I Baked a Pie! A Good One, at Last!

I Baked a Pie! A Good One, at Last!

You may have heard the rumors. They’re spreading like wildfire all over the internets. Psst! Debbie baked a pie! And it wasn’t a disaster!

My friends, it’s true. I baked a mighty fine pie today, completely from scratch. If you know me at all, you know that this is an Extremely Big Deal. See, pie and I have a history. An ugly history, filled with frustration, tears, and self-loathing. (Yes, I realize self-loathing is a bit much for pie, but that’s just the way I am.)

And today, in honor of the Pie Party that started on Twitter and wound up with nearly 1500 people attending (virtually), I tried again. This time was different. This time, I was prepared. I’d read my friend Casey’s incredibly helpful, step-by-step guide to pie dough, several times. Heck, I printed it out. I’d seen her tips, gleaned during what sounds like an amazing food blogger mini-school at King Arthur Flour. I like to think I’d internalized them.

Miracle of miracles, it worked. My pie dough is amazing. My pie, which uses gooseberries from my CSA, blackberries, and blueberries, is beautiful. My self-loathing is gone. For the moment, anyway.

Goose-Black-Blueberry Streusel Pie
Adapted from Epicurious
Weight Watchers: You really don’t want to know, do you?

1 prepared piecrust, store-bought or homemade

For the filling:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
5 cups assorted fresh berries, rinsed and dried (I used 2 cups each of gooseberries & blackberries, plus a cup of blueberries)

For the topping:
6 tablespoons golden brown sugar
6 tablespoons whole hazelnuts
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, optional

  1. If you’re making your own dough, do so at least 4 hours before you plan to eat the pie and refrigerate half in the form of a disk, tightly wrapped. (Freeze the other half for later use, or make a chicken pot pie for dinner, like I did!) I highly recommend this recipe/instructional from Casey Barber of Good.Food.Stories.
  2. A good 3 hours before eating-time, roll out the dough and lay it into a pie plate. Flute the edges if you feel fancy, or just crimp them with a fork. Cover lightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Turn the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, arrowroot, and lemon juice—it’ll make a grainy paste. Add the berries and toss gently (the paste won’t disperse fully, so don’t sweat it), then let it sit while the oven heats. Stir it occasionally if you think of it.
  4. While you wait, put all the topping ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Whir them around until it’s a big clumpy mess, and no flour is visible.
  5. By now your oven’s probably hot. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the pie plate on it. Pour the berry mixture into the crust, gently, and spread it around evenly. Scatter the crumble on top with your fingers (a spoon will make big clumps—not pretty).
  6. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the crust is golden, the topping is browned, and the berries are bubbling. Don’t be surprised if they bubble over—that’s why you used a baking sheet.
  7. Let it cool for at least 2 hours before cutting. I know, it’s hard. Go nuts and serve while still a bit warm, then top it with some ice cream.

MAKE BABY FOOD: There’s plenty of sugar here, so save it for special occasions—at which times I’d let a baby have some of the fruity filling and maybe some crust. That topping will be a little hard for him to handle.