I was recently watching the movie Labor Day, starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, and in one of the scenes, Brolin’s character teaches Winslet’s character how to make a peach pie. They roll out the pie crust together and fill the pie shell with ripe, juicy peaches…it totally made me crave pie. But since it isn’t quite peach season yet, peach pie isn’t really appropriate. Instead, I decided to make this mixed berry pie with all the strawberries and blueberries I had on hand.
I had fun with the pie crust on this one after seeing this tutorial on how to make a flower vine design with the dough. It’s definitely a time-consuming project, but worth the effort for a special occasion or holiday. I had linzer cookie cutters, two of which were egg shaped and flower shaped. The egg shaped cutter was perfect to use as a leaf, and the flower was obviously just what I needed. I would suggest using equally small cookie cutters for carrying out this design, in addition to a 1/2 inch brush for painting the egg wash over your designed crust. That way, you you can get the egg wash over all the little crevices without moving the little leaves and flowers out of place.
I know some people use shortening for pie crust, but I personally don’t like the taste nor the fact that’s it not a naturally made product. Instead, I fall into the other camp of pie crust makers who use butter. You can’t beat the taste of a pie crust made with butter. Having said that, butter is also temperamental and prone to melting so the dough requires chilling and working with it as quickly as you can. Most people use food processors to create their pie dough, me having been one of those people. What I’ve found, however, is that it’s really easy to over mix the dough when you use a processor. Instead, using a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the flour gives you far greater control, especially since pie dough is something you really need to feel and see to know just when it’s ready to turn out and shape. I’ve outlined instructions on how to make the vine design below, but if you want to see any photos of the process, I recommend checking out the original post with the instructions.
for the crust
- 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 2 c sticks unsalted butter, 1, cold and cubed
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 c to 1/2 cold ice water
- 1 egg, beaten for egg wash
for the filling
- 4 c of mixed berries, if using strawberries, remove stems and cut them in half
- 3/4 c sugar, or more to taste
- 1/4 c cornstarch
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon
- To create the crust, begin by combining the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Refrigerate the flour mixture for 30 minutes. Then, use a pastry blender or two knives to cut the cold butter cubes into the flour mixture. Once the dough begins to clump, stream in a couple tablespoons of the ice cold water. Use a wooden spoon to stir the dough. Add more water as needed to get a dough that sticks together, but isn't very wet.
- Turn the pie dough out onto a well-floured board. Split the dough into 2 halves. Mold each half into a compact ball before flattening each into a disc shape. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, create the filling by tossing the berries with the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Let this mixture rest while you create the pie crust.
- Grease a 9 inch pie dish with some melted butter. Take out one of the pie crust discs and roll it out into a large circle on your floured board. Turn the dough a quarter turn after every few rolls, making sure to only roll in one direction (don't roll back and forth). You'll want to end up with a circle that's bigger than the diameter of your pie dish. If any parts of the dough break, simply wet your finger
- in cold water and rub your wet finger in the spot that's splitting.
- Once you've got your dough circle, place your roller in the center of the circle, then fold one side of the circle over the roller. Gently lift the roller with the folded dough hanging on it over and on to the greased pie dish. Gently transfer the dough off the roller and onto the greased pie dish. Trim off any extra dough that's hanging over the edges of your pie dish. Optionally, use your fingers to crimp the rim of the crust. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Take out your second pie dough disc, and roll out into a large circle like you did the first one. Then, use a pizza cutter to cut 3 thin strips of dough from the center of the dough circle. Roll the strips into ropes and place off to the side.
- Use your leaf cutter to cut out leaves from 3/4 of the remaining dough. Use your flower cutter to cut out flowers from the remaining 1/4 part of the dough. Use a sharp knife to score the leaves so that they look more like leaves rather than just oval shapes (if you're not using an actual leaf cutter).
- Take out your refrigerated pie shell and fill with the berry filling. Then, place one of your long dough ropes over the filling creating an S shape with the rope. Trim the remaining dough ropes to create different length ropes that will swirl off this main S vine.
- Brush all of the crust on the pie with the beaten egg wash using a 1/2 inch brush. Now, pair the dough leaves together along the main vine and various branches, and strategically place flowers in empty spots on vine/branches. Place extra leaves along the rim of the pie. Brush the leaves and flowers with the egg wash.
- Bake the pie for about 35 to 40 minutes. When the rim of the pie crust has become golden, loosely cover it with a foil ring and let the center crust continue baking until golden. Serve warm or room temperature.