It seems like any and every kind of berry has been on sale; buy one get one, two-for’s, etc., at the grocery store this entire summer. I’ve been taking full advantage of it by chopping up half of our weekly amount and freezing them to use in baking and smoothies when they won’t be as easily available this winter. Until then, I still can’t seem to keep up with the fresh berries in the fridge before they go bad, so what better way to make sure nothing gets wasted than by baking with them!
First up: The simplest tiny lattice-topped pies! And here’s my trick to keeping this recipe so simple: Store-bought pie crust! Yes, you know me – I’m usually all about “from scratch” recipes and rarely cut corners when in the kitchen, but I’m learning to compromise and take a different approach these days with a toddler AND! a baby pup running around.
If you wanted to make your own pie crust, here’s a recipe I’ve followed before and loved from Simply Recipes. They give you easy, step-by-step directions (with pictures!)
So, let’s get started…
Take your sheet of pre-made pie crust and lay it on a floured surface. Roll it out a bit with a pin just to make sure it’s smooth and has an even thickness. Now cut the dough in thirds, length-wise. The middle section will be cut in half again – this should make two rectangular pieces of dough (my recipe is for two pies; made from one pre-made pie crust “sheet”) and we’ll use those to cover the inside of the glass ramekins. Just lay them in the ramekin, pushing the corners down to make sure the whole interior is covered with dough. Take scrap pieces to fill in any spots that may not be covered; press firmly on the dough so it’s one seamless piece. Make sure the dough is all the way up to the rim of the ramekin. (The crust is the best part, after all! No skimping!) Cut the remaining two outer pieces of crust into 1/2 inch – 1 inch slices – these will be the pieces that make up our lattice top.
Let’s make the filling awhile… I just threw a combination of quartered strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries into a bowl. I’d say I had about 2 cups of fresh berries. Now add about 2 tablespoons of both brown sugar and cornstarch – this will help soak up any excess liquid from the berries during the baking process and make it more of a sweetened syrup instead. I also added about a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. You could also add a little bit of fresh lemon zest at this point, but Dan isn’t a fan of lemon in my baking so I keep it out. Mix the ingredients together until all the berries are evenly coated.
Now it’s time to fill your pie crust-covered ramekins with the berry mixture! (Just distribute the mixture evenly between the two ramekins.) At this point, you can follow this easy tutorial from Simply Recipes (love that site!) on how to successfully lattice top your pies. I swear, it’s one of those things that’s intimidating ’til you actually give it a try. It’s a breeze! Believe me!
Once your pies are assembled, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and start making an egg wash. I just used one egg, lightly beaten, and brushed it over the top of the pies. You could also use a heavy cream or whole milk wash instead of the egg. Sprinkle a little sugar on top and place your pies on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet (just in case they overflow a bit!) Bake the pies for about 35-45 minutes depending on the size of your ramekins. Basically, you just want the crust to be a nice golden brown and the contents inside to be bubbling so you know it’s completely heated through.
Let the pies cool for a good 5-10 minutes before eating. We had ours with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and they were everything I was hoping they’d be! A bit tart, not overly sweet, and the crust was buttery with a little crunch (and! it was pre-made! yay!)
Fun Tip: If you have any extra filling or a few scraps of the crust, make your littles a tiny turnover so they can enjoy some dessert too! Della devoured hers 🙂