A berry pie is a dessert made with seasoned berries baked into a pastry crust. Any type of berry can be used to make a berry pie, and there are a wide range of styles of berry pie made all over the world, from tart strawberry-rhubarb pie to sweet blueberry pie. Diners and casual restaurants often have a berry pie on their dessert menu, and this dessert can also be made at home. Many people enjoy making berry pies during berry season, as fresh berries make a superior pie.
This dessert starts with the production of pastry for the crust. Pie crusts are made by blending butter, flour, and a small amount of water into a smooth dough which can be rolled out into a round which is used to line a pie tin. If the dough has been handled correctly, it will be light and flaky at the end of the baking process. Berry pies can be left open, which means that no crust is placed on top of the filling, and they can also be closed with a solid top crust or lattice, depending on the taste of the cook.
The filling is made by mixing the berries of choice with seasonings. Sugar is often added, along with vanilla, lemon juice, and spices like cinnamon. The sweetness level can be adjusted to taste with the addition of sugar or lemon to increase tartness. Because berries tend to be extremely juicy, most cooks also add a thickener such as flour or cornstarch so that the pie will not turn out soggy. This also helps to keep the pie together so that when it is sliced, the berries do not fall out.
While berry pies can be made with a single type of berry, they can also include berry mixtures. Mixtures are popular in some regions of the world, especially when intense or especially sweet berries are used. A raspberry pie, for example, has the potential to be cloying, but when raspberries are mixed with boysenberries or ollalieberries, the pie will be more tart and interesting. Berries can also be mixed with other fruits such as apricots or apples for a mixed fruit pie.
Making a berry pie at home is quite easy. Berries can be obtained from grocers and farmers' markets, picked in the backyard, or picked at farms which allow customers to select their own fruit. Pie crust may be infamous for being hard to make, but it's not actually terribly challenging, with a bit of practice, and for people who are intimidated, pie crusts are available in the frozen section of many groceries. Berry pies also freeze well; the pie can be assembled and frozen to be baked at a later date.