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Monday, September 6, 2010

Fresh Berry Crumb Pie. Stepping out of the comfort zone!!!

I'm not really a pie person. I'll take a crisp or a cobbler over a pie any day.
Immediate Disclaimer: it's not to say that I don't enjoy a good pie when it's in front of my face. :)
So I set out on a quest to make a pie-crisp crossover. I should warn though: this is only for those who dare to step out of the traditional "pie box".
The blackberries are abundant this year. And with summer coming to an end a little too soon for my taste, the girls and I have decided to make the best of the situation by making a blackberry crumb pie.

One of the "star" ingredients of this recipe, besides the fresh blackberries, are toasted almonds. They serve both as a crust, and as a crumbly topping!

For the crust/topping you'll need:
  • 1 cup almonds (see roasting directions below)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 0.5 cup sugar
  • 1.5 sticks butter (chilled and cubed)
For the filling prepare:
  • 0.5 cup sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 pints fresh blackberries (or other berries OK too!)
First, roast almonds. Spread them on a cookie sheet, and roast at 350F for about 7-10 min. (depending on how dark you like them: darker color = more intense roasted flavor). Make sure you stir them occasionally to avoid burning!

Next step is to grind the nuts. I used a little hand-cranked grinder, but food processor or even a blender will do too. Just be sure to pay close attention while grinding in a processor, or you might end up with almond butter :).

To make the crust, mix together nuts, flour, and sugar. Add cubed chilled butter, and cut it into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or by using two knives, until coarse crumbs form. There is no liquid used to make this crust!

Using fingers, press about half of this mixture into the bottom and sides of the tart pan (I used 9-inch pan).

To prepare the filling, mix together sugar and cornstarch, then gently fold in the berries. Now spoon this berry mixture into the crust and spread it evenly.

Finally, sprinkle your pie with the remaining half of the crust/crumb topping, and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes, until topping is golden in color. You won't believe the aroma floating through your house while this thing is baking. There are no words to describe it!

Let your heavenly creation cool on a rack for about 10 minutes, then serve while still warm. Depending on the berries you use, this pie might be easier served with a spoon (like a cobbler) - this was the case with our blackberries. A good, creamy vanilla ice cream is a MUST, in order to achieve a proper flavor/texture combination. ;)

Are you ready to indulge? A buttery-nutty crunch of the crust and the topping mix with the slightly gooey spoonful of warm berries, then instantly cooled with a creaminess of a simple vanilla ice cream.  A glass of milk? A cup of tea? You choose! This is what summer tastes like...

1 comment:

  1. The best pie I ever had! Very very good! Thank you!