Saturday, November 6, 2010

Berry and Brie Pie

If you follow me on Twitter, and you were awake around 9pm Pacific time (or 12am Eastern) you might know that I was up planning a pie.

I found frozen pie shells at Grocery Outlet for $0.79/pack of 2.  Dude.  That is cheap.  I also found little brie wheels, which I probably should have bought three or four of instead of just one.  Not sure how much it was but it was also quite cheap.  For the berries, I used the rest of a bag of frozen berries from Costco that has been in my freezer for a while.  I was on a smoothie kick for a while, but broke the blender, so was stuck with a bag of berries.  It was three types of berries: blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.  I also had some other frozen blueberries from the summer time when blueberries were cheap.

I knew I wanted to make a pie and a berry one at that, but what could I do to make it different from any old other berry pie?  I know!  Cut up the brie and pour berries over it!!  But wait, won't that look strange, a pool of berries inside a pie crust?  Yes it would... What could take this pie over the top?  Crisp topping!!  Yes!!

So armed with my idea for a crisp-topped berry-brie pie, I went forth and made it so.

This recipe is enough for two pies, one with cheese, one without.  If you want to make two with cheese, then you will need two brie wheels.

about 5 or 6 oz brie cheese with the outer edge of the rind cut off.  Cut into about 8 wedges.
2 - 8 or 9" pie crusts (I used the ones that come in aluminum pie tins)
Berry Filling (see recipe)
Crisp Topping (see recipe)
Secret Stash Vanilla Salt (add about 1/2 tsp to both berry filling and crisp topping)

Berry Filling:
about 5 cups frozen berries
4 tbsp (1/4cup) cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water
1/3 to 1/2 cup raw sugar; or sweeten to your liking.

Crisp Topping (Courtesy of the Food Network website, recipe by Ina Garten)
***This turned out to be much too much topping, however if you were to make three pies, or a crisp the next day, you would be fine.  I would recommend using only 3/4 cup flour, as I like my crisp topping to be more oatmeal than flour, and perhaps 1/4 cup more oats.**

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt {I used the vanilla salt mentioned earlier}
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
  • **I added about 1/2 cup raw sliced almonds because I felt the nuttiness would really complement the cheese and berries. It does!**
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, put a cookie sheet on the rack you are going to use for baking the pies, so that it can pre-heat, too.  The pie filling will overflow while baking (unless you're a perfect genius of course).  Also, the cookie sheet should be big enough to hold both pies.

Begin by putting all the berries in a saucepan and turning the heat to medium-low.  When they are all thawed and warm, stir in the sugar.  Let the sugar dissolve a bit then, slowly stir in the dissolved cornstarch liquid.  Turn the heat up to medium and boil for 1 to 3 minutes.  Remove from heat, turn off burner.   

Now, combine all the dry ingredients for the crisp topping together in a bowl and mix well.  Then, add the butter.  I mixed this all together with my hands because I feel using a spoon or mixer is just too much work.  Plus getting your hands dirty is fun! 

The cheese should already be cut up, oven and cookie sheet preheated this whole time, and crisp topping should be all ready.  Take the pie shells out of the freezer.  (I am operating under the assumption that you are using frozen shells that are already in aluminum pie-tins.)  Put the cheese slices in the bottom of one pie shell.  Pour less than half the berry mixture over the cheese slices.  The berries should NOT completely cover the cheese, the berry mixture should go about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the pie shell.  You will have massive cheese and berries escaping if you try to cover the cheese wedges, like I did.  Pour the rest of the berry mixture into the other pie shell.  Now, put a layer of the crisp topping on the pies and place the pies onto the cookie sheet.  

I baked mine about 15 minutes at 400 degrees F, then turned it down to 350 degrees F, leaving the oven door open for a few minutes so that it cooled down faster.  The hotter the oven, the more likely all your berries will try to escape, or you will burn the crisp topping and nuts.  Bake another 20-35 minutes, depending on how fast your crust and topping cook.  Since the berries are already ready already, the only thing you are waiting for is the cheese to melt, the pastry to cook and the crisp to be crispy!  

Good luck and let me know if you try this recipe!!  I really enjoyed it.