Wednesday, June 07, 2017

First Berry Pie of the Season

The olallieberries along the road are fat after our rainy spring and some of them have ripened...enough for a pie for Sweetie. He really does love pie.

It's been awhile since I've made a double crusted pie but that seemed to be the way to go with this one. I picked two pints of ripe berries and rinsed them, removing a couple that were hosting tiny green worms! I checked the rest after a while, but they were all clean and shiny.

With a single fruit pie you want the flavor of the main ingredient to shine through, so I went easy on the spices, using just a half teaspoon of Penzy's Pie Spice, plus another half teaspoon of their Hi-Fat Cocoa powder. The idea was to make the berries taste richer, which these did, while not adding more than a hint of spice. You couldn't taste the cocoa at all, just the rich berry flavor.

The other thing that I did was to create a custom thickener. These were juicy berries and I didn't want a pool of juice when I cut the pie slices, so I used both flour and cornstarch. For some sweetness, since these are early berries and a bit more tart than later ones will be, I used some raw cane sugar.

The spice mix, cocoa, flour, cornstarch and sugar, plus a bit of salt, were mixed together in a small bowl. The clean and drained berries went into a large bowl. I poured the flour mixture over them and gently stirred to coat each berry.

Some days I like to make pie crust, some days I use Pillsbury Ready Crust from the market. This pie was a Ready Crust pie...faster, easier, not so many dishes to wash up, plus it is a nice, flaky crust.

A hot oven and baking stone help ensure that the bottom crust gets baked through and the top crust golden brown. I did turn the oven down to 350 degrees F for the last 15 minutes to make sure that the berries cooked through.

This was a wonderful pie! The filling held together and the taste was rich and strongly berry. If you use the Ready Crust, it really doesn't take long to have a freshly baked pie. I'll bet you know someone who would enjoy a nice pie. This would work with  raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries, too.

Olallieberry Pie
Elle original recipe

2 - 3 pints fresh olallieberries (or use 5 - 6 cups raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, boysenberries)
1/3 cup flour
1 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon Penzy's Pie Spice, or a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
1/2 teaspoon Penzy's High Fat Cocoa or your favorite unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar or brown sugar
1 box Pillsbury Ready Crust pie crust, or your favorite two-crust pie dough recipe
1 shallow 9-inch pie pan
1-2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/2 and 1/2, or light cream, or soy creamer
sparkling sugar or raw sugar or granulated sugar

Rinse the berries and drain. Set aside.

In a small bowl thoroughly mix together the flour, corn starch, Pie Spice, cocoa, salt and raw or brown sugar. I used a small whisk.

Roll out the bottom crust slightly larger than the pie pan. Carefully place crust in pie pan and smooth into pan. Dough should extend past the edges of the pie pan.

Roll out top crust, if needed,to slightly larger than the pie pan. Cut a small decorative vent in the middle of the circle of dough. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. If possible, place a baking stone on the center rack.

Place drained berries in a large mixing bowl. Pour the flour mixture over the berries, using a spatula, gently scoop to the bottom of the bowl and turn the berries over. Continue until all berries are coated with the flour mixture.

Pour berries into prepared pie pan. Dot with butter or margarine.

Use your clean finger to moisten, lightly, the pie dough where it sits over the edge of the pan (there is usually a thin flat space), then place the second circle of dough (with the vent) on top and gently press to seal around the edge.

Trim excess dough, if needed, then turn edges of the dough under and crimp, or flatten with the tines of a fork.

Use a pastry brush to brush 1/2 and 1/2 or light cream or soy creamer over the top and edges of the pie. This is usually a tablespoon or less of creamer. Sprinkle lightly with sparkling sugar, raw sugar, or granulated sugar.

Place pie carefully in the hot oven, of possible directly on a preheated baking stone.

Bake for 15 minutes.

If crust edges become browner than the center, place strips of aluminum foil to mask them from the heat.

Remove pie from oven and place on a cookie sheet (to catch drips) and return to oven. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake another 15-25 minutes, or until center of pie crust is golden brown and juices are bubbly at vent.

Cool on a rack for 10 minutes or longer. Best served the same day.

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