Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mixed Berry Pie and Turnovers (OXO Product Review)

Wow, I've kind of fallen off the wagon with posts over the last couple weeks.  I apologize to my loyal readers.  To make it up to you, let me share a delicious new pie recipe and tell you about OXO's new cherry pitter design.

To make this pie...

...which involves delicious homegrown sweet cherries, blackberries, and blueberries... need one of these.

But the design of the above pictured cherry pitter is awful.  I'd been using it for about three years now, and I never liked it.  The grip was too far apart to be comfortable for my hands, it wouldn't really come clean in the dishwasher and was a slight pain to wash by hand. Plus it splattered cherry juice everywhere - on my counter, down my arm, across my (apron-clad) front...

You get the idea.

But fresh cherry pies are so awesome, so you need a decent cherry pitter to make the pitting part easy.

I received OXO's newly designed cherry pitter recently and I have to say, it's pretty awesome.

For one thing, the distance between the hand grips is far, far smaller than on my old cherry pitter.  It's more ergonomically designed and thus more comfortable for pitting quart upon quart of cherries.  The overall design is a lot smarter too.

The prong (the thing that pushes through the cherry, I don't know if it has an actual name) is made of metal - probably stainless steel.  The little "cradle for the cherry is also a little more secure - I had no fears of the cherry falling out, which was a bit of a problem on my old pitter.  Plus, see that little plastic sleeve on the bottom there?  That's a splash guard.

So you don't spray yourself and your kitchen with cherry juice.

It works like a dream.

Plus, that little plastic guard comes off for easy cleaning - and like most OXO products, the whole thing is dishwasher safe.

And perhaps my favorite part (aside from the dishwasher safe thing) - there's a little locking mechanism that lets you lock the pitter closed for easy storage.  Takes up way less space in my drawer!

So, armed with this awesome OXO cherry pitter, what did I decide to make?

Well, that mixed berry pie, of course!

It was one of a dozen pies I made for a friend's wedding recently.

(This, by the way, is one of the reasons I haven't blogged much in the past couple weeks.  The other reason is getting my classroom ready.)

Anyway, the mixed berry pie was amazing, if I do say so myself.  Want to know how to make it?

Mixed Berry Pie

  • 2 and 1/2 to 3 cups fresh or frozen pitted sweet cherries
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Pastry for 2-crust pie
*I took the "syrup" ingredients and directions from this recipe for a basic blueberry pie filling, omitting the lemon zest and juice.

Combine the sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and water in a 4-quart sauce pan, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, stirring periodically to make sure none of the sugar or spices is "falling" from the solution.
Once this comes to a boil, add the fruit and stir to coat and combine evenly.  Bring it back to a simmer and cook about 3 or 4 minutes (longer if your berries are frozen), stirring occasionally, until the juice is clear and thickened.  Be careful, as the delicate blackberries and blueberries are easily crushed.

Prepare a pie plate with one pastry crust and pour the filling into the pie shell.  Dot with about a tablespoon of butter.

You can use a full top crust, or if you want to get fancy, use a lattice crust.  Sprinkle the crust with sugar. Bake on 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.

Because I was using disposable aluminum pie plates, I had a bit of filling leftover.  So I decided to make some turnovers.

Start with enough pastry dough for a one-crust pie, rolled into a rectangle and trimmed.  Cut into six even squares.

Spoon filling onto the squares and dot with a little bit of butter.

Carefully, (because the filling is a little juicy) fold the squares corner to corner and pinch the edges together to make a triangular turnover.  Dabbing some water on the edge of the crust helps it stick together.  Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Cut a couple slits on the top of the turnovers, sprinkle with sugar, and bake on 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, until the crusts are nice and brown.  They will ooze all over the place.  I've yet to find a way around this.

Let the turnovers cool a little bit so nobody burns their fingers or mouths, and then enjoy!  (Hopefully you'll enjoy with a few friends.)

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