Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day - Let's Have Some Mixed Berry Pie

Pie was a big thing for my mom's side of the family when I was growing up. 

Although we often called it "cobbler".  Now though, when I see recipes for cobblers, they usually call for some sort of biscuity dough dropped in clumps on top of the fruit mixture.  That is definitely not what we ate.  Cobblers in my family were just pies baked in 13 x 9" pans. 

My grandma would make strawberry rhubarb cobbler (my favorite), peach cobbler, blueberry cobbler, even blueberry rhubarb cobbler. 
Then there was traditional apple pie, grated apple pie (another favorite), the usual pumpkin and pecan pies during the holidays, lemon meringue pie, and another of the top favorites of everyone in the family, chocolate pie (with meringue on top). 

Everything was made from scratch.  No mixes, no frozen pie crusts, none of that.

And it was all so delicious.

My granddad used to say, "I only like two kinds of pie.  Hot and cold."

I tend to agree.  Although I can definitely eliminate mincemeat pie from those that I like.

Grant, on the other hand, isn't a huge fan of pies.  He'd pick just about any kind of dessert over than pie, except for anything pudding related.  He's a little lot pickier than me in that regard.

There is one kind of pie, however, that Grant admits to liking.  Mixed Berry Pie. 

I can't recall ever eating a mixed berry pie as a kid.....seems my family wasn't too big into blackberries and raspberries. 

Grant's family would buy the Marie Callendar Mixed Berry Pies for special occasions and he has fond memories of them, so when I was debating what kind of pie to make for Pi Day, it was really a no-brainer to pick something that my dear husband would enjoy.

Making the pie crust is always the intimidating part.  I've had a few major flops in that department and not had much motivation to try again.  The Pioneer Woman featured a really nice tutorial on her blog awhile back that I followed - use that for reference if you're crust-ignorant like me. Although I have to say, following her directions to a "T" didn't exactly work for me.  I ended up having to add more water, not sure how much.....and I still had difficulties rolling out the crust to the right size and shape, despite the parchment paper trick. 

Well, it all came together in the end.

The pie was superb.  Really.

Grant said, "You can make this every day."  Um, sorry, that's not gonna happen.
And then, "You didn't by chance make two of them, did you?"  No. I did not. At least we only ate half for dinner!  We can have more tomorrow!

Recipe: adapted slightly from Cooking Lessons

Pie dough for 2 layer crust, unbaked
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2-1/2 T. granulated, quick-cooking tapioca
5 heaping cups mixed berries, (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries) fresh or frozen - I used frozen
2 T. unsalted butter (I omitted)
1 egg, beaten with 1 T. water (for brushing on crust)

Heat oven to 400°F.

Roll out the bottom crust and fit it into a 9 or 10 inch pie pan.Trim the edges so they are even with the outer rim of the pie pan.  Refrigerate while you make the filling and roll out the top crust.

In a large bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers.  The lemon oil will soak into the sugar to provide you with extra-zesty lemon flavor.  Stir in the salt and tabioca. Add the berries and gently fold them into the sugar with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.  (If you are using frozen berries, don't defrost them; just mix them in now).

Roll out the top crust and with a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut it into 3/4 inch wide strips for the top of the pie.  You can mkae skinnier strips and use more of them if you prefer. 

Take the pie shell out of the fridge and fill it with the berry mixture.  Dot with butter if desired.

Use a pastry brush to coat the rim of the dough with water.  Lay 5-6 strips of dough evenly across the top of the pie.  Lay the other strips perpendicular to the first ones, weaving them in if you like.
Lay 2-3 strips of dough around the rim of the pie to cover the ends of the lattice top.  Crimp.  Brush the edges and all the lattice strips with the beaten egg.

Set the pie on a baking sheet to avoid oven disasters if the filling bubbles over.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Decrease the oven heat to 350° F. and bake for another 45 min. to 1 hour, until the filling bubbles in the center.  Total baking time is 1 to 1-1/4 hours, longer if you have used frozen berries. 
Check every once in awhile to make sure the crust isn't getting too dark.  Place a piece of foil loosely over the pie if it looks like it might burn before the pie is done.

Remove the pie from the oven and place on a rack to cool to room temperature before cutting.  If you cut it sooner, it will be runny, but will still taste great!

And as we all know, there's nothing better with warm pie than homemade vanilla ice cream.
(No, my house did not get cleaned today.  And there's still laundry to be folded.  And we had leftovers for dinner.  But boy, did we have dessert!)


  1. That looks yummy, Rebekah! Good job!

    Our cobblers were JUICY pies in 13 x 9" pans.
    We didn't put any thickener in them and didn't expect them to come out in nice, clean pieces.
    We wanted them to be juicy! To me, that's the difference in pies and cobblers.
    Love, Mom

  2. we are huge pie fans here! love most any kind too. mixed berry is always a big hit, along with apple and blueberry. i also made a blue-barb pie last spring with the ruhbarb we harvested!! yummy!! saw it in a magazine and had to try it! your pie looks really good btw!!

    1. Blue-barb is really good! I have a hard time finding rhubarb around here - maybe I should just grow my own! I'll have to look into that!

  3. Wow! That is my kind of pie. Some days the laundry must wait while one does something really important!
    Love your blog, can't wait to follow it.

  4. This looks yuuuummmmmy.

    Berry pies are delicious!


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