Monday, June 20, 2011

Recipes Part 12: Mixed Berry Pie

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays because it combines two of my favorite things: food and hanging out with my family and friends. We typically have around 100 people at my parents’ farm for the holiday and festivities include launching the trebuchet parked in our horses' field, fireworks and amazing food brought by all our friends. So in honor of this holiday, the next four blog posts will be recipes for some July 4th classics that you can make with local, seasonal ingredients.

Because it’s fun, I’m going to start with dessert. Blueberries have been at the market for about a month but blackberries just showed up in the past week. Blackberries grow everywhere in North Carolina but prefer wet, boggy areas whereas blueberries are more of an orchard fruit. My dad routinely comes home from work this time of year, puts on his gross jeans and a bandana and heads out to his secret spots along the back roads near our farm.  During the three or four weeks when the berries are in, he will haul in gallons and gallons which we use on cereal, in pies and freeze for use later in the year. This is my mom's pie recipe which works with fresh blackberries or frozen ones that you’ve just pulled out of the freezer. Though I would usually pick my own, I haven’t had a chance this year and the Atherton Market has a couple vendors selling berries including Granjammers, Busy Berry Farm and Bell’s Best Berries.

Mixed Berry Pie (v, <5%)
2 quarts berries (any combination of blueberries and blackberries)
2 tablespoons corn starch or tapioca
½ cup sugar
1-2 tablespoons butter
2 pie crusts (one for the top, one for the bottom)
  1. Prepare crusts
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, combine berries, sugar and starch/tapioca
  3. Microwave for 6-8 minutes, stirring two or three times, or until starch and sugar are dissolved in berry juices
  4. Pour into bottom crust then place slices of butter over top of fruit
  5. Cover with second crust
  6. Bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes

Tip: Blueberries and blackberries are not in season for very long but luckily, they freeze very well so stock up on these gems now. Frozen berries make a great junk food alternative!

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