Summer means fruit at its peak, which naturally has us dreaming about pies cooling on windowsills, their smells wafting down the country lane (or something idyllic like that).
First, though, we need a good base for that fruit. The recipes below each use slightly different pie crusts — they include varying amounts of fat and teach you a few techniques to form the crust (more on those techniques below).
We know crusts can be intimidating, but we believe in you. You don’t have to be an inspired pie crust artist to be able to mix together some flour, butter, salt and water. So get baking, and let us know if you have questions! We’re here to help.
Cherry Lattice Pie, above. Sour cherry season is fleeting and often fickle, but this pie can also be made with sweet cherries; you’ll first reduce the sugar and cook the filling in a pot on the stove until thickened. We used frozen Bing cherries to make the pie above — defrost them either on the counter or under running water, then drain well and proceed as directed. A cup or so of chopped rhubarb, scattered on top of the filled pie, can lend a little tartness that’s missing if you’re without those sour cherries.
The crust is made with butter, pastry flour (or all-purpose mixed with cake flour), cream cheese and heavy cream; it comes together in a food processor, then cleverly instructs you to briefly knead the mound of dough in a gallon-sized zip-top bag — this helps the crust come together without requiring lots of extra flour, plus it keeps your counter and hands a little cleaner.
Deep-Dish Blueberry Icebox Pie. The filling for this single crust pie comes together on the stovetop, then gets poured into the pre-baked shell and allowed to set in the refrigerator. It’s a single-crust pie, so if pie tops are intimidating, this is a good recipe to start with. You’ll make the crust in a large mixing bowl, and the recipe is enough for two pies — freeze the extra for up to one month.
Dorie Greenspan’s Blueberry Pie. You know how some pie fillings can be a little too . . . gloopy? This one isn’t like that. The filling is simply fresh blueberries, sugar, lemon or lime zest and juice, a pinch of salt and a little flour. Two tablespoons of bread crumbs are sprinkled on bottom crust before baking; those act as a sponge to soak up extra juices.
The buttery crust pairs well with the filling, plus uses a nifty trick of rolling the top and bottom crust between two pieces of parchment paper immediately after you make it, then chilling those pieces, rather than the usual method of chilling discs of dough and rolling them later. (We’ve started using this technique for most crusts, because it’s much easier to roll the crust when the dough is not chilled.)
Dan’s Peach Pie. If peaches aren’t in season, you can use frozen sliced stone fruit instead, which means it can be peach pie season any time of the year. (You’re welcome!) The crust has a little secret: one teaspoon of ground ginger, which perfectly complements those peaches.
Fruit Slab Pie. When you want pie for a crowd, this is the way to do it. (This dessert also has a high crust-to-filling ratio, which could be a positive or a negative, depending on your outlook.) The pie above was made with apricots, but those might be hard to come by, depending on your local markets; you can also make it with peaches, plums or nectarines.
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