In honor of Independence Day, I finally turned on my oven! I thought I would do something a little different this 4th of July. Normally I bake the best apple pie ever (it truly, truly is) or my flag cake. This year, I combined the two...sort of...and made a flag pie with blueberries and red cherries.
My favorite thing about this time of year isn't the summer heat (seriously, it's not the heat), the fireworks, the long weekend, the homemade ice cream, or the fresh corn, but the beautiful, endless bounty of fresh berries. (And before you even think it, I know that cherries are not a berry. In fact, Bubba, Tink, and I just had a long discussion about how much a cherry is not a berry. One of us even resorted to googling "is a cherry a berry," but I won't say who.) So, stock up on all the berries in your local farmer's market or grocery store and toss any berries that don't get eaten into a freezer bag and they will keep until next year. These blueberries came from a farm less than an hour from our house!
You will need:
5 cups dark cherries (fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
3 T lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 heaping T instant tapioca pearls (1T plus 1/4 cup if using frozen cherries)
1T butter, cut into pieces
two pie crusts
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Wash and pit your cherries (or open up three bags of frozen) and put them in a large bowl. Wash and check your blueberries for stems and place them in a smaller bowl. Toss the cherries with 2T of the lemon juice, the blueberries with the remaining 1T of juice. Mix together the sugar and the cornstarch. Add 1 cup of the mixture to the cherries and stir gently.
Then add the remaining 1/4 cup of mixture to the blueberries.
If you are using fresh berries, get a heaping T of tapioca and sprinkle the pearls onto the blueberries until you are left with a real tablespoon. Sprinkle the remainder onto the cherries. Stir. If you are using frozen berries, add 1T of tapioca pearls to the blueberries and 1/4 cup pearls to the cherries. Either way, let the mixtures sit for 15 minutes.
While the berries and cherries are hanging out (or as the kids would say, chillin' out, maxin', relaxin', all cool) place one pie crust into your pie pan and set the other out on a floured countertop or pastry cloth. Cut off the bottom of one side so that you have a nice, long, evenly flat side. Then, using a pizza cutter, cut three long, even pieces for the 3 long stripes. (You will eventually end up with 3 long stripes, 3 short stripes, and 6 stars.)
Set those aside and cut one more. Now cut that one into thirds.
If you have a mini star cookie cutter, good for you! If you had one but lost it (like me) or have never had one you can freehand the stars or use a template. I used a cupcake decoration. You need 6 stars.
Now you have your stars and stripes!
Bend a bit of aluminum foil to create a dam for the blueberries in the upper left-hand quadrant of your pie dish.
Pour your blueberries into your dam, then pour the cherries into the remaining 3/4 of the pie. Slowly remove the foil.
Place the butter pieces around the pie.
Now add your stars and stripes! Stars over the blueberries, of course. :)
Tuck the edges of the stripes into the bottom pie crust.
Bake at 375 for 40-60 minutes. The sauce will thicken up quite a bit while it bakes.
Don't run to the dry cleaners and the library while the pie is in the oven because it may only need 40 minutes and 60 minutes will make the top crust kind of brown. But even if you do run errands, the pie is going to taste AWESOME.
My favorite thing about this pie is that the berries (and cherries) really shine. Their natural sweetness is enhanced by the mere 1 cup of sugar and not overwhelmed. Have you ever had one of those cherry pies that taste like pure, gooey sugar? Ick. This pie is all about the berries. And cherries, which are not a berry dang it! :)
You can taste the perfectly ripe blueberries and the tang of the fresh cherries. This pie is a showcase for berries! And cherries!!
I hope you enjoy it every bit as much as we did. I doubt there will be any left for us for the actual 4th of July. Guess I'll have to make another one!!
Happy 4th of July!!!!!!!!!!!!