Fresh Berry Pie
It’s finally May! Which means I can’t help but get excited for Memorial Day. The unofficial start to summer, and the kickoff of our most patriotic season.
I’m an over-the-top aficionado for all things red, white, and blue (RWB). Always have been. To the point you’d swear I was swaddled in stars and stripes.
Here in Bethany Beach, the RWB fairies will soon be bunting, garlanding, and swagging in force. This is step one in the buildup to the season’s climax, the downtown Independence Day parade. By then, even the lifeguard stands and porta potties sport RWB. A quiet resort’s Americana extravaganza! I could piddle just thinking about it.
One year for a Memorial Day gathering, I set out to make every food item on our buffet RWB. Some of our so-called friends were quick to point out that cranberries and blue cheese over salad greens didn’t cut it. Mean gurls.
But this pie, oh boy! My good friend Nancy gave it to me many moons ago, and we’ve enjoyed it every summer since. It’s got the red of strawberries, the white of whipped cream, and blueberries in all the nooks. No one can deny this is a home run on the RWB scale. And it tastes like summer on a fork.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Prepare one baked pie crust in a 9" plate, cooled (premade, or your favorite "blind baked" single crust recipe)
In a 2-quart saucepan, mix:
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. white sugar
3 tbsp. white corn syrup (Karo)
3 tbsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1.5 cups of water
Bring this to a boil over medium high heat, stirring until very clear and rather thick. Off heat, mix in:
3 tbsp. strawberry Jell-O powder
Allow this mixture to cool completely. It will continue to thicken.
Meanwhile, line your pie crust with:
1.5 to 2 quarts strawberries, trimmed, washed, and dried
Keep the berries whole or cut in half. If you want to be fancy, go for concentric circles. I’m more of an “everything looks rustic” kind of cook. So, I arrange whatever way they fit. Regardless, mound them a little higher in the center. Then, in all the nooks, add:
0.5 to 1 pint of blueberries
Slowly pour the cooled Jell-O glaze over the pie, starting in the center and working your way towards the edges. The idea is to coat all the berries. This will seal and help preserve them. I use a brush to ensure every berry gets some.
Chill the pie until set, at least 8 hours. Serve with whipped cream.
Be careful adding the Jell-O glaze. Depending on the size of your berries, you might have a little extra. Allow time for it to seep into all the crannies, else it might overflow.
• You can get 2 pies out of a 3 oz. box of Jell-O.
• The glaze is very forgiving, adding a lot of flavor to early summer berries that aren’t always the greatest. That said, do try to find the best, ripe-yet-firm berries you can.
• This pie is rather perishable and is best eaten within two days.
• This pie should cut like a dream. If your servings fall apart a little, point to the sunset and yell “look over there,” as you top each with more whipped cream. ▼
Ed and his husband Jerry split their time between homes near Harrisburg Pennsylvania and Bethany Beach. Ed builds websites to pay the bills but loves to cook, garden, hike, and dote on their dog Atticus.