A Berry Pie for the 4th of July
A 4th of July celebration would hardly be complete without a decadent ending, devoured as red, white and blue fireworks cascade through the sky. It’s iconic: the 4th of July means backyard cookouts and ample amounts of pie. Usually I would advise against the iconic staples, no you don’t need to eat a funnel cake just because you are at the fair, and thanksgiving does not have to go hand in hand with horrifying overindulgence but, when it comes to pie, I will take any excuse I can get.
Cakes, cookies, dessert bars, ice cream, truffles and even chocolate mousse stand beneath pie in my book, and berry pie comes in second, only just behind rhubarb. While my pie fixation often leads to dangerous amounts of handcrafted, appetizing creations that tempt me for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it is truly a blessing in disguise that this fruit filled delicacy is my dessert of choice.
Aside from a baked apple or poached pear, a homemade pie is one of the healthier desserts one could crave. I should, however, take a step back and emphasize that homemade is the key word in this claim because most of the pre-made pies you pick up in your average grocery store are going to contain equal, if not more, amounts of sugar than fruit. Crusts are packed with partially hydrogenated oils, preservatives and sugars and artificial thickeners and corn syrup are often added to the fruit filling. This is not what I refer to when I talk about pie as a healthy dessert.
The more additives, sugars and preservatives, the less nutrients and flavor you will get. Berries, as recent headlines are making quite obvious, contain significant antioxidant, nutrient and blood sugar lowering potential, the impacts of which are easily drowned out. Berries maintain the highest nourishment potential when picked ripe and eaten fresh, and there is no reason not to do so as we head straight into the heart of the summer berry season.
The blueberries and raspberries on Full Circle’s farm along Griffin Creek are showing promising buds, ripening quickly as the warm weather progresses and I am looking forward to the peak of the season where fresh local berries will be abundant, hopefully in the upcoming weeks.
I am armed and ready to make the most of each sweet berry I get in my Farm-to-Table delivery and pick from my own row of ripening blueberries. For yesterday’s 4th of July celebration I kicked off the berry pie season with a fresh berry pie from a mixture of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries that I added to my Green Grocery order. The decadent, yet simple and wholesome dessert completed the meal of roasted baby beet rounds, sweet spice rubbed grilled salmon and a simple mixed greens salad. The evening was warm, the food was delicious and the preparation was almost effortless: simple, healthy and elegant food for a summer evening celebration.
Whether you are hosting an elegant evening with guests or a simple meal with your family, preparing a remarkable meal does not have to be an intimidating, expensive or indulgent task. Simple recipes, good ingredients and great company are all you need. Check back on Thursday for a collection of my favorite recipes (including the one for berry pie) to have on hand when last minute guests arrive or when you just want to throw together a quick and easy, but decadent meal that your whole family will appreciate.