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Happy Independence Day!

Since I love to embrace the festive elements of life, I thought I would share some recent pie experiences with you all, if only to compensate for this overcast day and its outdoor-inhibiting precipitation. Central Pennsylvania is not having the trite sunshine and warmth typically lauded on the Fourth. No, we are instead enjoying an understated drizzle/gloom combination for the holiday weekend. How nice. C’est la vie.


Guided by the sage advice of Bon Appétit‘s test kitchen, I recently attempted my first fruit pie. I heeded their no-nonsense decree: “Fruit, sugar, cornstarch, acid, extras. These are the only things you need to remember to turn out a perfect pie filling.” Advice in mind, I chose Strawberries, apricots, cornstarch, apple cider vinegar, and for the “extras” I made a basil/vanilla whipped cream. I whipped the cream you guys- by hand. The “soft peaks” stage I’m sure you’ve all heard of…takes so much longer to reach than rumored. Talk about minor muscle toning! It was, however, rather satisfying in the end, and my little pie creation held its own. Following the basic ingredient formula, I was thrilled to discover that my strawberry apricot pies were properly sweet and tart, thanks to the apple cider vinegar (and despite hazarding guesses for all measurements).

Strawberry apricot mini pies!

Strawberry apricot mini pies!

This weekend I had the pleasure of encountering yet another perfectly seasonal pie. One of my best friends grew up on a veritable treasure-trove of biodiversity, and luckily for me, she was visiting this weekend, just as the blueberries and black raspberries were reaching prime-time plumpness. We spent the evening gathering, snacking, and soaking up the early July sunshine. Her mother, a domestic-goddess extraordinaire, baked a berry custard pie with our harvest.

berry harvest with wildflowers

berry harvest with wildflowers

Although my involvement in this pie’s success was limited to berry-picking, I watched the several-generations old recipe under construction, and witnessed the custard’s iconic jiggle as it emerged from the oven.

Eating freshly baked pie on their Eden-esque property, and enjoying the rustic wholesomeness of a summer evening outdoors with friends, made it a very festive holiday weekend indeed.