Monday, July 25, 2011

Summer Berry Icebox Pie:
A truly sensational summer dessert

I know when my husband really likes something I baked.
   He eats its quickly, concentrating his eyes on it, barely coming up for air.
   That’s what he did when eating Summer Berry Icebox Pie (click for the recipe).*
   I enjoyed this truly sensational summer dessert just as much.
   In fact, most everyone will adore it. Serve it to someone who likes pie and they may act as if they have never truly eaten pie before that moment.
   The pie absolutely delicious, with a jam-like layer that is a perfect bed to sweet summer berries.
   Because of all the berries on top, it’s very pretty to look at, without much work -- very little work, in fact.
   I was amazed with the ease of this recipe, from the graham cracker crust to the jam layer. The fabulous results it gets almost makes you feel like you cheated somehow.
   *The recipe I linked to above is on a blog, but it is nearly exactly the same as the one I used from America’s Test Kitchen.
   Here are the three miniscule differences:
   - The recipe on the blog says to use five tablespoons of melted butter in the graham cracker crust; the recipe I used said to use four tablespoons.
   - The blog recipe said to bake the crust for 13 to 18 minutes; my recipe says 12 to 16 (and I baked it for 12.)
   - The recipe on the blog said to warm and melt the red currant or apple jelly in a saucepan; the recipe I used said to microwave it on high power for about 45 seconds.

   The crust is made by processing graham crackers, melted butter and sugar in a food processor, then pressing the crumbs into a nine-inch pie plate and baking it. Cool the crust completely before using.
   The filling is made by tossing raspberries, blackberries and blueberries together in a large bowl, and puréeing some of the berries in a food processor until very smooth. This is poured into a fine-mesh strainer into a saucepan.
   Sugar, cornstarch and salt are mixed together then whisked into the strained purée in the saucepan.
   The next step is key and crucial. The purée is brought to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until it is thick as pudding.
   Just as the recipe states, this process takes about seven minutes. It won’t be obvious to you that the purée is boiling, but sure enough, by about seven minutes after it was put on the stove (and you constantly stir it), it will reach the pudding-like texture. Be sure not to burn it!
   Off heat, fresh lemon juice is stirred into the purée, and the mixture is set aside. After it’s cooled slightly, the purée is poured into the pie crust.
   Red currant or apple jelly is melted on the stove or microwave, then poured over the remaining berries and gently rossed to coat.
   The berries are spread evenly over the purée and slightly pressed into it.
   The pie is chilled until set, as least three hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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