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Summer is upon us. In California, the only real difference is that you can go to the beach and sit on the sand and not actually freeze to death (though you’ll still do that if you attempt to venture into the water). The sun is a little sunnier, people are a little happier, and the end of the school year is in sight, meaning that there will be more time to bake lots and lots of pies.

If pie is the ultimate American dessert, than a berry pie is the ultimate American summer dessert. One weekend in May, Levi and I decided to preemptively celebrate the coming summer by having an Americana-steeped weekend. We spent time at the Simi Valley street fair, purchased and consumed some summery brews, grilled hamburgers on our barbeque. To go along with the theme, Levi decided that it would be a good idea to listen to country music on Pandora. (I’m still trying to figure out what possessed him.) And of course, I made a berry pie.

Patsy’s Mixed Berry Freeform Pie is unique for several reasons.

  1. The crust contains several unusual ingredients such as cottage cheese, a good amount of sugar, and baking powder. The texture of the finished pastry is fluffier and stickier than your average crust, and the baked end result is rather cakey and delicious.
  2. It has a gooey cream cheesy layer underneath the berries. What a nice surprise!
  3. It’s freeform (as you might have already ascertained by its name). If you don’t know what a freeform pie is, you’re in luck—I just so happen to have some pictures to show you!
To make a freeform pie, you don’t need a pie pan. Just a foil-lined baking sheet will do. This pastry dough is sticky to the point of annoying, so the foil is a necessary step. The rolled out crust goes on the baking sheet, and then a sweet cream cheese mixture is spread over the center in a circle. Like so.

A very hopeful Bear.

Then the berries get dumped in the middle. I used blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries…the more the berrier! Har har har.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now for the fun part…rolling up the edges. You just fold in one section at a time and the dough forms pleats. I used a spatula for a little extra help.

Bake until the crust is golden brown, top with vanilla ice cream OF COURSE, and share with friends.

Andrew and Marjorie are cute pie models.

Happy almost-summer, all.

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