Summer Berry Pies & Pie Dough Recipe

Summer Berry Pie

A pear, cranberry pie for fall or winter, but shows you what the crust should look like.
A Strawberry, Blueberry Summer Tart with Frangipane
A Blueberry & Cherry Tart with Frangipane

Yields: 1 pie

Serves: 8-12

Ingredients:

1 batch pastry dough (recipe below)

Filling:

  • 3 cups fresh blueberries (17 ounces)
  • 2 cups fresh raspberries (9 to 10 ounces)
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries (5 to 6 ounces)
  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Frangipane

  • ⅓ cup whole, raw almonds or almond flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract or vanilla

 

Directions:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Place rimmed baking sheet in bottom of oven to catch any possible spills from pie. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 12-inch round. Save the rest for a pie topper. Transfer to 9-inch pie dish. Pinch the edges of the crust, forming a ruffle and a high-standing rim extending 1/4 inch above sides of the pie dish. Chill the crust in the refrigerator or freezer while making filling.

For filling:

Combine blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and lemon juice in large bowl. Let stand 10 minutes. Mix cornstarch and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in small bowl. Add to berry mixture and toss gently to coat. 

Frangipane: (inspired by Smitten Kitchen recipe)

Use a food processor to grind the almonds. You can also use almond flour if you prefer for this step. Add flour to food processor and combine well. Add sugar, butter and extract if using. Blend until smooth. Pour into a small to medium bowl. Add the egg and stir well to combine. Cover this mixture and chill for 3 hours. The process can be sped up with 20-30 minutes in the freezer, or don’t freeze at all if you’re in a hurry. It will be fine.

Pie Assembly:

Put a few fork holes in the bottom of the crust before baking. Place pie weights or dried beans in the empty crust to keep it from bubbling up too much. The whole surface should be mostly covered with weights or beans. 

Blind bake the bottom pie crust for 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove crust from oven and carefully remove the weights or beans when they’ve cooled.

Coat bottom of the pie with frangipane mixture. Place berries on top, mounded a bit in the center of the crust. Roll out remaining pie dough and cover the berry mixture with the pie topper. Neatly pinch the edges to seal the pie. 

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Return pie to oven and bake until crust is golden brown and berry juices are bubbling thickly, about 40-45 minutes. You may need to cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. 

 

Basic Pastry Dough (Pie Crust)

Yields: a crust for a 9 inch pie pan

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

Large pinch sea salt

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled

5 to 6 tablespoons chilled water

 

Directions:

Place the flour and the salt in the bowl of a food processor and blend well. Alternatively, mix in a bowl with a pastry cutter or whisk. 

Cut butter into ½ inch cubes and add to the flour. 

If using a food processor, pulse until the butter is incorporated into the flour and the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal or the butter pieces are pea-sized. If using a pastry cutter, or your hands, mix the flour and butter together until you have pea-sized butter pieces.

With the food processor running, add the water and pulse briefly, or just until the pastry beings to hold together.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Refrigerate if necessary. 

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

This dough freezes really well. Label, date and seal tightly in a plastic bag. It’s good to double or triple this recipe, so you can always have some on hand for an emergency. 

Strawberry Lemon Clafoutis

Mmm…summer is officially here and strawberries are bursting with flavor! Take advantage of the fact that they’re cheaper right now and they taste the best they will all year long! Make strawberry cakes, smoothies, put in your oatmeal, add to yogurt and ice cream…dip them in chocolate and just savor their wonderful sweetness all by their lonesome. 

I decided to make a twist on a classic French dessert that is usually made with cherries. This recipe was inspired byJulia Child’s Cherry Clafoutis Recipe (pronounced: clah-foo-tee). It’s wonderful either hot out of the oven or chilled and is a wonderful addition to any summer party. Great to make a day ahead and serve chilled after dinner. 

It’s kind of a custard and is SO easy to put together. Give it a try and let me know how you like it. I’d LOVE to hear about your variations. Check tips at the end for ways to experiment with different fruits.

Strawberry Lemon Clafoutis

Yields: 1 (9 inch pie pan) clafoutis

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 ¼ cups milk
  • ½ cup sugar (divided in half)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or almond extract)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 12 ounces or 2 cups strawberries
  • Zest of half of a lemon

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9 inch pie dish or circular baking pan. Ceramic or glass is best. Cut off the strawberry tops and them into quarters. Zest the lemon and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine milk, ¼ cup sugar, eggs, vanilla or almond extract, salt, both flours and lemon zest. Blend well with an electric blender.

Pour about ⅓ of the batter into the greased pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes. The bottom will start to cook, but it will not be solid. Remove from oven and gently add the strawberries. Sprinkle the other ¼ cup sugar on top. Pour the remaining batter over the fruit.

Return pan to oven and cook for about 1 more hour. Check the clafoutis at 45 minutes for doneness. It will be finished when a toothpick comes out clean, but it won’t be brown when it is finished cooking.

The clafoutis will naturally deflate after being out of the oven for a few minutes. You can garnish with a sprig of fresh mint if you’d like, and a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a pretty effect. It is delicious served hot or cold. Keep refrigerated if not serving immediately.

The Empowered Kitchen Tips:

Plums, peaches, apricots, other berries or cherries can all be substituted for the strawberries. You could also experiment with adding orange or lime zest, ground cardamom, cinnamon or other spices to create new flavors.