Berry Pie with Cornmeal Crust

This cornmeal crust is great for a berry pie — it’s not sweet, but has a sandy cookie texture that works well with juicy berries.
By / Photography By E. S. Bruhmann | June 01, 2016

Ingredients

For the crust:
  • 290 grams all-purpose flour (about 2½ cups), plus more for rolling out dough. (Weisenberger flours cannot be beat!)
  • 35 grams cornmeal (about ¼ cup)
  • 35 grams sugar (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 grams kosher salt (about ½ teaspoon)
  • 12 tablespoons butter, unsalted, chilled, cut into small cubes
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening, chilled, cut into small pieces
For the filling:
  • 135 grams granulated sugar (about ¾ cup)
  • 30 grams cornstarch (about ¼ cup)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 6 cups berries (about 3 pints — all blueberries or blackberries, or a mix of your favorites)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon demerara (raw) sugar (or granulated sugar, if that is what you have)

Preparation

• Make the crust: Blend flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and shortening, then pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons ice water and blend until dough forms a ball, adding more ice water, a half-tablespoon at a time (up to 2 additional tablespoons) if dough is dry. Divide dough in half, flatten into 2 round disks, wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.

• Meanwhile, in a large bowl, make the filling: Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt and lemon zest. Fold in 4 cups berries, lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water. Let stand at room temperature about 45 minutes until juices form.

• Scrape the berry mixture into a heavy saucepan and gently bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes to really thicken the juices. Let cool slighty, and gently fold in the remaining 2 cups berries. (If using strawberries in your mix, this is when I add them so they keep at least some of their shape.)

• Heat oven to 400°. On a floured surface, roll out 1 dough round. Transfer rolled-out dough to a 9-inch pie pan and fill with berry mixture. Roll out the second dough round, then use it to cover the pie, decoratively crimping together dough edges to seal. Score top crust with a knife so pie can vent. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

• Place pie pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue baking until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, about 35 minutes more. Spoon any escaped juices onto top of pie. Transfer to a rack and cool completely before serving with your favorite ice cream.

Makes 1 (9-inch) deep-dish pie

About this recipe

This is now my favorite crust for a berry pie — it’s not sweet, but has a sandy cookie texture that I find works so well with juicy berries. You can make this a pure blueberry or blackberry pie, but for this picture I used a combination of strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and blackberry since we’ve got them all right now. (Or at least a bag of one of them in the freezer.)

If you’ve not yet become a convert to the weight measurement system of baking, please do consider it and get yourself a scale. They are so inexpensive these days — and you’ll find you will be washing fewer dishes and measures. I provide both weight and volume measures for this recipe and hope you soon become a convert to weighing.

For years now, I’ve precooked my fruit pie fillings to make sure they get nice and thick. It also lets me break up the pie making over a few days — I cook the filling and put it in the fridge, and I bring it to room temperature before baking. That way I can easily have really fresh pie when I want to serve one at a small dinner party. You can skip that step if you are OK with risking really liquid juice in your pie. To be sure, there is plenty to be said for super-runny pie juice, but it does tend to make the bottom crust pretty soggy.

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Ingredients

For the crust:
  • 290 grams all-purpose flour (about 2½ cups), plus more for rolling out dough. (Weisenberger flours cannot be beat!)
  • 35 grams cornmeal (about ¼ cup)
  • 35 grams sugar (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 3 grams kosher salt (about ½ teaspoon)
  • 12 tablespoons butter, unsalted, chilled, cut into small cubes
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening, chilled, cut into small pieces
For the filling:
  • 135 grams granulated sugar (about ¾ cup)
  • 30 grams cornstarch (about ¼ cup)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 6 cups berries (about 3 pints — all blueberries or blackberries, or a mix of your favorites)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon demerara (raw) sugar (or granulated sugar, if that is what you have)
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