Winter warrants certain desserts such as warm chocolate lava cake and decadent apple crisp. But during the summer months, we have fresh and readily available produce ready to be eaten. Sweet and tart fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, nectarines and cherries are perfect for filling pies and finishing off a delicious summer meal. Here are some baking tips to help you create a tasty fruit pie:
Be selective when picking out fruit
Whether you’re picking out blueberries, nectarines or strawberries, it’s important to choose fruit that is ripe, plump and free of any bruises.
Choose the right thickener
Common summer fruit like strawberries, cherries and blueberries are low on pectin – a natural substance that causes the produce to thicken when cooked together with sugar. You can bulk up your fruit mixture, however, by using a thickener. Use tapioca, flour or cornstarch to give your filling a smooth and hearty texture.
Pick the perfect pan
The pan plays a key role in how your fruit pie turns out. Avoid using disposable aluminum pans, which will prevent your pie crust from browning. Instead, use a glass or dull metal pie pan to produce a crust that is perfectly flaky and crisp.
Don’t go overboard on sugar
If you’re using fruit that’s already sweet, you don’t have to overload your pie with sugar. Keep the sugar to a minimum for sweet fruits like strawberries, and feel free to add a bit more sugar when you’re using fruit with a more tart flavor, like cherries.
Add graham crackers
Crumble up a few pieces of graham crackers, and mix those crumbs into your pie crust. This ingredient not only offers a delicious taste to your crust, it helps to soak up any excess juices during the baking process so you don’t end up with a soggy pie.
Consider including spices
Spices can add a little extra kick to your summer fruit pie. Certain spices go well with specific types of produce. For instance, use nutmeg when using blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, and opt for cloves when baking with apricots and peaches. An online spice class can help you pair spices with the right produce.
Pay attention to baking times
Just because the timer is going off and your crust is browned does not mean that your fruit pie is ready to be taken out of the oven. Your fruit filling might not be done baking. In order to test the inside of your pie, you’ll need a wooden skewer or a toothpick. Insert the tool into one of the slits in the pie – if the toothpick or skewer enters the pie with ease, it’s fully cooked. But if it’s a bit difficult to move the skewer up and down, you may want to put your pie back in the oven for a few minutes.