Let’s dissect summer. Let’s cut it open and probe its insides with supplies from your high school biology classroom. Sans Smelly Lab Partner, of course. That kinda sounds like work, huh? And it may get messy, so be ready for that. The goal of this experiment? To figure out what makes summer.
A couple of rules before we get started. I know. I can just suck all the fun out of everything, it seems. Listen up. These rules could save your summer.
Proper attire is required in the lab. Closed toed shoes are not allowed – flip flops only. Put on your safety (sun)glasses on before you begin. Once you get started, a lot of glorious, bright sunshine will pour out.
Ready? Let’s do this. *fist pump.*
Okay. Here we go. Make a big slit down the center and clear away all the snow, cold and wind to get straight to the good stuff.
Let’s get out our trusty microscopes here and have a look see.
Hm. What do we have here…
Ah…cold, frosty beverages. Of the Not Very Fancy variety for Not Very Fancy people. Enjoyed outside on the deck surrounded by wide open spaces and fresh country air. Yes. An essential part of summer.
Hot grills. Featuring lots of sizzling meats and veggies. (Like red onions to top yummy burgers) Keep that frosty beverage near by! It’s hot out there! Also Gotta Have It for summer.
Note the abundance of COLORS! Gorgeous greens. Vibrant pink flowers. Pretty yellow butterflies. Summer is downright stunning, don’t you think? Are you taking accurate notes? This will be on the exam.
Hey! No gum chewing!
For the next part of this assignment, we’re going to see what the inside of summer tastes like. Now, don’t be scared. While winter is bitter and leaves a bad taste in your mouth, summer is oh-so sweet. And full of fresh flavor.
Summer is plump, juicy blueberries that burst like 4th of July fireworks on your tongue.
Summer is succulent strawberries, so candy sweet you’d think they were spun from pure sugar.
Summer is dark, ripe cherries, full of rich juice that stain your lips and fingers.
Now, if we get out our beakers and test tubes and things and mix up all these summer flavors with a few other essentials, we can take all these goodies and turn them into…
PIE! Summer-kissed Cherry Berry Pie.
Something went wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong.
Well, the pie kind of failed but it still tasted great and no one needed to use that creepy eye rinse station thing in the corner of science classrooms, so that’s a plus.
This pie. Kind of a failure. Why? Because it was way way too runny. Why was it runny? Because I tried to change the original recipe too much. Oops.
The original recipe calls for fresh tart cherries and I subbed sweet cherries. Unless you’re growing tart cherries yourself or have an exceptional farmer’s market near by, good luck finding these. The season is exceptionally short. I have a feeling the dark, sweet cherries we’re all used to are a LOT juicier than their tart brothers. Add berries into the mix, which are super juicy too, and you’ve got a recipe for runny pie filling. And failure.
So. The flavor combo in the filling is all kinds of amazing. I knocked back the sugar a bit to keep it from being too sweet and the flavor was spot on amazing. I loved the crunchy crumb topping too. But, like I said, awfully juicy. So juicy in fact, that I couldn’t actually get a clean slice. Blarg! The ultimate pie failure!
I think the runniness factor can be remedied and I reflected that in the recipe below. I would toss the fruit in the sugar and let some of the juice drain away for an hour or so before putting it in the pie shell. That may help.
If you try this pie and it’s runny, I apologize. At least I’m being honest about my experience! All you baking geniuses out there can make it work, I think! A couple of tweaks and I think this could be a really perfect summer pie. Good luck!
I’m submitting this pie for the July You Want Pies with That? blogging event. I was honored and humbled to choose this month’s Summer Fruit theme! Thanks again ladies!! Can’t see what next month brings.
CHERRY-BERRY CRUMBLE PIE (Recipe adapted from: Taste of Home)
For the pie:
- 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (or your favorite thickening agent)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Dash salt
- 1 9-in pie crust
For the topping:
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces.
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- Combine fruit and sugar in a large bowl and let sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes to an hour. Drain off as much juice as you can. (Save the juice…add it to lemon or limeade!) Add cornstarch, lemon juice and almond extract.
- Roll out pie pastry and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Trim off excess (and use it to make a pretty border, if desired.) Sprinkle the bottom with a little flour. Add fruit mixture.
- Make the topping: Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Add butter and cut into mixture with a pastry blender until pea-sized crumbs form. Stir in almonds. Sprinkle topping over fruit mixture.
- Bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, until filling is bubbly and topping is browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing. Serves 8.