I was inspired to create today’s recipe, thanks to a run-in with some especially lackluster pie dough. Actually, several lackluster pies, filled with some of the tastiest, freshest fillings I’ve ever had, but surrounded by under-baked, flavorless, dry crust. The worst, right?! As I indulged in a slice of one of these said pies (we’ll leave the bakery unnamed), I couldn’t help but daydream about how I would improve upon its exterior. More bake time? Butter instead of shortening? Less kneading? The answer was all of the above, which really all boils down to one thing. In my opinion, a great pie crust needs texture.
I’m talking about a deeply golden crust, with a little crunch on the outside and tender, flakey layers that melt when they hit your tongue because, butter.
And it must be sturdy enough to stand up to all the beautiful juices that fruit gives off when baking. Soggy bottoms are a major faux pas.
One thing led to another and before I knew it my pie daydreams had me itching to get into the kitchen and experiment. Since I was hoping to add texture and depth to my go-to buttermilk pie dough recipe, I decided to add cornmeal to the mix. I’m a huge fan of cornbread and its lightly sweet, rustic crumb, so it seemed like the perfect fit.
And let me tell you, my little experiment did not disappoint. The resulting crust was deep, golden brown — almost the color of a soft pretzel’s exterior — with a healthy flake and crunch that provides the perfect vehicle for my bumbleberry filling.
Speaking of bumbleberry filling, in case you’re not familiar, bumbleberry is not an actual fruit, it’s a nickname for combination of several types of berries, often with the addition of rhubarb or apple as well.
In this recipe, I used fresh raspberries, blackberries and strawberries in combination with frozen rhubarb. I couldn’t find any fresh rhubarb at my local grocery, but it’s just coming into season so you should be able to find it stocked in your produce section now, if not soon.
This is hands down my favorite pie filling. The combination of ripe, sweet berries with a touch of tartness from the rhubarb is insanely addicting.
Add a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and you’ve got yourself the perfect dessert to welcome warmer weather and the arrival of summer fruit. Enjoy!
For the cornmeal crust:
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour (can sub all-purpose)
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup cold buttermilk plus 2 to 3 tablespoons more if your dough is dry
For the bumbleberry filling:
- 1 cup sliced rhubarb, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 2 cups fresh, sliced strawberries
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 egg beaten with a splash of water, for egg wash
- course sugar, for sprinkling
- ice cream, for serving
- To prepare the pie dough: Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. (Note: for smaller food processors, make the dough in two batches.)
- Scatter the butter cubes over the top of the flour and pulse until mixed but there are still large chunks, about 10-12 pulses.
- Pour in the cold buttermilk and pulse until there are some chunks of butter the size of large peas, some smaller. The dough should be shaggy, and is moist enough when it sticks together when pinched between your fingers.
- Pour dough out onto a floured sheet of parchment paper. Form into two discs then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, up to overnight.
- To prepare the filling: Combine the fruit, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a large bowl. Stir well to ensure the fruit is coated in cornstarch.
- To assemble and bake: Preheat the oven to 425F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Once the dough is chilled, on a lightly floured surface roll out one disc to about 1/8-inch thick. Use a salad bowl or 6-inch cake pan to measure and cut out 6-inch circles of dough. Place your dough rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate. Repeat with the second disc. Once all your rounds are cut, refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to chill.
- Divide the fruit mixture between your 9 rounds, leaving about 1-inch of space on all sides. Fold up the edge of each dough round around the fruit, pleating the dough as you go. Tuck in any extra fruit, and brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with course sugar.
- At this point, I like to freeze my galettes for 30 minutes to guarantee they hold their shape in the oven. This step is optional but recommended.
- To bake, place the baking sheets on the center rack of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
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