Summer Berry Pie Recipe (Gluten-Free)
Summer is peeping in just around the corner, and it's usually around this time that I feel in need of a-little-something sweet and fruity and oh, so summery.
I've concocted a berry pie recipe this week that was such a joy to make—and an even bigger one to eat! Successful pie-making can seem like a daunting feat to even the heartiest baker, but today I'm bringing all the top-tips and old-fashioned advice that will make your pie-making endeavors easy as....well, pie. And what's more, this recipe uses a gluten-free pie crust. Say goodbye to the fear of your GF pie dreams being dashed by hard-to-manipulate dough!
Follow me step-by-step through the making of the pie, and then download the PDF printable recipe at the bottom of the post for you to keep and reference!
Shall we get started?
The Gluten-Free Crust
The gluten-free pie crust is scrumptious to the point where I think I prefer it to regular pie crust. I've found that when it comes to GF flour, it's all about brand and base. I used Bob's Red Mill pancake flour for this pie crust—as I use for all my GF crusts, after much experimentation with other brands—and the result is crunchy, flaky, light and delicious. For my pie crust, I add the GF pancake flour, sugar, and salt, whisk it together, then grate the cold butter into the mixture with my cheese-grater. If you've struggled with making pie crust, this will make your efforts so much easier. You'll be amazed at how quickly the dough comes together.
I then use a hand-held pastry blender to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture. You can use a food processor if you wish, but I really enjoy the full control hand-blending gives me. If you don't have a pastry blender, you can use a fork in each hand instead. The butter is fully incorporated when the mixture resembles coarse meal, roughly pea-size.
I then add ice water to the mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time. The amount of water needed to bring the dough together varies on the consistency of the dough and the weather outside. If it's humid and rainy, you may need to use more water. Use as much as your dough needs, bringing it together with your hands into a ball. Cut the dough in half, and shape into two round disks. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour. I gave mine about 2.
Assembling the Berry Filling
When the dough has chilled, take one disk out to soften for ten minutes. In this time, we'll go ahead and combine the berry filling ingredients. My berry pie contains blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, with a little lemon juice and zest, sugar, and cornstarch to put it all together. Gently combine and set aside.
Frozen or fresh berries?
I used both in my recipe, as I had fresh blackberries, and frozen blueberries and strawberries. If you're using all fresh, you will use the smaller amount of cornstarch as directed in the recipe. This is because frozen berries have a tendency to make a juicy mess when combined or handled, and require more thickening as a result. Because I had both frozen and fresh berries, I used the larger amount of cornstarch. If you're at all using any frozen berries, I recommend the same. You'll be able to tell what's needed when you combine the filling, whether it's extremely runny and juicy and needs a little more oomph. Don't expect the cornstarch to immediately thicken your filling! The thickening agent will only begin to work when your pie is baking in the oven!
I brought out and measured my frozen berries an hour before using to thaw them a little. You can do this while your dough-disks are chilling. Before you combine your filling ingredients, you'll want to chop the strawberries into fours. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to do this! It's absolutely no-fuss.
Assembling the Crust
We're now ready to start rolling out the pie-crust dough. Using the disk we took out of the fridge to soften, flatten and roll out with a rolling-pin until dough is between 1/8" and 1/4" flat, and the circumference extends an inch and a half beyond the size of your pie tin. Set in tin, leaving the excess edges for now, and carefully mold the dough into the sides and bottom of pie tin. Use half of the egg wash as directed, coating the bottom of the pie crust with a pastry brush or small spatula.
Dough sticking? Be sure to coat your rolling pin in flour (gluten-free!) repeatedly, and sprinkle the surface under the dough. If you're still having a hard time, I have a special trick for you. Take out a piece of parchment paper, sprinkle with flour, and roll out your dough on the paper. Sticking resolved! When it comes time to turn the dough into the pie tin, slide a cookie sheet under the parchment paper (dough on top), set pie tin on top of dough, just where you want it, and flip with one hand under cookie sheet and one on top of the tin, just as though you're turning a Bundt cake out of its pan. Voila! Peel back the parchment paper to reveal your perfect, non-stick crust sitting flawlessly in your pie tin.
Take out the other disk of dough from the fridge and let soften for 10 minutes.
Pour berry filling into the pie pan.
Making the Lattice and Finishing the Crust Edge
Roll out the dough between 1/8" and 1/4" flat, then use a pizza or pie cutter to cut strips out of the dough. I used a kitchen ruler to make my strips an inch wide. I ended up with 12 long strips. I used the floured-parchment paper trick from above to give me a little more ease while picking up the strips, as gluten-free dough tends to be harder to manipulate than its counterpart. Assemble and arrange dough strips into a lattice design as desired. I used six of the 12 strips for my lattice.
The remaining strips will be used to finish the pie-crust edge. Trim the excess dough off the edges of your pie tin, and begin to assemble the remaining strips of dough around the edge, pressing to join the ends together. You can leave the pie here, or put a design around this edge we've created, but that's entirely a matter of time, taste, and patience. If you like, you can make a scalloped edge as I did, pictured below. Using the back end of the spoon face-downward, make indents into the dough in a scallop-pattern as fits your taste and style. There are several pie-finishing methods, and you must feel free to experiment!
Now use the remaining egg wash to coat the lattice and crust edge. This will hold everything together and result in a golden baked finish later when it's in the oven. Place the pie into the fridge for 45 minutes to set everything in place.
We bake the pie at 390 °F for thirty minutes, then cover the pie edges with foil. Back in the oven, we bring the temperature down to 355 °F and bake for another twenty minutes. Depending on your pie, oven, and weather, you may need to bake for additional time. The pie is ready to take out when golden-brown and berry filling has begun to lightly bubble.
Cool pie for at least forty-five minutes if you desire to eat warm--served with ice cream, yum! The pie keeps well for about 3 days, kept in a cool, dry place.
Warning: pie may be quickly devoured at astonishing rate! Alas, all that hard work, and my Summer Berry Pie was completely devoured within a 24-hour period.
If you try out my Berry Pie recipe, do leave a comment below and let me know how oh-so-delicious it was! :)