Summer Berry Pie

Isn't summer glorious? The fruit, especially, seems especially jewel-like this year. And oh my, if fruity jewels don't glisten in this beautiful summer pie. It's an all-berry mix, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries ... though if you look carefully, some times I throw in some cherries too.

Summer Berry Pie ♥ KitchenParade.com, an all-berry pie with streusel topping. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries.

Ever heard a pie shout into the sun, “Glory, it’s summer!”?

SUMMER BERRY PIE does! Or at least you’ll think you hear such joyful exuberance with your first jewel-flavored bite.

This is pie unadorned: no cream, little sugar, a simple streusel topping. It’s so much about plump, ripe, luscious berries that even a crust hardly seems necessary.

And in fact, without the crust, the filling itself makes for a lovely fruit crumble, delicious served warm or chilled – and for almost half the calories!

My favorite blend for this pie is a half-pint each of raspberries and blackberries, two pints of blueberries and filled to the top with sweet strawberries. I make it only when the berries are at their very best – and importantly, also at their most plentiful and thus their cheapest.

For a special treat, top with vanilla ice cream or spiced whipped cream and serve with cold sweet tea.

HOW TO USE TAPIOCA FOR THICKENING FRUIT PIES If you've had tapioca pudding, you've had tapioca. But what the heck is it, anyway? Tapioca is a plant-based starch made from the roots of the cassava plant. It comes in three forms: tapioca pearls, instant tapioca and tapioca flour (some times called tapioca starch).

Tapioca, especially the already-ground tapioca flour, is great for thickening fruit pies, it thickens without adding flavor and without the gumminess of cornstarch or flour. Hands down, tapioca flour is my favorite thickener for fruit pies. (Update: you can buy tapioca flour on Amazon. What can't you buy on Amazon anymore?!)

But my usual grocery stores only carry instant tapioca! What's a pie baker to do?!

You see, instant and especially tapioca pearls don't always get enough liquid from a pie's fruit. So instead of dissolving as tapioca should, little bits of tapioca remain. If you've ever found hard little bits in a pie, it might well be tapioca that hasn't dissolved well. So before using instant tapioca, I run it through the food processor with the sugar, the two together process better than just tapioca alone. (I haven't tried this technique with tapioca pearls but suspect it would work as well. UPDATE A food processor does absolutely nothing to grind tapioca pearls into powder or flour. Yep, I tried. And tried. And tried.)

In 2016, I started baking a pie every Friday. Here's the story! We call it #PieDayFriday! I'd love to have you join the fun for a week, a month, a year, whatever you can manage!

ALANNA's TIPS When mixing the fruit, stir together the less-tender strawberries and blueberries first, then add the very tender raspberries and blackberries. If you prefer your own crust, choose a rich and sweet “short crust” and add the zest of a lemon for extra zing. You’ll want to prepare the crust while the fruit is macerating. If you’re particular about appearance, do allow time for Summer Berry Pie to set. I've learned to make pies early in the day, breakfast time isn't too early.

SUMMER BERRY PIE

Filling hands-on time: 15 minutes
Filling rest time: 45 minutes
Baking time: 55 minutes
Cooling & setting time: about 4 hours
Makes 1 deep dish pie
    BERRIES
  • 7 – 8 cups mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour or instant tapioca
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    TOPPING
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
    ASSEMBLE
  • 1 unbaked pie crust, homemade or refrigerated

BERRIES Wash the berries, draining excess water off in a colander. Cut large strawberries and blackberries into raspberry-sized pieces. In an eight-cup container, mix the sugar, tapioca and lemon zest. (For a smoother texture with instant tapioca, first run the sugar and instant tapioca through the food processor until fine. If you're using tapioca flour, skip the food processor step.) Then stir in the lemon juice. Add fruit to complete the eight cups and stir gently. Set the fruit aside to macerate for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally from the bottom.

TOPPING Blend the topping ingredients with a fork in a small bowl and set aside.

PREP THE OVEN Place an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven. Place a metal baking sheet upside down on that rack. Heat the oven to 425F/220C, the baking sheet will also get very hot. These extra steps help the bottom crust brown and crisp up.

ASSEMBLE Once the oven is hot, assemble the pie, working quickly so the fruits' juices don't soak into the crust. To assemble, prepare a pie crust as directed for in a deep-dish pie pan and spread the crust over the pan. With a slotted spoon, transfer the macerated fruit into the crust, leaving the juices behind. (Smoothie time!) Spread the Topping evenly over the Berries.

BAKE AT HIGH HEAT Place the pie on to the hot baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

REDUCE HEAT TO FINISH BAKING Reduce the oven temperature to 350F/180C and continue baking the pie for another 25 to 40 minutes (30 minutes is perfect in my oven). Watch the color, if the crust or the streusel begin to brown too much, gently and loosely cover the top with foil. The pie is done when the crust is brown and crisp and the filling is hot and thick with bubbles.

COOL Transfer pie to a rack and cool for at least three hours to set. Refrigerate the pie to continue setting the filling.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice, assumes 10: 286 Calories; 13g Tot Fat; 6g Sat Fat; 11mg Cholesterol; 35mg Sodium; 41g Carb; 4g Fiber; 20g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 6 & PointsPlus 8 & SmartPoints 13

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite pie recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna