12 March 2011

Breitbach's Raspberry Pie

I remember one summer, my sister and I wanted to make a strawberry pie. We had always seen whole-berry strawberry pies - you know, the ones with upside down raw berries covered with an ectoplasmic red fakey gel-sludge that sticks to your fork - but we wanted to make a strawberry pie more like an apple pie, with cooked fruit. If I remember correctly, the adults around us tried to dissuade us, but still assisted in the endeavor. I also seem to recall that it turned out okay.

I share that reminiscence with you simply because of the fact that today's pie includes cooked berries of even more fragility than a ripe strawberry. Breitbach's Raspberry Pie, named for a popular café in Iowa, includes both raspberries and blackberries, but it's definitely the raspberries that come through most strongly in the flavor.

This is really a simple pie: berries, sugar, and tapioca in a double crust. The filling is very firm before it is baked, and it is a refreshing shade of deep red-pink. Never mind the little white flecks - that's just the tapioca, waiting to absorb all those lovely berry juices.

And, now it's apparent that I need work on my double crust skills. I failed to seal the edges properly and the filling exploded all over the pan, my drip tray in the oven, and the oven itself (not to mention the top of the stove after I pulled it out AND my oven mitts!).

This is not what your pie should look like.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating, however, and nobody complained about this pie. Trust me, it tastes the same regardless of whether it leaks or not. The raspberry flavor is deliciously intense, although some of my testers found it a bit too sweet and jam-like. I will be trying this one again in the summer with fresh berries, and I may play around with reducing (or eliminating!) the sugar to see how the flavor goes.

I heartily recommend this pie to you - just take your time and close up your crust properly!

Next time: The pie too good to eat.

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