What is Berry Pie?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

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.

Blueberries, which are often made into berry pies.
Blueberries, which are often made into berry pies.

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.

Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, which can be used to make a berry pie.
Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, which can be used to make a berry pie.

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.

Cornstarch is often used to thicken the filling in berry pies.
Cornstarch is often used to thicken the filling in berry pies.

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.

A berry pie.
A berry 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.

Apricots can be used with berries for a mixed fruit pie.
Apricots can be used with berries for a mixed fruit pie.
Any type of edible berry can be baked into a berry pie.
Any type of edible berry can be baked into a berry pie.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

SarahSon

Every Mother's Day when I visit my mom, I bring home a sack of rhubarb from her rhubarb patch. I like to combine this with fresh strawberries for a wonderful tasting pie. The combination of the tart rhubarb with the sweet strawberries is perfect. I always make one for myself and one to give to my folks.

My Dad's favorite is peach pie, but this is a close second for him. The peaches aren't in season yet, and he has never turned down any kind of fresh homemade pie.

andee

Berry pies really don't take that long to make. I like to buy the refrigerated pie crust that is already made. This cuts down on the time that is involved and I have found them to be very flaky and tasty.

If you use the canned pie filling, this makes for a real quick dessert. Most of the time I like to use fresh berries that are in season. By adding some sugar, lemon juice, thickener and a little cinnamon you can have a pie ready to bake in a few minutes.

lokithebeak

We don't get a lot of fresh berries where I live, so I cheat and use the canned berry pie filling, not as good but in a pinch it will do. Get 2 cans that way you double the amount of berries without having so much of the syrup turns runny instead if you use all of it.

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