There’s something uniquely charming about July.
Perhaps it’s the stifling humidity that makes it unbearable to wear clothing or touch ANY SURFACE. Or maybe it’s the loving swarm of deer flies that so kindly remind you how un-scratch-able the space between your fingers and toes is. Or the moths that seem to not understand the concept of a lampshade as an impenetrable force, no matter how many times they smash their heads into it.
But, these annoyances fade away when we feel warm sun on our faces, cool grass below our feet and hear the crashing waves coax us into a beach-y sleep. Oh. And eat pie. Lots. And lots. And lots of pie.
Pie is not a thing to be taken lightly. I’m not talking that pie with thick bulky crust, or that jiggly, extremely unappetizing, fruit jello that looks like it belongs in a dusty jar in a mad scientist’s basement. No, no, no.
I’m talking about that pie with inches of cooked fruit: soft with just enough bite, sweet but slightly tart, and thickened only slightly so that the last bite of crust has enough juice to soak up.
The crust is thin and flaky, made super classy with the lightest touch of caramelized cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. Warm, it pairs scary well with a scoop of ice cream (cashew or coconut based for maximum creaminess) or whipped coconut cream.
This pie should also be eaten for breakfast. It’s only right.
Summer Fruit Pie
For the Crust: (adapted from here)
1.25 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 stick chilled Earth Balance (or 0.5 cup other solid non-dairy oil)
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling:
6 cups chopped fruit (I used a mixture of fresh cherries, peaches and blueberries)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
0.33 cup whole wheat or all purpose flour
0.66 cup sugar
0.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
0.125 teaspoon ground all spice (optional)
0.25 teaspoon salt
Unsweetened almond milk (or other unsweetened non-dairy milk)
1. Make the crust: In a food processor, mix flours, salt and sugar. Add chopped Earth Balance and pulse until the mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. Continue to pulse while adding water. You want the dough to just hold together in order to maximize crust flakiness. Remove, shape into a disc circle and chill for at least 30 minutes.
2. Make the filling: While crust chills, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, all spice and salt. Roughly chop fruit and toss it with lemon juice. Add dry mixture and toss until fruit is coated. Set aside.
3. Once chilled, cut dough in half, leaving one portion in the fridge. On a well floured counter, roll out half of dough in a large circle so that it will fill the pie dish with some overhang. Carefully roll the pie crust onto the rolling pin and slowly unroll it into the pie dish. Trim edges, tuck overhang into the pie dish and crimp. Freeze formed crust for 15 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. For the top crust, you have options: you can roll it out flat for a traditional look, cut thin strips and make a lattice or, do what I did, and use cut-outs to cover the fruit. For this method, I rolled out the dough and used a small cookie cutter. I then froze the pieces for a few minutes.
5. Once the bottom crust is sufficiently chilled, pour in fruit, smoothing the top. Remove cut-outs from the freezer and place on the fruit. Once completely covered, with slight gaps serving as air holes, lightly brush with almond milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 10 minutes and then decrease oven temperature to 350. Bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes. You want the fruit to be bubble and the crust should be deeply golden brown. If you’re worried about burning the crust, loosely cover it with tin foil.
6. Remove from oven and let mostly cool before slicing.