Raspberry Pie

This pie is at its best in summer, when raspberries are in season, but it can be made year round with either fresh or frozen berries. Although I personally prefer fresh fruit, raspberries do have a notoriously short shelf life (generally only lasting for 2-3 days after purchase), so if the berries in my grocer’s produce section are looking less than fresh, I head over to the freezer case for my fruit.

If using frozen fruit, don’t fret over whether or not to thaw the berries completely before baking- with the exception of a slightly longer baking time, the results really aren’t any different. You can also adjust the sugar depending on the sweetness or tartness of your berries, along with the cornstarch- less cornstarch produces a runnier pie, while more starch produces a filling with a more jammy texture.

This recipe makes about 8 servings (depending on how big you cut your slices).



For crust:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
10 tablespoons (about) ice water

For filling:
8 oz. sugar
1 to 2 oz. cornstarch
zest of one lemon
24 oz. fresh raspberries (can substitute frozen berries)

Finishing touches:
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash
sanding sugar



Make crust:
Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor. Using on/off turns, cut in shortening and butter until coarse meal forms. Blend in enough ice water 2 tablespoons at a time to form moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; cut in half. Flatten each half into disk. Wrap separately in plastic; refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling.)

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one dough disk into a 13-inch round. Transfer dough round to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim excess dough, leaving 3/4-inch overhang. Transfer pie shell to refrigerator and chill (about 20 minutes or so).

Roll out second dough disk on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer dough to a lightly floured sheet pan and chill (about 20 minutes or so).

Make filling and add top crust/lattice :
Preheat oven to 425°F. While the oven heats, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest in a mixing bowl. Add raspberries, tossing gently to coat the berries completely (this step can be done up to an hour ahead). Pour berries into the chilled pie shell.

For a double crust pie:
Cover with top crust (you may want to loosely roll the dough around a rolling pin to help you get it onto the pie without any major rips or tears in the top crust). Crimp edges to seal, and chill for 20 minutes.

For a lattice top:
Cut into fourteen 1/2-inch-wide strips. Spoon filling into crust. Arrange 7 dough strips atop filling, spacing evenly. Form lattice by placing remaining dough strips in opposite direction atop filling. Trim ends of dough strips even with overhang of bottom crust. Fold strip ends and overhang under, pressing to seal. Crimp edges to seal, and chill for 20 minutes.

Bake the pie:
After the pie has chilled for 20 minutes, remove from the refrigerator, and brush the top with egg wash, sprinkling with sugar if desired (if making a double crust pie, cut a few slits in the top with a sharp knife to vent your crust). Place pie dish on a baking sheet (for easy clean up if the filling bubbles over), and bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 20 minutes, rotating once halfway through.

Reduce oven temperature to 375°F, and continue to bake pie until golden and the filling thickens and begins to bubble up (about 1 hour 25 minutes). If parts of the crust begin to look too dark, cover with foil to prevent burning. Transfer pie to rack and cool or a least 30-40 minutes before serving (filling will thicken more as the pie cools).


Tips & Tricks:
If using fresh raspberries, select unblemished berries in dry, unstained containers (spots on berries may indicate mold, leaky containers may indicate mushy, old, or spoiled berries). The color of raspberries should be medium to bright red, depending on the variety. The berries themselves should be free of surface moisture, as moisture accelerates decay. Fresh raspberries should be stored uncovered in the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchase, arranged unwashed in a shallow pan lined with paper towels, and washed just prior to use. The berries can also be topped with a paper towel to absorb any additional moisture in the fridge.

If using frozen raspberries, look for IQF (individually quick-frozen) berries. Avoid berries packed in syrup of any kind- syrup means added sugar or corn syrup that you may not want, and fruit will likely be frozen into a solid block of ice that will cook up into a less than stellar pie filling.

Be sure to chill all the ingredients for the crust before mixing (fridge or freezer work well, just don’t freeze the butter and shortening). You may also find it useful to chill your food processor and rolling pin before hand if your kitchen is warm- this will help prevent the butter and shortening from melting before baking, which results in greasy dough and a not-so tender-flaky crust.

For the best combination of flavor and texture in a pie crust, I find that blend of lard and unsalted butter works best, but unflavored vegetable shortening also works quite well. I also recommend taking out a little extra insurance against chewy gluten forming while the dough mixes by swapping out a tablespoon or so of the water with ice-cold vodka (this tiny amount of alcohol is enough to inhibit gluten molecules from forming, and cooks out so it imparts no boozy flavor).