Sweeties' sister's hubby had his 70th birthday party last weekend and a good time was had by all as far as I could tell. There were in-laws like us and children from both sides of a blended family, their children, niece and nephew and their son, Sweetie's namesake, plus his grandparents and some good friends, too. Lots of excellent food and drink, conversation and laughter. I enjoyed some time with the two year olds and their parents as the little ones propelled their trikes up and down the block.
My contribution to the feast was a bumble berry free form pie since the birthday boy enjoys pies. I picked some of the ollallaberries down by the road, added some fresh raspberries and strawberries from the store and dolled it up with some minced mint, also found down in the lower field. Under all the berries I had a layer of ricotta which I had mixed with egg and a little flour and sugar.
It helped soak up the great berry juices.
Once the crust had been folded over the filling and secured with some water, I sprinkled sparkle sugar around the edge for crunch and shine.
My tart was enjoyed, but the best desserts were brought by a daughter-in-law of the birthday boy. She made a fantastic cheesecake...the crust had macadamia nuts and the filling was rich and smooth and creamy. She also brought a strawberry-rhubarb pie that was delicious with a light, flaky crust that had a combination of butter and organic, non-trans-fat shortening in the crust. Parties like that make it worth turning 70, right?
Bumbleberry Freeform Pie
A bumbleberry pie is one with a mixture of berries…you can use any combination of blackberries, blueberries, marionberries, strawberries, raspberries, ollalaberries, etc. I used about a cup each of ollalaberries and strawberries and about ¾ cup of raspberries. This recipe will, by nature, be a bit general about amounts. It’s pretty hard to mess up this recipe, so relax and throw in what looks good, pile it up, fold over the crust and enjoy some summer goodness.
flaky pie crust dough – enough for single pie crust. I used Pillsbury Ready Crust due to time constraints, but your favorite single crust recipe or half of your favorite double crust recipe is even better
about 3 cups mixed fresh berries, rinsed and patted dry. If using strawberries, hull them and slice.
¼ teaspoon minced fresh mint (optional)
1cup ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg or ¼ cup egg substitute
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Water to seal the folds of the crust
Sparkle sugar (optional)
On a lightly floured surface or board, roll out the crust until it is about 15 inches in diameter. It will be thin, but that is OK. Transfer, using your rolling pin, to a large cookie sheet or pizza pan. Since there will often be sticky juice seeping onto the pan, you might line it with baking parchment paper or foil.
Mix the berries together gently (and the mint if using) just to combine.
Spread about half of the ricotta mixture in the center of the dough and out to a diameter of about 8 or 9 inches. Top the ricotta area with the berries, mounding slightly in the center.
Fold the rest of the crust up and over the berries, pleating and folding the dough as needed to fit. There will usually be uncovered berries in the center…that’s OK.
Brush some water on the fold and press gently to stick the folds together. Run a wet brush around the edge and sprinkle with the sugar is using.
Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes until the crust is browned and berries are bubbly. Cool the pie still in the pan, placing the pan on a wire rack.
Once cool, carefully slide the pie onto a serving plate. If your baking sheet has sides, you may need to have assistance and use two wide spatulas (pancake turners) to transfer the pie to the serving plate.
Serve as soon as possible so that the bottom crust won’t get soggy. This is great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.