People say something is “easy as pie” but I think they mean “easy as eating a piece of pie, right? Because most of us are pie-challenged.
But there’s good news–it doesn’t have to be that way. As Dr. Reese Powell, the main character of Between You & Me discovers, making a pie can be easy, and also a way to bring joy and comfort to someone you care about.
As a doctor, Reese discovers that you can’t fix everything, but you can certainly make somebody a delicious pie, and sometimes, that’s what the moment calls for. In the book, she uses an old-fashioned pie fluter–but that’s just getting fancy. Your own two hands will do.
FRESH BERRY PIE
This one turns out right every time. You can use most berries in season—blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries–or a combination if you can’t decide.
- 4 cups fresh berries, stemmed, washed, and drained
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1⁄4 cup minute (“instant”) tapioca–needed for thickening
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 prepared double pie crust (Note: The ones that come pre-rolled in a box are wonderful and won’t break your heart.)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 beaten egg
- 2 tablespoons turbinado or other coarse sugar for sprinkling on the top
- PREHEAT oven to 400°F.
- Place the bottom crust in a 9-inch pie pan, prick the bottom, and put it in the oven to partially bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Toss blueberries (and other berries if using) with sugar, tapioca, lemon juice, almond extract and cinnamon until evenly coated.
- Let stand 15-30 minutes. Don’t forget to take the crust out of the oven.
- Fill the pie pan with the berry mixture.
- Dot top of pie with butter.
- Cover top with second pie crust.
- Seal and flute the edges. Brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Cut slits in top crust; don’t be afraid to get creative with fanciful shapes.
- Place a square of foil on bottom oven rack (to catch spills) and place the pie on the sheet. Using the bottom rack ensures the bottom crust will bake as nicely as the top.
- BAKE 50 minutes to an hour, or until you see slowly-bursting bubbles coming through the vent holes.
- Cool completely before slicing (this is the hard part), then serve with crème fraiche, whipped cream, ice cream, or wolf it down as is.
Note to readers :: Between You & Me will be published on June 26. You can order a signed copy here or here. It’s also available in hardcover, digital, or audio wherever books are sold. And as always, it’s available in any format, free of charge, at your local library.