Red Berry Pie — Version 1.0

Author’s Note: I’ve updated and perfected this recipe! After reading the post below, please see Red Berry Pie — Version 2.0!

Last week I was basking on pluffy cloud nine after baking my first pie. I guess I needed a reality check, because the very next day I decided to give pie-making another go with considerably less amazing results. I wish I could share what I baked this weekend with you instead! It was the Daring Bakers challenge, and I’m giddy with the recipe and results. Unfortunately, I must save that until the 27th of the month, so for now, I present . . . failpie.

Well, that’s a little harsh. This is only a failure of texture/appearance, not taste. I was pleased as punch with the crust, and the strawberry and raspberry combination was perfectly tangy and sweet. With a dollop of homemade whipped cream on the whole concoction, it was actually a satisfying dessert. Mike and his dad even preferred it to the peach pie! When it comes down to it, the only problem with this pie was the texture of the filling. Sadly, the words “mushy” and “runny” are apt here. But even that, as it turns out, may have a relatively simple solution.

Ugly but tasty!

There are a few main reasons fruit pies can be runny (I did some research using the list of pie tips on DianasDesserts, as well as several other sites). The filling may not be cooked long enough. The fruit may have required more of a thickening agent (cornstarch, tapioca, and flour are common). But in my case, I don’t think the recipe was the culprit (it was from the cornstarch folks, for goodness’ sake). No, I’m guessing it was something even simpler; that is, the cooling time. Fruit pies need to be completely cool before being cut, and that can require up to four hours. Did I let my pie cool for four hours? Of course not. I didn’t plan four whole hours into my busy Sunday schedule! In fact, my pie barely sat for half an hour before I had to pack it up and head to dinner at Mike’s sister’s beautiful new home. What did I expect?!

Maybe we’ll just call it a cobbler? How’s that?

I do think you should make this pie, but with a couple of changes. First, some people recommend cooking your fruit with the thickening agent on the stove before filling your pie, thus ensuring the proper thickness. That sounds like a better idea than piling it all in the crust and hoping for the best, now doesn’t it? Second, you should use more berries than I did. I wanted my pie to be stuffed, but I was a little low on fruit this time around. Finally, of course, let your pie cool! Plan ahead and don’t be hasty.

I’m posting the recipe below as I used it, but feel free to tinker with the above aspects. I think this is going to be a real winner with a little work. I’ll have to let you know when I give it another shot.

Red Berry Pie, version 1

Recipe By:

Hodgson Mills (pie filling, adapted by me)
-Ina Garten (whipped cream)
-Me (crust)

Yields: One 9-inch, double-crust pie

Crust Ingredients:
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup cold lard (non-hydrogenated if available)*
3/4 cup cold butter, chopped
6-8 tablespoons cold water
sugar (to sprinkle on before baking)
*you can substitute vegetable shortening here if you wish, but I highly recommend the lard!

Filling Ingredients:
1 pints of fresh or frozen raspberries
1 pound fresh strawberries
1 1/4 cup sugar
tiny pinch of salt
4 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Egg Wash Ingredients:
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Whipped Cream Ingredients:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (or flavoring of your choice)


Pulse flour and salt together to combine. Add scoops of lard and pulse into the mixture has the texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Add in chunks of butter and pulse until butter pieces are no larger than small peas, about 10 pulses. Add minimum amount of water and pulse on low. If dough remains crumbly and doesn’t come together, add another 2 tablespoons of water. Add as little as is required to enable the dough to be rolled into a ball. Form the dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Roll one disk of dough out to around 2 inches larger than your pie plate and transfer it, situating it in the plate. Trim the excess flush with the edge of the pie plate.

Mix filling: In a large bowl, gently toss raspberries and strawberries together with sugar. Add cornstarch, raspberry extract and orange juice. Spoon into prepared pie shell bottom. Dot with butter.

Roll the other dough disk out to about 1 inch larger than your pie plate. Situate it over the filling, tucking the edges of the top dough behind the edge of the bottom dough and crimping the edges. Use excess dough to add dough cutouts to top of pie if desired (I made a heart).

In a small bowl, beat cream and egg yolk together for egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush the surface of the top pie crust (can sprinkle lightly with sugar if you desire). Cut vents in the top crust. Shield crimped edges of pie (and any dough cutouts) with foil. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and place on lower third of oven. Bake 15 minutes, reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake until juices are bubbling through vents and pastry is browned, another 25-30 minutes. For the last 15 minutes, remove foil shielding. Allow pie to cool completely (around 4 hours minimum).

Serve with vanilla ice cream or homemade whipped cream. To make homemade whipped cream, mix all ingredients together until soft peaks are obtained.

The pie all foil-shielded and baking its heart out.

I can almost hear the tiny pie voice imploring, “Let me cool!” Alas.



Filed under pies and tarts

13 responses to “Red Berry Pie — Version 1.0

  1. I know exactly what you mean-I always cut into hte pie when it’s hot, as I love warm pastry and waiting 4 hours when you can smell that gorgeous pie has got to be the hardest thing ever. It looks amazing and I can’t wait to see your DB results too! 😉

    • Julie

      Ha, yes! I can be so impatient when it comes to food 🙂

      Thanks, Lorraine! I look forward to seeing your DB challenge as well!

  2. I have a hard time letting a pie cool too! Well and bread and cakes and cookies too! Your pie looks perfect!

    • Julie

      I know, right? I’m telling you, I was burning my fingers and tongue eating my Daring Bakers challenge recipe fresh out of the oven!!

      Thanks, Barbara!

  3. Kim

    You’re pie sounds delicious! I just read in a professional baking textbook that there’s a starch compound usually added to strawberries before baking to preserve taste and texture. I can’t remember the name of it, but if you’re interested let me know. Maybe next time you won’t have to worry about letting your pie cool before digging in!

    • Julie

      Thank you, Kim! I would love to know. I wonder if it’s xantham gum, by any chance? I see the contestants on Top Chef using that sometimes 😀 It’d be nice to dig right into a warm pie!

  4. Pingback: Red Berry Pie — Version 2.0 « Willow Bird Baking

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  7. I don’t know why I stopped getting your posts by e-mail, but I am subscribing again.

    Just wanted you to know that my 10 year old granddaughter made this pie and came in second in a pie contest. Thought I would share with you.

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