It seems that every summer I find myself with a refrigerator packed with summer fruits. I just can’t seem to make it through a trip to the grocery store without at least one container of fruit showing up in my shopping cart. Maybe I should just avoid the produce section all together! But then again, we wouldn’t have delicious recipes like this! I love to make fruit pies during the summer. Last year I made an incredible Blueberry Pie that my husband went crazy for. This time around I tried a different pie crust recipe than the basic pie dough that I usually use. The pie dough in this recipe uses vodka instead of water to achieve a tender and flaky crust. I think both pie dough recipes produce wonderful results so you can’t go wrong with either. If you have vodka on hand, give this pie dough a try. If you don’t have vodka and don’t want to make a trip to the store, give the basic pie dough a try.
I was really impressed with this recipe because it stood up when sliced and didn’t turn into a runny mess. Berries have so much juice that many times if you don’t have a great recipe the pie will turn into a mess when cut. The secret in this recipe is the addition of a peeled, grated Granny Smith apple and ground tapioca, which combine to thicken the filling but not interfere with the berries. The hardest thing about making this pie is waiting four hours for it to cool, which let me tell you, was absolute torture! The wait was definitely worth it!
How to make Triple Berry Pie:
For the Crust:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces (I use butter flavor)
- 1/4 cup vodka, cold
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
For the Three Berry Filling:
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
- 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, ground
- Pinch table salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
For The Pie Dough: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 pulses. Transfer mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. Using a folding motion, use a rubber spatula to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on floured work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
For The Filling, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place 1 cup of raspberries, 1 cup of blueberries and 1 cup blackberries in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Using a potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry. Transfer apple to large bowl. Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine. Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.
Roll out the second pie dough disk into a 12-inch round. With pastry wheel, cut the dough into 12 strips 3/4 inch wide. Place 6 strips horizontally across the top of the pie at 1 inch intervals. Weave in 6 vertical strips. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges of pie with egg mixture. If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
Place pie on heated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.
- Unthawed frozen berries will work as well. In step 4, cook half the frozen berries over medium-high heat, without mashing, until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Grind the tapioca to a powder in a spice grinder or mini food processor. If using pearl tapioca, reduce the amount to 5 teaspoons.
- Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor; do not substitute.