It’s hard to argue against a simple dessert of a nice bowl of perfectly juicy, sweet berries at the peak of their season. Really, those berries don’t need to be fiddled around with at all. But people like me just have to fiddle. And if another level of dessert deliciousness can be achieved with just a bit more effort (and an available pie crust), hey, why not?
This is a very easy, almost rustic berry and rhubarb free-form pie that I’ve thrown together a couple of times when I’ve found myself with plenty of luscious berries and, of course, plenty of rhubarb. I’ve got rhubarb growing in proliferation in my back yard from early spring through most of the summer, so it’s delightfully sour self finds its way into desserts without really trying. If you don’t have rhubarb available, however, don’t let that stop you from making this simple berry dessert. Just leave it out and, probably, adjust the sugar content as needed.
This pie comes from Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison, who is happy to allow good ingredients, like berries in season, to be the star of a dish. I just tossed together some berries (I had blueberries, strawberries and raspberries on hand when I took these photos) with rhubarb and brown sugar. A splash of lemon juice keeps flavors and colors bright, and I added what I thought was the right amount of cornstarch to thicken the juices a bit. I used more sugar and cornstarch than you might need if you don’t have rhubarb in the mix, which is sour and especially juicy.
This is just such a delicious dessert, largely because it’s all about the fruit. I even made it with a mediocre store-bought pastry and it was still fabulous, although I preferred it with this easy crust. (The crusts in this post and this post would also be good, of course.) You’ll really need to bake it on a large baking sheet, since there’s a good chance the beautiful berry juices are going to leak out of some breach in the crust’s integrity. For me, that’s an acceptable hazard.
An acceptable hazard made all better with juicy, delicious berries and rhubarb. And ice cream. Don’t forget to serve this with a scoop of ice cream.
Berry and Rhubarb Galette
Adapted from Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison
You could leave out the rhubarb if you don’t have any on hand, in which case you may want to use less sugar. Taste your berries to see how much sweetening they need.
Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and sliced strawberries are all great here.
Pastry for a single crust pie, such as ½ recipe Easy Cream Cheese Pastry
3-4 cups mixed berries and rhubarb, your choice
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon (or so) cream or half and half
1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or foil or parchment. Set aside.
2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the berries and rhubarb with the brown sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch. Gently toss together to mix well.
3. On a floured surface, roll out prepared crust dough into a circle about 10-11 inches. Carefully transfer to the lined baking sheet.
4. Spread the berry mixture over the crust leaving about a 2-inch border. Fold the dough border up over the berries, gently draping and trying to avoid gaps out of which the berries can spill (they probably will anyway). Brush the cream or half and half over the crust. Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the crust.
5. Bake at 425 F until the fruit is bubbly slightly gooey and the crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream. (Of course eating the completely cooled leftovers is perfectly good as well.)
Makes 6-8 servings.