Sunday, May 20, 2012

Jumbleberry or Rhu-berry PIe

I've loved a mixed berry pie ever since a stop at Bumbleberry Inn near Zion National Park when I was young. Bumbleberry Pie theirs was appropriately called, and it was thick in the middle with a dark-purple jumble of berries and a tender, sugar-kissed crust. They served it warm with a dollop of ice cream all melty on the side. I knew then that I'd discovered heaven on a plate.
We made other trips to Zion when I was growing up, but only stopped for pie that once. You'd think when the mecca of deliciousness is just off the side of the road, my family would have veered that way every time. But I wasn't the driver.
It wasn't until an extended family trip a couple of years ago that we once again made the pilgrimage. The Inn was stark-looking, not quaint, like I'd envisioned it. And when the main course wasn't outstanding, I began to fear. Had my memory betrayed me? The Bumbleberry pie arrived and it looked, well, like pie. Served on a plate, not a cloud, no angels announced its arrival. And it wasn't even as pretty as my mom's pies. How could the taste not be disappointing after all those years of glorification in my head?
Well, it was good, but too seedy. I didn't remember it being seedy before. I suppose the whole point of using the name Bumbleberry is that they can use whatever berries are in season. Apparently, we stopped by in the seedy season.
I still had my memories, though. I knew what was possible. So I made my own attempt at a jumbled berry pie. Here's the recipe I came up with last fall, one we've enjoyed several times since. I made it again the other evening to celebrate a visit from my brother and sister-in-law and replaced a cup of berries with rhubarb. I called it Rhu-berry pie and it should have been served on a cloud.  

Jumbleberry or Rhu-berry Pie

Pastry for a two-crust pie
5 cups berries (Fresh or frozen, a mixture of any of the following: blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, marionberry, or others, just not too many seedy ones!)
1 to 1-1/4 cups sugar (the larger amount if using mostly tart berries or rhubarb)
1/4 (rounded) cup Minute tapioca
1 Tbsp butter
1-2 Tbsp milk
coarse sugar, such as turbinado, for sprinkling

Mix the berries with the sugar and tapioca. Let sit for thirty minutes to allow the tapioca to soften.
Roll out the bottom crust and place in a pie pan. Pour in the berry mixture. Slice the butter into small pieces over the top of the berries. Roll out the top crust and slice into strips. Weave the strips to form a lattice crust. (Because berry pies are so juicy, you need lots of venting. If you choose not to use a lattice crust, cuts lots of decorative slits in the top crust) Crimp the edges. Brush top with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour  or until crust is golden and juice is bubbling. Let cool slightly. Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream all melty on the side.  
Variation: for Rhu-berry, replace one cup of the berries with one cup of diced rhubarb. Proceed as directed.

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