A VERY EASY “ANY” KIND OF FRUIT PIE
When I looked in my chest freezer today there were partial bags of sour pie cherries, raspberries, blueberries all from last year’s (2013) harvest. I like to pick and freeze when I can from u-pics, farm-stands, and my own little garden.
Having a surplus of pie pans at the ready, I can pretty much find one that will fit any amount of fruit. This is somewhat of a different way to approach pie making rather than fretting over using the exact size of pie and fruit that a recipe spells out for you. I am inspired by Elizabeth Zimmerman, who some of you will know as the author of the classic book, Knitting Without Tears.
I watched the companion guide to her book on video during the days of yore when VHS was the platform and was struck by her words, “I knit the sweater and the right person comes along to fit it”…or, something close to that.
Well, when you have fruit just begging to be made into a pie it’s like looking at beautiful skeins of wool wanting to be made into a sweater. That’s the connection in my mind.
Looking at the amount of fruit I have, or don’t have, I pick a pan off of the shelves and adjust my recipe to fit it.
My recipe for Fruit Pie does fine for just about all the seasonal fruit pies I make. All workshop attendees receive it along with the recipe for the Art of the Pie Crust and many other recipes for pies I love to make.
I’ve sized the filling for a 9″ deep dish pie pan, but if you have a smaller pan then adjust the amounts down, and conversely, if you are using a larger pie pan adjust the amounts up. Make sense? In this way, we become pie makers rather than recipe readers and the pie always fits the pan.
Of course there are a few “rules” to keep in mind.
- Fill the pie pan 1/2 inch below the top of the pie pan if using juicy fruits like rhubarb, berries, or cherries, so it won’t boil over and become a Clean the Oven Pie.
- Adjust the amount of sugar you add to the sweetness of the fruit. For example, if you have peaches that are sending you into rhapsodic elation, then you may not need to add more than 1/4 cup of sugar.
- Keep everything chilled, especially yourself. I think this is the most important rule in pie making…and in life, too.
So, pick a pie pan to use that will match the amount of fruit you have, use your good common sense, and adjust the recipe up or down as needed. As Vogue Knitting says, “Elizabeth taught us to trust our instincts, revel in our creativity.”
We can do that with pie, too!
- 6 cups of fruit, fresh or frozen (adjust for size of pan)
- ½ – 1 cups sugar (depending on sweetness of fruit)
- small pinch of ground nutmeg
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- small squeeze of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup flour
- ½ - 1 tablespoon quick cooking tapioca if fruit is especially juicy
- ½ tablespoon butter
- 1 recipe for double crust pastry
- 1 egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon of water
- Preheat oven to 425F
- Put first six ingredients, and tapioca if using, in a big bowl and mix lightly until fruit is coated.
- Taste and adjust sweetener and seasoning as pleases you.
- Roll out pastry and place in chilled pie pan.
- Pour filling in next and dot with little pieces of butter.
- Roll out top crust, cover and cut a few vent holes, or make a lattice crust top.
- Crimp edges, paint some egg white wash on top of pie (you won’t need too much) and sprinkle with 1 T of sugar.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425F.
- Reduce heat to 375F and bake for 35 minutes more or until you see the filling bubbling.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely (if you can!) before serving.