renegade pie maker

I love to cook. I like to bake. I’m pretty good at both. Pie crusts on the other hand are my downfall.  My mom always made (and still makes) fantastic pies – maybe this is why I always seem to fail when it comes to the crust.  They aren’t as flaky, no matter how cold the ingredients are.  The sides fall down. I could go on and on with my low pie moments. 

So against all things homemade, I broke down and finally used a store-bought, refrigerated pie crust.  No fail this time!

Besides the store-bought pie crust, I tend to free-form my fillings – very unlike my mom’s pies which followed a recipe to the T most times.  Hence the term renegade – I feel like a rebel when I throw caution to the wind and flip the bird to traditional recipes. How do I accomplish these rebellious acts you might ask?  I use brown sugar (most fruit pies use white sugar), rarely ever use the same fruit combos or amounts twice, and switch up my flavorings (though I went standard with vanilla this time).  I’m really living on the edge here, in my head perhaps.  Sorry for projecting.  The pie is delicious though.

You can change-up the type of fruit depending on what you like or what you need to use up.   You just need enough fruit to fill up the pie dish.  If you are more skilled than I, definitely make your own pie crust. Store-bought crust is good, but I must admit homemade still tastes better (unless I’m the one making it).

Mixed Berry Pie

  • 13 oz to 1 lb strawberries sliced
  • 1/2 lb to 12 oz blueberries picked over to remove stems
  • 1 plum peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 c brown sugar, plus extra for dusting the crust
  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, lemon or orange juice/zest, almond extract, cinnamon, liqueurs, etc
  • 1 package (2 crusts – one for the top and one for the bottom) refrigerated pie crust at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp butter, sliced into thin pats
  • 3 tbsp milk

Preheat over to 400f.

Toss all the ingredients, except for the crust, butter, and milk in a bowl.  Mix so that the sugar and cornstarch are mixed with the fruit juices and vanilla.  Set aside.

Unroll one pie crust and line a pie plate with the crust. Make sure it is down into the corner edge at the bottom of the plate.   Trim excess from the edges if you are feeling frisky (leaving enough for crimping), or leave it if you lazy like me.

Dump you fruit mixture into the pie plate.  Dot with the pats of butter.

Unroll the second crust and lay across the top of the pie.  If you are feeling frisky again, trim off any excess crust from the edges or leave it as is.

Crimp your edges to seal your pie.  Make them look pretty, or if you are like me again, make half the crimps ugly and hit your pretty crimping stride when you have already massacred half the crust.  You just want to make sure the pie crusts’ edges are sealed together.

Make some slits in the top of the pie to let out steam.  Brush the top of the pie with the milk and sprinkle with extra brown sugar.

Pop it in the over for 10 minutes at 400.  You can place a baking sheet lined with tin foil under the pie plate to catch any filling that bubbles over.  I was a rebel (with an oven already in need of a cleaning) and didn’t put any protection down under the pie.

When the crust begins to brown a bit, it is time to turn the oven temperature down to 350/375f.  At this point you want to wrap the edge of your crust in tin foil  (make a narrow collar type contraption) to prevent it from burning.

Cook for another 20-40 minutes depending on your oven and fruit.  The pie is done when the filling in bubbling and the crust is golden brown.  If the filling doesn’t bubble up then it will not thicken and you will have a runny, corn starchy filling – yuck.

Let the pie cool a bit before serving.  This allows time for the filling to set.  Slice and serve with a scoop of ice cream or some fresh whipped cream.


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