Tally ho! It’s pie season and the hunt is on for the best and tastiest and most mouthwatering concoctions your brain (and taste buds) can imagine. I just gotta say it’s about having the right mix of a flaky crust, fresh berries or whatever other fruit you just can’t resist and just enough thickening to hold the fruit in place but not overwhelm it.
If you can take the 10 minutes needed to make the from scratch kind, it’s worth the effort. Also, try not to overwork the crust dough; only mix it until it comes together into a ball. All-purpose flour is the best kind to use, and any solid shortening or a mixture of shortenings will do, except using just butter. Too much butter and the crust will be too greasy and brittle. I like using a pastry blender that makes putting the dough together a breeze, but the old-fashioned cutting the shortening into the dough with two knives method works just as well.
You will need about 4 cups of fresh fruit or 3 cups of cooked fruit for a 9-inch pie. Some tarter fruits will need more sugar added to the recipe to create the perfect balance of sweet and tart, others less, and don’t forget to add some lemon juice. It enhances the flavor of most berries. If your fruit has a lot of acid, I suggest you use tapioca, cornstarch or even arrowroot instead of flour, as the acid can negate the thickening ability of flour.
To make sure that the filling of your pie is set and won’t run, let the pie cool to room temperature or is still just slightly warm before you dig into it. I know that waiting those two or three hours will seem endless, but the sheer tasting bliss of a perfectly cut pie of pie topped with ice cream or whipped cream is so worth the wait.