Uniquely delicious fruit pies
Nordic Ware Giveaway This Week! (Giveaway has ended.)
Since this week is Pie Making Boot Camp at CHEFS Mix Blog, we’re giving away a 10-inch Nordic Ware Pie Pan With Lid! The winner will be chosen Monday, June 24, from all commenters on our pie blogs through Sunday, June 23. When you comment, leave a way for us to reach you if you’re the winner. Or, check back on Monday–when we start talking about another kind of pie: Pizza!
It’s that time of year again. We home gardeners are obsessively checking our gardens, eagerly anticipating the moment we begin to see ripe fruits and veggies appearing on our vines and trees. Even if you don’t garden, you’ll want to check out your local farmers market or fresh produce aisle because many items are beginning to make their way onto vendors’ tables.
Little says summer like seasonal fresh fruit. While popping a plump blueberry or a juicy cherry into your mouth can be truly satisfying, nothing combines the sweetness of fruit with the warmth of homemade cooking like fruit pies.
Before you begin stocking up on fruit to fill your pastries, you’ll want to make some homemade dough that will perfectly complement your favorite fruit (See Better Pie Crust blog for more tips and tricks):
Our favorite fruit pies
There’s nothing as American as apple pie, of course, but don’t discount other seasonal delicacies. One of my favorite lesser-known fruit pies is watermelon rind pie. You heard me right! By using watermelon rind, you achieve a sweet taste (actually quite similar to rhubarb) that will surprise your guests. (See our favorite rhubarb pie recipe below.)
I also love tart cherry pie. My family prefers—rather than dousing the cherries with sugar before baking—to allow their natural flavors to shine. I do this by limiting the amount of sugar I use in the recipe, or purchasing canned cherries that are labeled “no sugar added.” Pair this tart treat with vanilla ice cream and I promise you won’t miss the syrupy sweetness.
Another special treat is a pie I discovered while we lived “down South” for a time. Nothing beats a good citrus pie! Lemon meringue, key lime, and grapefruit—yes, grapefruit—are all delicious pies to enjoy.
If you’re hankering for a pie that calls for fruit not available locally, you’ll have to opt for canned or frozen varieties. Frozen fruit, though its nutritional and taste profiles are significantly lower than those of fresh fruit, can actually taste quite wholesome in a pie. Canned fruits are a good option too, but they often come in sugary syrups that can detract from the fruit’s natural flavor. Look for canned fruit with no sugar added. This way, you can add the sugar yourself and stay in control of your pie’s sweetness.
- 2 9-inch pie crusts (buy frozen or make your own)
- ¼ cup flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 cups apples, cored and sliced
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line bottom of pie pan with one pie crust, defrosted per package instructions (if using frozen).
Mix apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, and butter in large mixing bowl. Pour apple mixture into pie-lined pan. Top apple mixture and crust with second pie crust, defrosted per package instructions. Seal edges of two crusts together and flute. Cut 4-5 slits in top of top crust. Cover edge of crust with 3 inch strip of aluminum foil or use a pie crust protector. Place pie in oven and bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack for 2 hours before serving.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, chilled and diced
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 2-1/2 quarts fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed and divided
Chill all ingredients 30 minutes prior to making crust.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse sand. Stir in water, a tablespoon at a time, until comes together. Form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill thoroughly, up to overnight, before rolling out.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
On a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin, roll dough out to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Place crust in pie plate. Press the dough evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Flute the edges, if desired.
Line the crust with aluminum foil and add pie weights or dry beans. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven, and remove foil and pie weights. Cool in the pie pan on a wire rack until room temperature, before filling.
Using a potato masher, mash 2 cups strawberries. In a medium saucepan, combine mashed strawberries and water. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Press the strawberry mixture through a sieve into a bowl, and reserve 1 cup strawberry liquid. If necessary, add enough water to measure 1 cup.
In medium saucepan, combine 2/3 cup sugar and cornstarch in a pan. Whisk in strawberry liquid. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.
Pour small amount of strawberry mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pie crust. Arrange hulled and cleaned strawberries, stem sides down, in the crust. Pour remaining strawberry mixture over berries. Chill for at least 3 hours. Serve with whipped topping, if desired.
- 1 cup white sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 pound fresh rhubarb, chopped
- 2 pints fresh strawberries
- 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie (or use frozen)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
Preheat oven to 400 F
In a large bowl, mix flour and sugar. Add strawberries and chopped rhubarb. Toss with sugar and flour and let stand for 30 minutes.
Pour filling into pie crust. Dot top with butter, and cover with top crust. Seal edges of top and bottom crust with water.
Apply yolk to top of pie, using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut small holes in top to let steam escape.
Bake at 400 degrees F , for 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly and brown. Cool on rack. 8 servings
- 48 oz. water-packed sour cherries
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 2 cups reserved cherry juice
- 1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp almond extract
- 3/4 teaspoon red food coloring, optional
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Flaky Pie Pastry
- 3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup firm, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
- 7 to 8 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed
Flaky Pie Pastry
Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Chill for 15 minutes. Process for 5 seconds to blend.
Add half of the butter and shortening. Pulse 4 to 5 times, then process for 4 to 5 seconds. Add the remaining butter and shortening and pulse again 4 to 5 times, then process for 4 to 5 seconds. The mixture should have the texture of coarse meal and still contain some larger pieces of fat.
Empty the mixture into a large bowl. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, drizzling it around the side of the bowl. Use a kitchen fork to push the mixture toward the center with each addition.
With floured hands, press the dough against the side of the bowl forming two balls. All of the crumbs should adhere to the balls and clean the bowl. If not, add some additional water, a few drops at a time. Flatten the balls into two, 4 to 5-inch disks.
Dust the disks with flour, then score with side of your hand. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill 1/2 hour or longer before using. Will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. This recipe makes one double crust 10-inch pie.
Set a colander in a large bowl. Drain the cherries thoroughly. Reserve 2 cups of the juice. Line a baking sheet with double thickness of paper towels, and spread the cherries on the towels to dry.
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in the reserved cherry juice, stirring until smooth. Cook over med-low heat until the mixture comes to a boil and is thickened. Simmer for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Do not over mix. Blend in the lemon juice, almond extract, red food coloring, and butter; gently fold in the drained cherries. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Generously butter a 10-inch pie plate or pie dish. On a floured board, roll 1/2 of the pastry into a 15-inch circle. Line the pie plate loosely with the pastry. Trim the edges, leaving a generous 1/2-inch overhang. Spoon the cherry filling into the pan and smooth the surface.
The Lattice Top
Make a lattice top with the remaining pastry as follows: Roll pastry into a 14-inch circle. Using a pastry wheel, divide the pastry into ten 1-1/4-inch strips. Evenly space the pastry, starting with the longest strips in the center. Place 2 strips on either side of the center strip graduating the length as needed. Turn the pan 90 degrees and repeat process, again starting with the longest strip in the middle. Trim, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Turn the edges under and flute or crimp with a fork. Brush with ice water, then sprinkle with sugar. (See How to Do a Lattice Top video).
Tear two 3-inch strips of 18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil and mold them around the pie pan to cover the edge of the pastry. If necessary, use tape to hold the strips together. This will prevent it from burning.
Bake the pie for 50-60 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the juices start to bubble. (Place an 18-inch square of heavy-duty aluminum foil on the shelf below in case the juices run over.) Cool on a rack at least 3 hours before serving.
This recipe serves 8 to 10.
Recipe from All-Clad.com, Copyright 2007 by Carole Walter, CCP
Now that the Mini Pie Revolution is underway and Pie Making Bootcamp is completed, check out these pie-related blogs on CHEFS Mix for more:
- Mini Pies for Everyone!
- Uniquely delicious fruit pies
- Tropical Delight: Creamy Pies
- The Foundation for Every Memorable Pie
- Boot Camp for Pie Makers
Your turn: What are your favorite fruit pies? Do you have a hand-me-down recipe that’s been in the family for centuries?