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Bring on the berries – It’s pie season

Bill Freehling's berry pie can be made with blueberries, blackberries or raspberries.

We are right in the middle of summer berry season. Farmers markets and pick-your-own farms are bursting with raspberries and blackberries right now, and blueberries are coming along soon.

We eat a lot of berries in our house, and they don’t need much adornment when they are picked at their peak and eaten soon after, but one preparation we always look forward to is a blueberry pie my husband makes. This year, he’s been experimenting with other berries in this pie. We recently took a family berry-picking trip to Moss Mill Berry Farm in Caroline County and came back with a big bucket of blackberries. The blackberry pie turned out so well that he decided to try raspberries.

Each berry lends a slightly different texture to this dessert (which we like to eat topped with whipped cream). The blueberries have thicker skins than the other berries and hold up best in the mixing. The blackberries are a little more delicate and blend a little more with the cooked part of the filling. The raspberries are the most delicate of all. Most of them blend into the filling, making it more homogenous, so my husband added fresh berries on top at the very end to keep some of that fresh berry feel in the dessert.

Here’s the recipe, which is hand-written on the inside cover of a cookbook my husband has carried around since he graduated from college. The recipe was a favorite of his that his mother used to make when he was younger. If you find yourself with an abundance of berries, give it a try. We think the pie would be delicious (and beautiful) with a mix of all three, but that will have to wait until another day…

Summer berry pie

Ingredients

Crust:

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

3 tablespoons sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

Filling:

1 quart blueberries, blackberries or raspberries (if using raspberries, you will want about a half-pint to a pint extra for topping the finished pie)

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons corn starch

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

Method:

Make the crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine graham crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in melted butter until blended.

Pack mixture into a 9-inch pie pan and press firmly to bottom and sides, bringing crumbs up to the rim in an even layer. Bake 8 minutes and allow to cool before filling.

Wash berries.

Mix 1 cup berries, sugar, corn starch, salt and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook until mixture thickens.

Allow to cool a bit, then add butter and the rest of the berries (If making with raspberries, hold off on adding your extra pint until the pie is assembled.).

Pour berry mixture into crust and chill for at least an hour before serving. If using raspberries, place extra berries on top of pie after filling. This pie will get better the longer it sits in the refrigerator, as the mixture thickens and soaks into the crust a little.

Serve with whipped cream.

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