My most beloved summer desserts are, without a doubt, simple fruit pies.
Give me a flaky pie crust topped only with jammy, caramelized fruit, and I will not ask for anything more in the world.
I love it.
I will also fight you for that last piece of pie or the last scoop of berry cobbler.
I will choose pie over cake every time, in every situation.
I one hundred percent fit the “Americana” stereotype of being outside, barefoot, and eating pie in the sun. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon. It’s also what so many of my childhood memories are made of.
When I think of growing up, I see the summer. I see myself with the kids from the neighborhood running through the lawn sprinklers in the 90-degree heat and selling lemonade to make a few dollars. I see us riding our bikes up to the grocery store and buying ice cream. I watch us eating lots of watermelon at various cookouts, and eating pie for dessert. Dessert was always some form of pie. Whether it was storebought “lemon icebox pie” from the freezer section, key lime pie when in season, or my Uncle’s blueberry cobbler, it was always pie.
Recreating the American fruit pie memory abroad
And… I miss it. As an expat, I savor every moment of the Turkish food culture I now surround myself with, but I still strongly miss pie. So, I make it!
Making pie inside of my tiny kitchen, without air conditioning, or ample counter space, in the dead of Istanbul’s summer sweltering heat, is not an easy feat. I have to prepare myself mentally before I can even begin. I have to talk to myself for about three days, gearing up the nerve to go and sweat for pastry.
Consequently, I usually make about 6 batches of dough at once and then freeze them for the rest of summer. It’s a day of kitchen madness but it’s worth it. It fulfills a need that is aching inside my heart. I feel comforted just knowing that I have the pie dough ready and waiting with open arms inside my freezer.
Once the hard part is over (the pastry), the fun part begins. I like to use fruit available to me seasonally. It starts in June with berries and apricots, continues into July with Turkish sour cherries (vişne), and ends in August and September with peaches and figs. I find each month brings me a new taste I look forward to. I get excited waiting for the new products to arrive so I can start planning my pies.
This summer fruit pie back home
This summer I spent 5+ weeks ‘home’ in America, a welcome reunion with my family, and just in time for peach and blueberry season happening over there. We even took a family trip to a peach orchard. I could barely contain myself gazing around the trees lined with peaches, because to my eyes it was like looking at trees promising dreams of pie!
Summer is reaching its end in many parts of the world, but if you’re lucky enough to live under the Turkish or perhaps Mediterranean sun, you may still have several warm days of summer left. I encourage you to brave the kitchen, make the pastry, and find your favorite fruit in season. Make pie!
The easy pie recipe below is a simple ‘hand pie’ or ‘galette’, open-faced and free-formed without any special tools or pie pan. It’s the easiest pie you’ll ever make and you may find yourself making it each month and waiting for that month’s seasonal fruit to arrive just like me.
MY EASY FRUIT PIE RECIPE
FOR THE PIE CRUST (PATE BRISEE PASTRY)
- 2 ½ cup (315 g) flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (225 g) butter
- 1- 4 T. ice water (see dough directions below)
FOR THE FILLING
- 3 ½ cups (500 g) fruit of choice (berries, peaches, apples, plums… a combo)
- 1 tsp. salt
- Juice of a whole lemon
- ¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 T. flour
- 1 T. bourbon
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 beaten egg to glaze the dough while baking
FOR THE PIE DOUGH
Chill all of your ingredients beforehand. Cut the butter into small cubes and freeze it.
Once everything is cold, get out a food processor. Using the food processor, place all of the ingredients except the ice water into the bowl of the food processor. Pulse this together until the butter is the size of small peas. Alternatively, rub the ingredients between your fingertips until the desired texture if you don’t have a food processor. For the last step, slowly pour the ice water into the dough mixture, one tablespoon at a time. The dough should just loosely come together to form a sticky ball. This can take more or less water depending on the day/ humidity of your kitchen/weather. Chill this dough between pieces of cling film for at least 2 hours before using. It can be frozen for up to 3 months!
FOR THE GALETTE
Preheat the oven to 400 F / 200 C. Line a flat baking tray with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir all the filling ingredients together. Take the chilled pastry/pie dough out of the fridge and roll it onto a floured surface. Roll it to be about 12 in (30 cm) in diameter. Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet. Pour all of the filling and any liquid that has collected from the fruit onto the center of the pie dough. Leave about a 2-3 inch (5-7 cm) border of pie dough along the edge. Take this dough border and fold it up and onto the fruit filling creating a border of pie “crust”. Leave the center of the pie uncovered. Brush the dough edge with the beaten egg. Place the galette into the oven and cook it for 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool for about 20 minutes before slicing.