Out West and Cherry Berry Pie

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A trip out west, some Daytrotting, a puppy named Garp, bug bites, a dilapidated farmhouse turned art gallery, a rock and roll show in a barn, and a family reunion capped off with a cherry berry pie that was baked in an unfamiliar kitchen then served to familiar folks, with this no-churn ice cream and devoured in seconds. Where is your summer taking you? I'd love to hear.

Cherry Berry Pie

Sweet cherries and tart berries are combined to make this super summery pie. I used my favorite pie crust recipe, but feel free to use your own favorite recipe if you have one.

For the Crust

This crust comes to you from Brandi Henderson of I made that! and The Pantry at Delancey where she teaches a class called "How to be a Pie Ninja" and she is not messing around. Brandi uses a technique called fraisage which creates long sheets of buttery flakes throughout the dough instead of little pockets of butter. Delightful!

12 oz pastry flour

8 oz cold butter

4 oz ice water

1t apple cider vinegar

1/2t salt

1. Mix the flour and salt together, then pour the whole lot on a large cutting board or countertop.

2. With a bench scraper, cut in half of the butter until it is the size of lima beans, then cut in the other half of the butter until it is the size of quarters. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water.

3. Using your fingers, flick the water on to the butter flour mixture and gently fold it in with your bench scraper. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together without it falling apart.

4. Then, get this, you smear the butter into the dough. With the heel of your hand push a section of the dough down and away from you. Congratulations, you have just created a sheet of butter which is going to turn delicious flaky crust. Scrape your sheet off of the board and place it in a bowl to the side. Repeat until you have worked through all of the dough, pushing it down and away from you in sections. Once you've gone through all of the dough gently remove it from the bowl, press it together, then split it in half, and wrap each half in plastic wrap and form into a disk. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using. I chilled mine overnight.

If this sounds confusing, check out the link above for a really helpful photo tutorial.

For the Filling

1 pint blueberries

1 pint blackberries

2 pints sweet cherries, pitted and roughly chopped

2-4 ounces sugar, depending on the sweetness of your fruit

zest of one lemon

2T lemon juice

1.25 ounces flour

1/2t almond extract

pinch salt

pinch freshly grated nutmeg

For the Topping

1 egg, beaten

A few tablespoons of coarse sugar like turbinado or light demerara

To Assemble and Bake

Preheat oven to 450º

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough into a 12'' circle about 1/8'' thick and place it into a 9 or 10 inch pie pan. Place in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the pie.

2. Roll out the other piece of dough into a 12'' circle about 1/8'' thick and place it in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.

3. In a large bowl,  combine the fruit, sugar, lemon zest and juice, flour, almond extract, salt and nutmeg. Toss gently to combine. Fill the prepared pie shell with the berry mixture and top with the second crust, crimp the edges and cut a few vents. Alternately, you can top the pie with a lattice-style crust as I've done in the photo above. Here is a link to a great photo tutorial on Simply Recipes. When I make a lattice topped pie, I like to use nice thick strips of dough, the strips pictured above are about 1'' wide.

4. If the crust seems soft or warm, slide the whole pie into the fridge or freezer for about 15min before you bake it. When you are ready to bake brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkle with a healthy dose of coarse sugar.

5. Put the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 15min on the lowest rack of your oven, then lower the oven temp to 350º and bake for 40-50min or until the crust is deep golden brown and the berry juices bubble. Cool at least 2 hours before serving, preferably more.