A Simple Berry Pie with Whole Wheat Crust
August 14, 2014 § 1 Comment
Let’s consider this pie just a first of many, okay? A pie to get the conversation going. I plan to make a lot more and share them here with you, because of all the foods I routinely make, pie-making is the ritual I love the most. I love that you only need a few ingredients to churn one out (some flours, a fat, fruits, the juice of a lemon, and a sweetener will do it), and how meditative rolling out the dough can be. The fruit always glistens when tossed with sugar and lemon juice, and when the pie comes out of the oven, if you didn’t do a perfect job rolling it out or forgot a top, you can just call it rustic. It feels to me like a true transformation.
Perhaps this is why, even though I associate pie with all good things, like summer, holidays, and family vacations (I made the pie pictured above here in the Vineyard), I often make one (or two) when things feel hard. It’s methodical and reliable when other things in life may not be. Of course, you can also just make a pie because you picked up some nice fruit or need a dessert for a potluck. But, if you need a pick-me-up, might I suggest rolling up your sleeves and getting down to some pie-making?
This crust was shared with me by my friend Liz and it’s become my go-to. It uses vegetable oil instead of butter. I’m pretty sensitive to butter so this is a bonus for me, but it also makes it easier to pull together. No need to worry about keeping your butter ice cold, and I promise the crust is still flaky. I also love that it has some history-it’s the original Wesson Oil recipe. If making pie dough from scratch feels intimidating to you, I promise this is one you can handle. Remember, you can always call it a rustic tart if it doesn’t come out perfectly.
I have adapted the crust by using a variety of flours, but my go-to simplest form uses half all purpose flour and half whole wheat. Since this is just a pie to get us started, I’ve used that version here. You can of course fill your pie with any fruit you have; the first pies I made were berry pies, so I’ve used a mix of fresh berries here.
If you plan on making a lot of pies, might I suggest securing a pretty pie plate? I have two from my grandma that have some nice heft to them as well as some simple but really nice designs, that seem to add to the pick-me-up effect of pie making. I love this one and this one, but maybe someone in your family has a nice one to pass onto you?
A Simple Berry Pie with Whole Wheat Crust
For the Crust
Adapted from The Boston Globe
Note: I find this recipe doesn’t quite make enough crust for a full top and bottom if you have a larger pie pan (the recipe here was originally designed for a 9 inch pie plan). I don’t mind if the top crust doesn’t cover the filling completely, but you can always double the recipe to ensure you have enough, or following instructions and use a 9 inch pie pan. If you double it, you can use any leftovers to make a mini pie in a ramekin.
I don’t like my pie fillings to be overly sweet, and very much dial down the sugar as compared to most recipes. If you like sweeter pies, you could safely double and even triple the sweetener amounts below, or just top with some ice cream when serving.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
generous 1/4 cup milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
4 1/2 cups fresh berries (a combination of blackberries, raspberries, thinly sliced strawberries, and/or blueberries)
1/4 cup cornstarch (or flour, if you don’t have cornstarch on hand. You just need something to absorb the fruit juices).
Juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
Make the Crust:
- Pour just over 1/2 cup of vegetable oil into a liquid measuring cup.
- Pour in the milk so you end up with just over 3/4 cup liquid–I find adding an extra splash or two of milk beyond the 1/4 cup called for above helps the dough come together better. Do not stir.
- In a large bowl, add the flours and salt and mix.
- Pour the entire liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients.
- Use a rubber spatula to combine the wet and dry ingredients. If the dough feels dry, add a splash or two more of milk. If the dough feels wet, you are on the right track!
- Clear off your counter and wet it with a damp cloth or paper towel. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper down on the counter (the water helps the paper to stick).
- Place two thirds of the dough on the parchment paper and place another piece of parchment paper on top.
- Using a rolling pin, or heavy water glass (yep, you guessed it, I still don’t own a real rolling pin), roll the dough into as much of a circle as you can, about 1/8 inch thick. Don’t worry if its not perfect, we’re going for rustic, remember?!
- Remove the top piece of parchment paper from the dough slowly (The Globe smartly recommends working from the edges to the center. I throw caution to the wind and just pick a side of the crust to start with).
- Bring a 9 inch pie pan (or whatever size you have) close to you, and in one fell swoop, slide your hand under the dough and bottom piece of parchment and flip it over into the pie dish as best you can. Remove the parchment paper.
- If you lost a few pieces, do not worry– you can use your fingers to push the dough back into any holes or recycle it for the top crust.
- Roll out the remaining dough for the top crust in the same fashion. You can let it sit on the parchment paper while you prepare the filling. I find that this dough does well at room temperature.
Make the Filling:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine the filling ingredients in a bowl and toss gently to combine.
Prepare the Pie:
- Pour the filling into the pie dish. Spread out the fruit evenly.
- Remove the top piece of parchment paper on the top crust, and flip the top crust onto the pie in the same way you did the bottom crust. Use your fingers to piece together any holes, but don’t worry if the top crust doesn’t cover the pie completely.
- If your top crust does cover the pie nicely and the ends meet the bottom crust, you can use a fork to press the top and bottom crusts together.
- Slice a few vents in the top crust with a knife.
- Wrap the edges of the crust with strips of foil to prevent burning. I don’t get too perfectionistic about this, just do your best. You can also use a pie protector. My mom gave me this one and it works well.
- Bake with the foil or pie protector for 25 minutes, and then 15-20 minutes without. The pie is done when the crust is golden brown.
Serve with ice cream. Eat leftovers for breakfast with a hearty portion of Greek yogurt.