After a few experiments with an all-raspberry pie filling that turned into a watery mess, I decided to use these berries to their best advantage: some slightly cooked and thickened, with the remainder added uncooked. I then layered the fruit between a light pastry cream and a whipped cream topping. Blueberries and blackberries are just as good, and a combination of berries would work well too.
Makes one 9-inch pie, about 8 servings
One 9-inch piecrust made from Flaky Buttery Dough (see below), fully baked
3 half-pint baskets/18 ounces fresh raspberries, picked over but not rinsed, divided use
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar, divided use
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the raspberry filling, combine a third of the berries and the sugar in a nonreactive saucepan and mash them together. Place over low heat and bring it to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the water and cornstarch together. When the raspberries begin to boil, stir a third of the hot juices into the cornstarch mixture. Return the raspberry mixture to a boil over low heat and quickly stir in the cornstarch mixture. Continue stirring until the juices thicken, return to a boil, and become clear. Stir in the lemon zest off the heat, then scrape the thickened raspberry mixture into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly against the surface and let the mixture cool.
- For the pastry cream, combine the milk, cream, and half the sugar in a small saucepan and whisk to combine. Place over low heat and bring it to a full boil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the yolks and then add the remaining sugar. Sift the flour over the mixture and whisk it in.
- When the milk mixture boils, whisk it into the yolk mixture. Strain the pastry cream back into the pan and place it over medium heat. Use a small, pointed-end whisk to stir constantly, being sure to reach into the corners of the pan, until the cream comes to a full boil and thickens. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, for 30 seconds. Off the heat, whisk in the vanilla.
- Scrape the cream into a glass or stainless-steel bowl and press plastic wrap directly against the surface. Chill until cold.
- To finish the pie, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla to a soft peak.
- Evenly spread the cooled pastry cream in the bottom of the piecrust. Fold the fresh raspberries into the cooled, thickened cooked berries and spread the fruit on top of the pastry cream. Rewhip the cream if necessary and spread it, swirling it with a metal spatula or the back of a large spoon, over the raspberries.
- Keep the pie at a cool room temperature until serving time. Refrigerate leftovers.
FLAKY BUTTERY DOUGH
To maximize flakiness and get as much delicate buttery flavor as possible, you need to use enough butter in a dough. If you remember to chill this dough after mixing it and again after rolling it, you’ll enjoy both a superior texture and flavor. To keep from melting the butter and creating an excessively soft dough, this is best mixed in the food processor.
Makes enough for 2 single-crusted pies or 1 double-crusted pie
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry-measure cup and level)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large eggs
- Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor; pulse several times at 1-second intervals to mix.
- Add the butter and pulse again 3 or 4 times. Use a metal spatula to scrape the side of the bowl and mix the butter pieces throughout the flour.
- Pulse again 3 or 4 times.
- Using a fork, beat the eggs to break them up, then add to the bowl. Pulse again until the dough almost forms a ball; avoid pulsing too much, or the pieces of butter needed to make the dough flaky will become too small.
- Invert the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, carefully remove the blade, and quickly press the dough together.
- Divide the dough into 2 pieces, form into thick disks, and wrap each in plastic. Chill for a couple of hours before rolling.