Monday, September 1, 2014

Fruit & Mixed Berry Pies and Crumbles

Once in a while, as those who know me may know, I go bulk when I am baking. No, that doesn't mean gaining weight (though that is a distinct possibility when there is baking in the house)! It means making a filling and using it in different ways, a little baker's secret I learned during the lean(er) years. This time it meant making up a delicious fruit medley with apples, pears and peaches and creating pies and "crumbles" a.k.a. apple crisps or brown betty. The berries came into play because I had a craving for another fruit crisp with a different flavor. So here you go, two-in-one recipe ideas. Note: I got a big bag of Envy and Cripp's Pink apples from Sam's Club so I used them in the pie mixture, but you can just as easily use Pink Lady, Fuji, Delicious, Mac, Gala or any other apple.



  • 6 apples - I like mixing varieties - washed, cored, peeled and sliced into chunks
  • 2 peaches - washed, peeled and sliced into chunks
  • 2 Bartlett pears (love this variety) - washed, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 c golden brown sugar, 1/2 c white granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon (we do love our cinnamon)
  • 1/2 c water (enough to just cover the bottom of a medium to large sauce pan
  • 1/4-1/2 c cornstarch mixed with approx. 1 c water
  • Butter or margarine
  • 1c. white sugar mixed with 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 prepared pie shells (I cheated and used commercial frozen shells)
  1. Cut fruit (as above) and place in sauce pan with water (as directed above). Simmer until soft (approximately 10-15 minutes), adding a bit more water to keep from scorching, then add sugars and cinnamon, stirring to combine. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or so, stirring often until fruit releases its juice. Stir in cornstarch and water until mixture thickens to a pie filling consistency. Remove from heat.
  2. Roll out pie shells and place in pie plates. This mixture will make enough for 2 pies plus a crumble (recipe to follow). Place about 2 big ladles-full of mixture in each pie shell and dot with butter or margarine. Cover with top pie shell and crimp edges, then score with a fork to let steam escape. 
  3. If you use aluminium pie plates, like I did, place on a large cookie sheet (with sides). 
  4. Sprinkle each with about 2 tbsp cinnamon/sugar on top and bake in 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until the fruit is simmering on the edges and the pie crust is golden brown.
  5. Cool slightly before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.
If you want to freeze the pies, like I did, let them cool thoroughly and then mix in foil and place each in a freezer (Ziploc) bag until you want to serve them. Then just unwrap and place on a cookie sheet, heating at 350 degrees until heated through. They will be like fresh once more.


While the fruit pies are baking, ladle the remaining pie mixture into a pie plate. I found I had 2 extra pans left when I used the frozen pie shells, which was perfect for these 2 crumbles. Mix the rest of the cinnamon/sugar mixture (previous recipe) with about 2 c flour, 1/2 c brown sugar and 1/2 c butter or margarine. Mix into crumbs using a pastry blender or chop with 2 knives until crumbly (hence the name). Pour about 2 to 3 c of frozen mixed berries (I used a strawberry/blueberry mixture) into the other pie plate and then simply pour on and pat half the crumbs or crumbles on top of each. Place on a large cookie sheet. Once the other pies are finished, place these 2 'pies' on the cookie sheet and put in the heated oven (raise temperature to 400 degrees). The apple mixture crumble will take about 30 minutes to heat through and combine, baking until the crust is golden (as above) and the mixture is oozing out. The berry crumble (bottom) takes about an additional 10 minutes because the berries were put in frozen. If you use fresh mixed berries in season, they will take the same amount of time as the apple crumble. Don't under-cook, because the crumble will taste raw, but over-cooking will burn the crispy topping. Watch closely after 20 minutes.

This may be eaten right away with ice cream or whipped cream, or it may be wrapped in foil and Ziploc bags and frozen until you want a home-made treat without all the effort. Enjoy! If you want to freeze and reheat, follow directions in previous recipe.

Note: The cooked apple mixture also is delicious when placed on Pillsbury Crescents, rolled and baked as directed to make "Wormy Apple Crescents" with children. Just stick a couple of gummy worms in each crescent after they are baked. Kids love it! Imagine, 3 ways to use one recipe!

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