Sunday, July 26, 2009

Going Out With a Bang

Our Summer growing season this year has, in no uncertain terms, sucked the big one. We got off to a crawling start - if you could even call it that with the frigid temperatures and heavy rain - in early July when the first tiny, quick to spoil strawberries peeked out, and we've just moved into the cherry season, without much of a blueberry or raspberry crop to speak of. The perfectly ripe peaches, with so much juice in them you got a bath in each bite, are still nowhere to be found around me! Even the veggies in our backyard are feeling the blow, our once-lush tomato bushes and bean stalks are now only bearing one or two immature fruits each, while our zucchini and corn plants look like we just planted them! We're crossing our fingers for a nice, warm and sunny August, because I can't take much more of this faux Summer!

We did give in to "the man" and the hiked prices of berries at the market, though - weather or no, it just isn't Summer without a handful of the sweet gems! Unfortunately I was pretty unimpressed with the out of hand quality this year - the blueberries were a bit too sour, the blackberries completely blnd and the raspberries were delicious but way too mushy. The rest of the household seemed to be silently echoing my thoughts, as the baskets of fruit proceeded to sit in the fridge untouched save for an occasional sneak of a berry or two. I knew they were nearing their "time", though, and disappointing or not I did not want to be throwing out the local (and expensive) berries. So I did the next best thing - I hauled out a block of pie dough and a bagful of mixed berries from last year that I had stashed in my freezer and made pie with the suckers!

The crust turned out to be one of the most tender and fragile ones I had made, using no all-purpose flour but instead a mixture of whole wheat, Kamut and buckwheat. The low gluten content in the resulting crust made it awfully sticky to roll out in the beginning - until a light went on and I began rolling it between sheets of waxed paper. This also had the double effect of preventing excess flour getting worked into the dough, and a tough cardboardy baked product. The frozen berries I added to the fresh ones definitely amped up the complexity of the flavours along with a dash of almond extract to bring out the nuttiness of the dough. I didn't want to add too much sugar (no one in my family likes sweet pies, and our apple pies are always unsweetened!) so I cut down the amount listed in my favourite church cookbook (1 cup!) to a paltry third and added tapioca flour instead of cornstarch to prevent any filling separation issues.

The resulting pie was smelling heavenly as it baked away, and it didn't look half bad either once it came out! I sent it off with my dad to enjoy at his trailer on the weekend and was given the thumbs up from the tastebuds there!

This is going to be the last pie of the season for us, I think - without any real produce bounty to speak of, anything good that we get is for enjoying out of hand!

Triple-Play Pie
Serves 12
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup Kamut flour
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
4 - 5 tbsp cold water
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup superfine sugar
16 oz sliced strawberries
6 oz fresh blueberries
11 oz fresh blackberries
15 oz frozen mixed berries
1/2 tsp almond extract
  1. In a bowl, whisk together flours and salt.
  2. Cut the shortening in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. 1 tbsp at a time, gradually add water until a dough forms (you may not need it all).
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead 1-2 times to bring the mixture together, then wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 425F with the rack in the bottom position.
  6. Roll out pastry, fitting half into a deep 9" pie pan.
  7. Combine the tapioca flour and sugar.
  8. Combine all the fruit and the extract in a large bowl and sprinkle the tapioca mixture overtop. Toss well and allow to sit 10 minutes.
  9. Pour the berry mixture over the bottom crust.
  10. Roll out remaining pastry and drape over the filling, crimp the edges with a fork to seal.
  11. Place pie on a baking sheet and cut 3-4 slits in the top crust for steam.
  12. Bake pie on the bottom rack of the oven for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and cook for another 45 minutes, until browned and bubbling.
  13. Allow to cool thoroughly - at least 6 hours - before slicing.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 234.2
Total Fat: 11.9 g
Cholesterol: 6.3 mg
Sodium: 5.1 mg
Total Carbs: 31.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 5.4 g
Protein: 2.7 g


  1. Sorry to hear that your harvest has been so disappointing! The weather has been lousy all over the northeast and I'm glad New York is having a mostly typical summer. Your pie looks really tasty though! My mom always rolled pie dough between wax paper, too - hers is also olive oil based so it gets STICKY.

  2. Yep, you've described my garden, there. Horrible this year! But I think your pie makes up for it.

  3. Wow, I can almost smell that pie from here. I'm really surprised with our weird summer weather that our garden has done as well as it has.

  4. Loving the amount of fruit you piled in your pie! Delicious.

  5. my personal harvest, in my backyard, has been dismal. But fortunately, the stores and farmer's markets have been ok. We did get cherries from Washington, but they were tasty and I froze a couple batches for cherry pie later this year. Might do the same with blueberries if I can get my hands on a bunch...

  6. So sorry about your harvest. The NorthWest harvest has been very good this year. You can order fruit from these different locations or order yourself fruit baskets. Your pie looks so good.


Thanks for the feedback!