Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, oh my! And in a pie? It’s delightful and delicious, but it’s also a bit tedious.
Why would I say that you may ask? Well, because it takes effort to obtain the right consistency—lots of it.
Don’t get me wrong; the pie can still taste good. Mine tasted great. However, berries contain liquid, both its natural juices and the water you’d use to rinse them, or the ice crystals that form if you freeze them.
Therefore, it is important to dry the fruits with a paper towel or strainer. If you have the patience, you can let it sit on your kitchen counter for an hour or two. But think about your climate, house temperature, environment, and above all, critters. That’s right—I’m talking about bugs.
Anyway, let me talk about my experience with baking mixed berry pie. First, you must be wondering why I omitted the strawberries. I either did not have them or chose not to include them, maybe for being taught its cooking restrictions as a child.
I also might have overfilled the pie crust with the berries. Rather than stopping at the height of the crust, I may have towered the fruits above it.
I definitely followed a recipe, but added some twists to it, such as the blackberries and raspberries. I do not recall where I got the recipe from. However, I do think my proportions for cornstarch and liquid were off.
Not only did I add extra berries, but I also likely missed the water content in the fruits, thus ending up with a pie filled with liquid. When I sliced the cooked pie, it came apart. The crust and berries collapsed.
What did I do to resolve it? I spooned out as much liquid as possible, added more cornstarch to it, and heated them on the stove in a pot.
Sadly, it didn’t solve the problem entirely. I could only get some of it in a small portion of the pie, but not all of it.
This happened again when I made a pure blueberry pie. That means I didn’t include other types of berries, although I did mix fresh blueberries with frozen wild blueberries. Once again, the measurements of the liquid consistency along with the cornstarch did not work out. I added some gelatin to the liquid after baking it. However, that still didn’t solve the problem.
What surprised me the second time was that I added more starch to the berries than before, and they appeared thick and jelly-like before I put the pie in the oven.
I do not believe either pies were hits, either with me or my family. I remember that the blueberry pie was placed in the refrigerator, forgotten about or ignored, and then thrown away. As for the mixed berry pie, I don’t know what happened to it before I tossed it in the trash.
My mom told me that, for the future, I should research proper proportions and measurements before baking, especially if I am going to alter the ingredients or change the amount I make. I agree with her.
Unfortunately, she is making me cut down on how much I bake. So, I had to decrease my baking to no more than once a week. I’m not going to lie—it’s pretty annoying, especially when you’re 27 years old. I am really eager to move out of my parents’ home and have my own place this summer of 2021. But that’s a whole different topic.
At some point, I want to make another pie. However, this time, it won’t be a berry kind. Actually, it will contain berries along with a mix of other fruits. I will call it a fruit salad pie.
I don’t know how or when I am going to prepare that fruit salad pie. But when I do, I will be sure to do my homework and test liquid and starch consistencies.
According to my research, you should have 1 tablespoon of starch per 1 cup of liquid. Then you should stir it and end up with a smooth paste. That way, when it heats, you have a gel-like consistency and your pie will not fall apart.
Of course, that rule won’t apply to every kind of pie. It might not apply to all blueberry pie recipes, although some may call for flour instead of cornstarch.
Another trick is to use tapioca starch, which can thicken liquid more, according to my mother. I actually used that in my last blueberry pie. Sadly, that also failed.
Just remember—no one starts out perfect at anything. Cooking takes years and years of practice. I’ve been cooking since I was 12 and still see more chances to improve my skills.
If you really want to bake a pie and you have little to no cooking experience, I would recommend a beginner recipe and following the steps exactly as they’re written. That means no altering the ingredients. That is better for when your skills grow.
If you already have lots of experience, then go ahead and experiment with different ingredients. Just be mindful of your proportions and the chemical reactions the ingredients will produce.