Summer is here, time for pie! Why choose between all the wonderful summer fruit at the farmstand when you can use them all?
I make a birthday pie for my mom’s July birthday every year (since she quite logically prefers pie over cake), which means I get to make use of all the best summer fruit! It also means that I designed this recipe to work no matter what combination of summer stone fruits and berries that you want to use. Pick whatever fruit looks best at your farmer’s market (as finding ripe fruit at a grocery store is almost impossible) – just make sure you end up with about 5-6 cups of fruit. Only a half cup of sugar allows the summer fruit flavor to really shine through!
Summer Peach Berry Pie
Peel your peaches, but leave the skins on if you use nectarines or plums. For peaches, avoid crushing or pulping them by first cutting the peaches in half along the seam, gently twisting the halves apart, and scooping out the pit before peeling them. Make sure you thoroughly rinse and pick through your berries; dry them fully before using. This recipe uses both flour and cornstarch to contain all the flavorful juice that will come out of the fruit, sort of a Goldilocks approach – too much of one or the other results in an overly firm and gummy pie, but together is juuuust right!
I make my pie crusts by hand, as I find that results in a more flaky and tender crust, but if you want to use a food processor, don’t over mix the butter!, you want it to be in small grainy pieces before adding the water. I had never run into the “soggy bottom” phenomenon before “The Great British Bake Off” because I always bake my pies until the center filling is bubbling, which is the key to getting the bottom crust fully baked. So don’t worry if your pie takes longer to bake than expected, every oven if different. I also am not concerned if some of the juice bubbles out of the top crust, it makes the pie look properly homemade!
For the Crust
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 6-7 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling
- 5 small peaches (about 1 1/2 cups), peeled and cut into 1″ slices
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 cup blackberries
- 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Zest of 1/2 of a lemon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Egg wash of 1 egg beaten together with a splash of water
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together. Cut the cold cubes of butter into the flour using a pastry blender (or two butter knives used like scissors) until the butter is mostly blended but small pieces remain. Sprinkle 5 tablespoons of ice water all over the mix and continue cutting in with the pastry blender until the crust forms a dough, adding more ice water one tablespoon at a time as needed to make a dough that holds together when pressed.
Turn the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and use the edges of the wrap to press the dough together into a firm ball. If there are any persistent cracks in the ball of dough, firmly mush them together with your fingers to get the dough to mix a bit more and adhere together. Divide the dough ball in half and shape each half into a smooth disc. Securely wrap each disc individually in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the butter to resolidify and the flour to hydrate.
Before putting together the filling, roll out each disc of dough on a lightly floured counter, making sure to turn and flip the dough to avoid sticking.
For the top crust, roll out the dough into a large rectangle that is about 1/8” thick. Transfer to a plastic wrap covered baking sheet by loosely rolling the sheet of dough around your rolling pin and unrolling it onto the baking sheet. Cover with more plastic wrap and refrigerate while rolling out the bottom crust.
For the bottom crust, roll out the second disc of dough to 1/8” thickness and a large enough round to fit into your pie plate with at least 1″ overhang. Transfer to the pie plate. Make sure to get the dough into the bottom corners of the plate by gently lifting the edge of the dough and letting it slump into the corner, working around the plate and then gently pressing the dough into the corner with soft fingers. Trim any excess but leave at least 1″ overahang.
Once the bottom crust is ready, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cut the top crust into 1/2“-1” strips depending on what look you want for the lattice top (you can vary the strip sizes and pattern, as I did in the picture above, or thicker strips are more rustic), recover, and return to the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Preheat the oven to 425º F.
Combine the sliced peaches, blueberries, blackberries, and cherries in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk both sugars, flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, and salt together. Sprinkle the dry mixture over the fruit in a large bowl. Add lemon zest and toss gently, but make sure that the dry mix evenly coats all the fruit and no dry ingredients collect in the bottom of the bowl.
Spoon the filling mixture into the bottom pie crust, mounding the filling higher in the center and making sure to evenly distribute the different fruits throughout the pie. Evenly press the raspberries on the top of the pie filling. Cut the tablespoon of butter into small cubes and evenly dot over the top of the pie filling.
To weave the lattice over the top of the fruit filling, start with two strips of crust crossed perpendicularly in the middle of the pie and add one strip at a time spaced about 1″ apart, weaving over-under to form a lattice and working in both directions over the top of the pie. Trim the excess length off the strips of crust, leaving about an inch overhang. If the bottom crust feels a little dry, brush wet fingertips over just the edge to help the two crusts adhere.
Fold the lattice strip ends and the overhanging bottom crust under and press together, keeping the edge on top of the lip of the pie pan. You should make three passes working around the edge of the crust: the first time to fold the crust under, the second time around to even out the height and thickness of the lip of crust, and the third time to flute the crust.
You can use whatever fluting method you prefer, but the signature fluting style I learned from my grandmother is to gently pinch the crust between the thumb and forefinger of both hands about 1/8” apart, lightly pull your fingers hand toward the center of the pie just about 1/8” and push your left hand away from the center pie an equal amount, then lightly push your clasped fingers together towards each other, and release.
Refrigerate the pie for 20 minutes to firm up the crust. Brush the egg wash evenly over the lattice top and fluted edge.
Bake on the middle rack at 425° F for 15 minutes then reduce the oven to 350º F and continuing baking for at least another 45 minutes. The pie is done when the very center of the filling is bubbling energetically. Do not take the pie out before then! Each oven is different, so your pie may take longer to finish. If the juices start bubbling out of the top, place a cooking sheet under the rack where the pie is baking to avoid any burning drips. If the edges of the crust start getting too dark before the center bubbles, place a circle of aluminum foil over the edge of the crust.
Allow pie to cool for at least one hour, but ideally longer, to allow the filling (and all it’s lovely juices) to get firm enough to cut without seeping. Enjoy alone or with your favorite non-dairy ice cream or whipped topping!