Last summer, my 12 year old niece and I baked a pie. We mixed dough, peeled apples and tossed them with sugar and berries and rolled out pastry. After placing the lid on top of the filled pie and crimping the edges, I told her to cut a few vents to allow the steam to escape. The daughter of a math teacher, she decided to make cuts in the shape of the math symbol for pi. Perfect for Pi Day, don’t you think?
She suggested that raspberries – abundant at the time in our back yard – might go well in an apple pie. She was right. We still have some of those berries lurking in the back of the freezer, waiting for the chance to be baked into another pie. Any berry would do well – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries – fresh or frozen, if you still have some in storage from last summer. Their potent flavor and acidity is a perfect pairing for apples, brightening them up and acting as a reminder that summer is on its way. Or spring, at least.
This is a simple recipe – my niece did most of it herself. Remember that when making an apple pie the fruit shrinks considerably, so don’t be afraid to pile it high.
6-8 apples, peeled and sliced
2/3 cup sugar, or to taste
2 Tbsp. flour
1-2 cups fresh raspberries (if you use frozen, don’t thaw them)
Preheat the oven to 450F. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry, fitting it in without stretching it – let the edges hang over the side.
Slice the apples into a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour and salt; add to the apples and toss them together. Pile them into the pastry, dumping any sugar left in the bottom of the bowl overtop. Scatter raspberries overtop.
Roll out the remaining pastry and place it over the pie; trim the edges (both layers) to about 1/2-inch past the edge of the pie plate. Tuck and crimp however you like, using your fingers or the tines of a fork. Cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape. If you like, brush the top with milk or cream, and if you like, sprinkle with a spoonful of sugar.
Bake the pie for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 45-50 minutes, until golden and juices are bubbling out through the slits. Cool on a wire rack.