Bonus: Mini Berry Pie

I do some of my best thinking in the shower.

It’s true. I have water bills to prove it.

And I did some of my best thinking this summer while watering outdoors (I have water bills to prove this, too)…..and watering, and watering, and watering the 192 impatiens, among other new plants, I decided to put in the beds in front of our house for some added color -- the same garden beds that have lain empty for the past six years. And this…..this is the year I decided to fill them.

We do have four rain barrels strategically positioned around the exterior of our house which collect rain water from the downspouts of the gutter system. I’m just as much a friend to water conservation as the next person. (Except, apparently not so much in the shower.) So is my husband. He built the rain barrels himself. But let me fill you in on a little secret:

Without rain, it’s kind of hard to store rain water..…in rain barrels..…which are used to conserve, you guessed it…water.

Do you see the irony?

(Speaking of irony, I know some of you are wondering…why 192 impatiens? As if anyone needs that many flowers in one garden bed. Well, I get it from my dad. If you don’t believe me, you can read about our tomato problem.)
This is what 192 impatiens gets you.....

So on top of taking showers and watering plants, I also do some of my best thinking in the kitchen while washing dishes.


There seems to be a theme here.

All this talk about water is making me want to go potty. Uh, I mean use the restroom…

And this is what happens when you’ve stayed at home with small children for over six years like I have.

You’re exhausted, you think (and talk) like a small child, and you never have time alone. Unless you’re in the shower, and even then you don’t always have privacy. Ah, the joys of motherhood.

Then, there are the real joys of motherhood. Like each time you play sous-chef to your children’s head chefs in the kitchen, especially when they want to make a pie. That’s what we did when I finished making the Apple-Barb Berry Pie for this past Sunday. And I had so much fun!

Now, it’s no secret in my family that I don’t really enjoy sharing my kitchen. Not that my kids never get to help in the kitchen; they do. I just like my space. And order. And cleanliness. (These are concepts not generally synonymous with small children. Or husbands, for that matter.) But when my four-year-old daughter asks me in a sweet little voice if she can help make a pie (a sweet little voice which is also not normally synonymous with my four-year-old daughter), what’s a type-A-personality mom to do?

While she and my six-and-five-sixths-year-old son (he understands fractions and likes to be exact) each rolled out a crust from the dough scraps I had left from my pie, I scrounged through the freezer looking for fruit to fill their pie. (This was spur of the moment, and I’m a planner, but the spontaneity of it all was so freeing!) After a little math work by my son on how much of each fruit we needed since this was a little mini-pie (we guesstimated about one-fourth the size of a full-size pie), the kids took turns lining the little foil tart pan with the bottom crust, measuring and mixing the filling ingredients, and adjusting the top crust. Not ones to forego an art lesson (I as their student), the kids used teeny-tiny cutters and applied whimsical shapes, with the top crust as their canvas and water as their glue.

 And I think it’s the most beautiful pie I’ve ever seen…

My sweet-as-pie-when-she-wants-to-be daughter, so proud of her pie!
My highly-possessed son, who can't wait for the first bite! Notice the gaping hole where a tooth used to be? The tooth to the left is almost ready to drop, too. But all he wants for Christmas is.....a scooter. He could care less about his two front teeth. Besides, he finally has a chance at learning how to whistle. And he can make a little more room for pie!
Two happy kids, one flour-dusted kitchen, and a berry pie later, I headed off to take a shower -- to think.

Yours in pie,

This was our first mini pie, and it was delicious! The kids especially loved it because it was theirs, and it was just right for them as a pint-size pie. We threw this together without following any recipe, and while it was tasty, the consistency was just a little thin. I’ve listed the measurements we used, but I would adjust for next time and increase the cornstarch and tapioca measurements to ¾ tsp. each.

Mini Berry Pie

Pastry scraps (or enough dough for a two-crust 4 ½-inch tart-size pie)

1/3 c. frozen blueberries, partially thawed

1/3 c. frozen red raspberries, partially thawed

1/3 c. frozen blackberries, partially thawed

¼ c. sugar

½ tsp. cornstarch

½ tsp. tapioca

Dash cinnamon

1 tsp. butter

Combine pastry scraps and roll out dough into two circles. Line the bottom of tart pan with one pastry dough circle. Combine sugar, cornstarch, tapioca, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Pour over berries in a bowl and combine gently. Spoon the filling onto the bottom crust and dot the top of the filling with the butter. Lay the top crust on the filling. Trim and crimp edges. With trimmed-off pastry scraps, use mini-cutters to cut decorative shapes, dot bottom side of shapes with water, and apply to crust. Cut slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape. Bake on the middle rack in the oven at 350° for 1 hour, or until filling is bubbling and crust is golden. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing into pie.


1 comment:

  1. I am so impressed with the quality of your blog. The narrative, the recipes, and pictures. I can "smell" the fresh aroma of the pies and love the candid pictures of your children.

    Keep up the great reads and look forward to your weekly posts.


I'd love to hear from you! Share a comment, or even a pie recipe...