessert. (I don't think "chocolate" or "lemons" much in the summertime.) I did flirt with the idea of making the berry fool in the latest Fine Cooking, but it did ultimately seem like a lot of work and I wanted to keep it fairly simple. Anyway, it's nice to serve that sort of thing in individual dishes, and finding space in my fridge for them is often a challenge.

The buckle I made a couple of weeks ago was a possibility, but I dismissed that because the dinner ended up having lots of bread so I wanted to try to balance things.

I happily remembered the Fresh Berry Pie from the August 2003 issue of Cook's Illustrated. I made this a couple of times last summer when raspberries were cheap at the Bowl and it was very well received.

And who wouldn't drool over something that looked like this?

fresh berry pie

This particular time, I not only scorched the filling slightly as I was making it, but it did not set up (so much for going with something I had made before and was familiar with *rolls eyes at self*); thus my notes about puree amounts and heat. But it was still very, very good, and much enjoyed by the guests, and I finished off the broken leftovers for breakfast.

Summer Berry Pie
Cook's Illustrated, August 2003

9 graham crackers broken into rough pieces
Or one cup graham cracker crumbs - clb
2 TBS sugar
5 TBS unsalted butter, melted and warm

Berry Filling
2 cups raspberries (about 9 oz.)
2 cups blackberries ( about 11 oz.)
2 cups blueberries (about 10 oz.)
(Obviously this can be tweaked according to what you have but your total should be at least 6 cups - clb)
1/2 cup (4 oz) granulated sugar
3 TBS cornstarch (cornflour)
1/8 tsp. salt
Juice of one lemon (about 1 TBS)
2 TBS red currant jelly

Whipped cream for serving:
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. For the crust, which can be done in advance: Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 325 degrees.

2. In food processor, process graham crackers until evenly fine, about
30 seconds (you should have 1 cup of crumbs). Add sugar and pulse to
combine. Continue to pulse while adding warm melted butter in steady
stream; pulse until mixture resembles wet sand.

3. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch glass pie plate; form crust using 1/2 cup
dry measuring cup. (Use the bottom of the cup to firm up the bottom, and the side to press out the sides - clb) Bake crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, 15 to 18 minutes; tranfer to wire rack and cool completely while making filling. If making ahead, cover loosely with plastic wrap after cooled.

4. For the filling: Combine berries in large colander and gently rinse
(taking care not to bruise them); spread berries on paper towel-lined rimmed baking sheet and gently pat dry with additional paper towels. (Gotta love CI for their obsessive attention to detail - clb)

5. In food processor, puree 2 1/2 cups mixed berries for a minimum of one full minute until smooth and fully pureed. Strain puree through mesh strainer into small non-reactive saucepan, scraping and pressing on seeds to extract as much puree as possible (you should have 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups). Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in small bowl to combine, then whisk mixture into puree. Bring puree to poil over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon; when mixture reaches a boil and is thickened to consistency of pudding, remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and set aside to cool slightly.

Note from clb: If you have more berry puree, add more cornstarch, or the filling will not set. It will be delicious but messy. The idea behind this recipe is to containerize the fresh berries in something that is gelatin-like, but better tasting than commercial jello, so that they may be neatly served. Also, be careful to cook the puree over medium heat, and stir/check it constantly to prevent burning.

7. While puree is cooling, place remaining berries in medium bowl. Heat
jelly in second small saucepan over low heat (or microwave in microwave-safe bowl - clb) until fully melted; drizzle melted jelly over berries and toss gently to coat. Pour slightly cooled puree into pie shell; top with fresh berries. Loosely cover pie with plastic wrap; refrigerate until chilled and puree has set, about 3 hours (or up to 1 day).

8. Some time before serving, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla. I will not go into CI's detail, but you will get better results if the beaters and the bowl are cold as well. I usually put them in the fridge for a half hour or so. Refrigerate the cream if you make it in advance.

To serve, cut the pie into wedges and serve with whipped cream. A tip for pie-cutting is that the first slice of pie will come out neater if you cut the second piece before trying to lift the first one out.

I too used to make this from Cook's Illustrated - to rave reviews! My favorite, but then I lost the recipe :( Thanks soooo much for posting it again - I will make it tonight!
This pie looks so appetizing I just hope that it will taste as it looks because most of the time everything that I prepare it is disgusting.
I lost the recipe and am please to have found it here for free!
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