As summer drags on, fruit season has picked up (despite record droughts in much of the country). Fresh peaches, berries and yes, even apples, crowd both the farmer’s market and the grocery store. With all of this fruit around what is one to do? Personally I’m not the type to approach fruit with a distant eye; I’m like a kid in a candy store. For me, impulse buying copious amounts of fruit is as natural as it is for others to buy shoes, but sometimes I end up with more than I can chew. I find pie and other pastries — or preserves, which I made earlier in the summer — a good way to preserve the abundance of fruit I have lying around for a few extra days. Alas, baking a hot pastry dish might not be everyone’s first thought of a fun afternoon when the heat is peaking. Visions of Slip ’N Slides are far more prevalent than sugar plums. Why did I have the gumption to bake during this hellishly hot D.C. summer? With the Fourth of July arriving, I wanted to make something special for my household’s small brunch. Call baking in 100+ degree heat self-torment if you might, but I don’t think self-torment comes with a buttery-crusted reward. My pie of choice for the 4th was a strawberry and blueberry summer mix. For those who feel challenged by baking pie, don’t worry. It’s actually quite easy, and I’m not one to always follow instructions. This pie would please even Goldilocks — it came out just right!
Summer Strawberry-Blueberry Pie:
1. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Mix. Add butter and continue to mix. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If the crumbly dough holds when pinched, it’s ready. Add more water if it isn’t wet enough.
2 Remove dough from machine and place in a mound. Separate into two balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour if you’re patient… or as soon as they feel cold if you aren’t.
3. Roll one dough ball out and put into a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate.
4. For the filling: Place cleaned/hulled strawberries and blueberries in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup flour and 1 tablespoon cornstarch together. Gently coat berries with this mixture. Pour berries into prepared pie crust, mounding them in the middle. Mounding is necessary because the berries will sink as they bake.
5. Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently place on top of the filling. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger, or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, or poke using a fork.
6. Bake pie in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 40 minutes. When there are 10 minutes left of baking, sprinkle a little extra sugar on top if you so choose and you’ve got a pie!