For me, summer is berry season– not pool season, not beach season, and certainly not summer camp season. I load up on the biggest container of blueberries at the grocery store every week and then make the tough decision to buy or not to buy raspberries in addition to the blueberries. I always eat at least a cup of berries every day, and when they disappear from my fridge, there must be a trip store immediately the next day to stock up once again.
Summer is my favorite food season, and clearly the aforementioned berries are a big part of the reason. However, not only do I heartily take advantage of the berries, but I also devour watermelons, cherries and peaches, as well as homegrown tomatoes and other yummy super fresh veggies that I don’t feel like listing because nothing compares to the greatness of these summer fruits. (I think I’ve been eating more fruit than anything this past week.)
I usually just eat all of this fruit plain, rinsing it off and popping it in my mouth, but sometimes a girl has to splurge even more. In comes America’s Test Kitchen’s Summer Berry Pie. It is opulent– raspberries, blackberries and blueberries!!– it is beautiful, and it is delicious. It is the epitome of summer, and I think it it may even be the epitome of the 4th of July. Apple pie may be America’s favorite, but in the hot heat of summer, no one wants to keep the oven on for an hour. This pie only requires the oven to be on for about 15 minutes, and it’s red, white (if you serve it with whipped cream) and blue.
My one caveat with Summer Berry Pie is that it’s a tad pricey to make– it requires 6 cups total of berries. The best place to get this many berries is at Sam’s Club or Costco; I got mine at Sam’s for about $18 total and had leftover berries to snack on for a couple of days. However, this is one of the few recipes I’ll make without caring at all how much it costs. It is too good to have any hesitations about preparing it. Summer Berry Pie will be a very, very welcome addition to your 4th of July celebration.
1. ATK says to make the pie in a 9 inch pan; I only have a 9 ½ inch pan. This is fine. I wouldn’t use a 10 inch one, though.
2. ATK also suggests to serve the pie with lightly sweetened whipped cream. I’ve never done this because I love it plain, but if you do want to have a red, white and blue dessert, it’s an easy addition.
3. I do not own a food processor. I have a KitchenAid Mini- Chopper, and it works great for this. A food processor definitely works as well. I’ve written instructions for both machines.
4. Make the graham cracker crust first. Do not use store bought crust or pre-made graham cracker crumbs; they are often stale.
Graham Cracker Crust:
8 whole graham crackers, broken into small (1-inch-ish pieces)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Process graham cracker pieces in a food processor/chopper to fine crumbs, about 30 seconds.
2. Sprinkle melted butter and sugar over graham cracker crumbs and pulse to incorporate, about 5 pulses.
3. Heat oven to 325 F. Sprinkle crumbs into a 9 or 9 ½ inch pie pan. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press down the crumbs in an even layer, starting at the center and working out. At the edges, use the measuring cup to gently press the crumbs up the sides.
4. Bake crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool, about 1 hour.
2 cups raspberries
2 cups blackberries
2 cups raspberries
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
⅛ teaspoon table salt
juice from one lemon
2 tablespoons apple jelly
1. Gently toss together berries to combine. Process 2 ½ cups of the berries in a food processor/chopper until very smooth, about 1 minute on the processor, lots of pulses on the food chopper (I did pulses on the chopper for about a minute, too). The puree needs to be very smooth, so better to pulse a little too much than not enough.
2. Strain puree into a small saucepan through a fine mesh strainer. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible–use a spatula to move the mass of solids back and forth across the strainer until you have mound of seeds held together with a tiny bit of pulp. Discard solids.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch and salt; whisk this into the strained puree.
4. Bring puree mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until cooked thick as pudding, about 5 minutes after boiling. Off heat, stir in lemon juice. (I liked mine a bit tarter than 1 tablespoon gave, that’s why I suggest the juice of a whole lemon.) Let cool for about 5 minutes.
5. Pour warm berry puree into cooled pie crust.
6. Heat apple jelly in a small microwaveable dish for 5 seconds. Do another 5 seconds if needed. Pour over reserved berries and toss to coat.
7. Spread berries evenly over puree; gently press into the puree.
8. Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until pudding is set and pie is chilled, about 3 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature, with or without lightly sweetened whipped cream.