Tuesday, July 08, 2014
Summer Simple Pie
There are all kinds of pies but, by their nature, pies are approachable. A butter cream embellished multi-layered cake is fancy and fine, but pies are usually much more simple. A pie like the one I made a few days ago is simplicity itself...one crust, a mixture of fruit dusted with some flour to help thicken the juices, a brush of milk over the finished crust for color and a sprinkle of sparkling sugar for crunch. Even simpler would be to make it with one kind of fruit. If that fruit were, for instance, blueberries, then there is no peeling or cutting; no prep to speak of except of washing the berries and drying them off a bit.
I had fresh, ripe peaches on hand which only required peeling and cutting into curved slices. The pits and skins went into the wet garbage, but could also go into the compost pile. Strawberries needed to be hulled and some were large enough that I cut them in half. Blackberries from the bushes down the driveway were rinsed along with the blueberries and allowed to drain and air dry a bit while I prepared the crust.
Although I can make a delightful pie crust from scratch, if I'm going for simple I use a ready made crust. I use the rolling pin to flatten and enlarge it about another two inches all around. Then it goes onto a piece of parchment paper. This time I should have put that paper on a rimmed baking sheet because all of the fruit was very juicy. Even with the flour added I had too much juice seeping from the pie. That juice ended up spilling off of the parchment paper as I removed the pie from the oven. Hot fruit juice went all over the oven! It cleaned up nicely once the oven cooled, but I felt foolish for not containing the pie to avoid the spill.
The finished pie is rustic to look at but very, very tasty. Such a summery mix! Peaches, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries, barely held together with crisp pastry. Each slice had some of the fruit juices from the parchment paper, too. We could have embellished it with whipped cream or ice cream, but it truly didn't need that. It was a simple summer pie and a true seasonal delight.
Simple Summer Pie
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, rinsed,drained, hulled and sliced in half if large
3-4 ripe peaches, peeled, pit removed, and sliced...about 8 slices per peach
1/2 pint ripe blackberries, rinsed and drained
1/4 pint ripe blueberries, rinsed and drained
3-4 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 prepared pie crust round (I use Pillsbury ReadyCrust)
1-2 tablespoons milk
1-2 tablespoons sparkling sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a large bowl gently combine the strawberries, peach slices, blackberries and blueberries. Sprinkle with the flour and nutmeg and gently toss the fruit until it absorbs the flour. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie crust round to about 11 or 12 inches in diameter. Place on a sheet of parchment paper. Place parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the prepared fruit mixture in the middle of the crust and mound it, leaving the outer 2-3 inches without fruit. Fold the outer 2-3 inches of crust up over the mounded fruit, pleating as necessary to bring it over the fruit. If needed, use a finger dipped in clear water to lightly wet the pastry at the folds, so that the pastry sticks together.
Use a pastry brush to brush the milk over the crust and sprinkle, if desired, with sparkling sugar. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then turn heat down to 375 degrees F. and continue to bake until juices bubble and pastry is golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack before serving. Serves 4-6.