French Wild Berry Pie 🍰
Happy Pi Day To All!
March 14th is Pi Day, an annual international celebration designated to honor the mathematical constant of Pi (Greek letter “π”), as well as Albert Einstein’s birthday. As many of you know, Pi is a never-ending number (3.14159) that that can be calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point.
Pi Day was founded at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1988 by the ‘Prince of Pi’, Physicist Larry Shaw, to celebrate and share the many wonders of mathematics. In keeping with the local celebrative spirit of the San Francisco Bay Area, Pi Day is observed with pie making parties, eating pie, throwing pie, all the while reveling in the mathematical genius of Albert Einstein.
In honor of Pi Day 2015, I made my Mother’s French Wild Berry Pie. My hope in posting this on my blog is to inspire as many people as possible, particularly our lovely daughters, to explore the boundless curiosities of mathematics every day!
For this recipe, you can use your favorite piecrust recipe or a quality frozen shell that doesn’t contain any hydrogenated oils. Below I have included my Mom’s go-to piecrust recipe for light, flaky crust every time. I’m not sure if she developed this recipe on her own, or it was my Grandmother’s family recipe, because it was written on a 3×5 index card that seems to have fallen victim to decades of butter saturated fingers. Enjoy!
Mom’s French Wild Berry Pie
8oz (227g) package of cream cheese at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (8oz) whipping cream
1 cup of mixed berry preserves (quality jam)
3 – 4 cups of fresh, organic mixed berries such as raspberries, blue berries, strawberries and black berries. (*You can substitute a bag of frozen mixed berries, however you’ll need to defrost and drain them thoroughly prior to use.)
In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl beat the whipping cream until just short of firm peaks. Blend the two together, being careful not to over work or the whipping cream will declare mutiny and form into butter.
In a large bowl, stir the mixed berry preserves into a thick sauce. Cut up strawberries and add to preserve mix. Be gentle in your mixing, so as not to make the fruit mushy or bruised. Once the strawberries are covered in sauce, add remaining berries and again mix gently.
Place creamy base into a cooled, cooked pie crust and top with fruit mixture. Chill for 1-hour prior to serving.
Mom’s Go-To Perfect Pie Crust
Makes enough dough for two 9-inch pie crusts. You can freeze any unused dough for up to 2-months.
2 tablespoon on sugar
2 cups flour, sifted (extra for rolling surface)
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons sweet unsalted butter, well chilled & cut into pieces
2 large egg, beaten
Cut butter into small pieces and place into freezer for at least 15-minutes to sufficiently chill. Add butter to large bowl with sugar, flour and salt. Using your fingers, quickly hand blend the ingredients together with a pinching motion. Blend ingredients into a course meal, creating little chunks about the size of a grain of rice. Using a measuring cup and an electric mixer, beat eggs for 30 – 40 seconds. Drizzle beaten egg over mixture, mixing with a fork just until dough comes together.
Shape dough into a ball, cover in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least 60-minutes to chill.
When rolling the crust, speed is the key so it doesn’t heat up, which will create a dense, dry crust that might better be used as a self-defense weapon. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 12-inch circle, approx. 1/8 of an inch thick.
Using the rolling pin, gently pick up and roll the crust into your chilled pie plate. Using your fingers, shape the crust into the corners and create a pretty edging around the top.
My Mom liked to use a fork, but I prefer to make little, wave-like shapes with my fingers. Leave about ½ inch of extra dough around the top to account for shrinkage. Using a fork, poke holes throughout the crust to allow for air to escape. This prevents the dreaded ‘pie bubbles’ from getting overly-expressive with the surface of your crust.
Place pie crust back into refrigerator for at least 30-minutes to chill prior to cooking.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees until just golden brown. Cooking time will vary depending upon your oven, however I usually find 25 – 30 minutes or so will due.
Le Voov! Notes: It is important to ingest organic berries whenever possible due to the high levels of pesticides applied directly to the fruit. The toxic chemicals cannot be simply be rinsed away from the surface of the fruit. Invest in yourself. You’re worth it! 🙂