28 Mar Raspberry Pie
Raspberry pie is risky business. Jam-style diehards want theirs sweet, sweet, sweet, while people like me long for a slice that will pucker the palate. After all, the ice cream’s supposed to smooth things over. Right?
If the filling isn’t stressful enough, then there’s the crust to worry about. Lattice work, a crumble topping or do you put a pastry lid on the whole kaboodle and hope for the best? Clearly, I’m still not at ease with this whole pie thing.
However, such insecurities don’t matter when family is involved. For his birthday dinner, my father-in-law requested raspberry pie in lieu of cake. When I pressed him for specifics, he looked confused and said he wanted “Raspberry Pie” not “Raspberry Jam Pie.” Oh.
Since our taste in pies seemed in sync, even if our nomenclature was off, I turned to a family favourite. The undated recipe, addressed generically to “Dear Pie Makers,” was given to my mother so long ago I don’t remember a time when her raspberry pie was made any other way. The lovely handwriting is from an era where penmanship was important (and legible). Grease and juice spots freckle the now yellowed paper, which is not common lined binder paper but personalized stationery.
With only minor edits (my mother has scratched out references to cinnamon and margarine) the recipe hasn’t failed a Christie yet. Given this was my first all-raspberry pie, I prayed my father-in-law’s birthday would not be the first exception. Paranoid, I followed it to the letter, not even flinching at the use of tapioca, which in pudding form makes me gag. I was beyond grateful when it told me to top the pie with cutouts using a “cookie cutter suited to the season.” Since this is a milestone birthday, I picked stars.
As all its predecessors, this birthday pie delivered. Not only did my father-in-law approve, my own father, who leans towards lemon, had seconds. High praise indeed.
Thanks for lending me the recipe, Mom and to the its author — Mrs. Helen L. Miller, whoever you are.
- 1 recipe pie dough, enough for double crust
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
- ½ lemon, zest and juice
- 4 cups raspberries, whole (fresh or frozen and unthawed)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Preheat oven to 425°F and place a rack on the bottom of the oven. Line a 9-inch pie plate with your favourite pastry. Instead of a top crust, use a small cookie cutter and cut out shapes to be placed on top of the filling before baking.
- Combine sugar, flour, tapioca and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the raspberries and toss lightly. Try to not break the fruit up. Spoon the filling into the pie shell. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Dot with butter. Place the pastry cutouts over the filling.
- Bake the pie on bottom rack of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the filling bubbling.
- Allow pie to cool. Serve warm or room temperature. Vanilla ice cream is a perfect accompaniment. Eat this pie the day it is made. (Like that’s gonna be an issue.)