Adapted from Cook's Illustrated (July/August 2003 pg. 23)
Graham Cracker Crust
9 cinnamon graham crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons butter (melted)
6 cups assorted berries*
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple jelly
*I use a combination of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and quartered strawberries. Normally I'm heavier on the blackberries since they come from my garden.
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon (clear) vanilla
You will also need:
9 inch pie plate
Food processor with blade
Rimmed baking pan & paper towels
Small microwaveable dish
Stand mixer or hand mixer with whisk attachment
FOR THE CRUST:
Preheat oven to 325 F.
In the food processor, process the graham crackers until they are uniformly fine (you may have to stop periodically and break up some larger pieces by hand). Add sugar and process to combine. With the processor running, add the melted butter through the feed tube and process until the crumbs are all wet (looks like wet sand).
Transfer the crumbs to your pie plate and begin to press into place on the bottom and up the sides. You can use a measuring cup to help you press it all down evenly. It needs to be firmly packed to stay in place.
Bake 15-20 minutes. Crust should be fragrant and browned just a little bit. Allow to cool completely.
FOR THE FILLING:
Rinse all berries in colander and lay them out on rimmed baking sheets lined with paper towels to dry. (You could probably do this step before you start the crust.)
Take 2 1/2 - 3 cups of your berries (I pick the ones with imperfections, too big, too small, etc) and put them in your blender (or food processor). Blend/process them into a smooth puree (you may have to use your spoon periodically to stir them down to the blade in a blender).
Pour into a mesh strainer over a small saucepan. Using your spoonula, stir and press the puree through the strainer until all is left is the seeds and skins. You will end up with a gorgeous bright pink puree in your saucepan.
Whisk sugar, cornstarch and salt into the puree and place over medium heat. Stir constantly with heat proof spoonula, spatula or wooden spoon. You'll think you won't need to, but you do. After a bit, you start noticing thickened puree building up on your spoonula. Scrape it off and stir back in with the rest but keep scraping the bottom of the saucepan clean so it doesn't scorch. Eventually it will thicken to a pudding-like consistency (it reminds me of thick ketchup at this point). Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside to cool.
In the meantime, heat the apple jelly in the microwave for 30 - 60 seconds until completely melted. Place the berries in a large bowl and drizzle the melted jelly over them and toss to coat.
Once the pie crust is completely cool and the puree has cooled a little bit, you may assemble the pie. Pour a layer of about 1/2 - 2/3 of the puree in the crust and spread it around to cover the bottom of it. Then pour 1/2 - 2/3 of the berries on top of the puree and gently press them down into the puree with the back of your spoonula. Layer the rest of the puree (spreading it evenly around) and the rest of the berries on top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and everything has "set".
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
In stand mixer with whisk attachment, whisk cream, sugar and vanilla. Start on low and once you see some small bubbled increase to medium. Once your whisk leaves a trail increase to high. Continue to beat the cream until it forms soft peaks.
To serve, I like to cover the pie in the whipped cream and then slice. But you may also want to try slicing the pie and serving with a dollop of whipped cream on top.
But most importantly... ENJOY!!!
Now for the pictures!
I like to showcase my blackberries from my garden in this recipe.
Process the graham crackers with sugar until uniformly fine.
Add melted butter & process. It will look like wet sand.
Press into pie plate. I think a shallower glass pie plate might work better, but I really like this blue one.
Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes. It smells wonderful. Don't you wish computers had scratch and sniff?
I use a mixture of blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Notice I have about the same amount of blackberries as I do the rest combined. Here I used about 3 cups of black berries and a cup each of the rest.
You can either clean out your food processor or just use a blender for the puree. I found that I like using the blender because it's easier to pour later.
Make the puree out of about 2 1/2 - 3 cups of the assorted berries. I usually pick the overripe, flawed, too big or little, etc.
Pour the puree into a strainer over a small saucepan and use your spoonula/spatula to press the puree through.
You'll be left with a nice clump of seeds. I usually take these and throw them back out in my garden in the hopes that something might grow. I think birds usually just eat them.
And this is the puree you are left with. Oh, it's gorgeous.
Whisk in the sugar, cornstarch & salt.
Cook over medium heat until nice and thick such that you can leave a distinct path when you scrape the bottom of the saucepan with your heatproof spoonula/spatula.
Pour melted apple jelly over the berries. You could also use red currant, but apple jelly is less expensive and a little easier to find. I have also wanted to try cherry but haven't had the chance yet. The Dr. Pepper is just adds a little somethin' extra, don't you think? ;)
See how pretty and shiny all those berries are. Love how they look.
Spoon about 1/2 - 2/3 of the puree and spread it around evenly on the bottom of the crust.
Layer berries, then puree, then berries again.
Top with whipped cream and serve.
(Many thanks to Kelly at evil shenanigans for taking the first and last two pictures in this post.)
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