The Pies of Summer

What could be more inviting than a glistening, juicy, bubbling-over summer fruit pie? It’s one of the joys of the season.

One look at a basket of perfectly ripe peaches or berries, and I can already hear the oohs and ahhs from my family as I pull a golden, gooey, lattice-trimmed cobbler from the oven. Bring on the ice cream!
The secret to whipping up a fabulous pie quickly and easily is having good, homemade pie crust dough on hand in the freezer. My recipe is a classic — it includes an egg for richness and vinegar for tenderness. Each batch makes six crusts. Make ahead, wrap individually and store on a shelf in your freezer. A quick, 15-second thaw in the microwave, and you are ready to roll. For the recipe, go to fwtx.com and click on Recipes.

Picture Perfect Peach Cobbler
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
• 3 cups peeled and sliced fresh peaches
• 1-1 1/2 cups sugar or to taste
• 1/4 cup butter
• 2 cups water
• 2 pieces Easy Pie Crust dough (or any dough for double-crust pie)
• 1 tablespoon sugar to sprinkle on top
In a large (2 1/2 quart), ovenproof casserole dish, combine peaches, sugar, butter and water. Simmer over medium heat a few minutes.
Meanwhile, on a floured surface, roll half the dough to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. With peach mixture simmering, drop in the dough pieces, one at a time. As you drop them in, use the back of a wooden spoon to gently push them down into the simmering mixture. Simmer a few more minutes, until all the dough pieces are cooked (they will still look doughy).
Remove peach mixture from heat. (For easier lattice making, allow mixture to cool for an hour.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Roll second half of dough. Cut into strips and place on top of peach mixture in lattice pattern. Sprinkle with one tablespoon sugar and bake 20 minutes or until crust is browned.

Fresh Strawberry Pie
Yield: 2 pies to serve 6 each
• 2 pieces Easy Pie Crust dough (or any dough for double-crust pie)
• 6 cups fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, dried
Strawberry Glaze:
• 3 cups water
• 3 cups sugar
• 1, 3-ounce package strawberry gelatin, dry
• 1 cup cornstarch dissolved in one additional cup water
• 1 to 2 teaspoons red food coloring
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll crust dough and fill two, 8- or 9-inch pie pans. Blind bake crusts.* Remove from oven and cool completely.
In a medium saucepan, combine water, sugar and gelatin. Bring to a boil, stirring often. With mixture boiling, slowly whisk in cornstarch/water mixture and continue to whisk until mixture is thick. Remove from heat and whisk in food coloring. Allow mixture to cool at room temperature.
Spread each cooled pie crust with about 1/4 cup cooled glaze. In a large bowl, gently mix strawberries with remaining glaze. Divide glazed strawberries between the two crusts, mounding in the centers. Refrigerate, UNCOVERED, for two hours before slicing and serving.
* Blind bake: Line crusts with foil and fill foil with dry beans or rice. Bake 15 minutes. Remove foil and beans and continue to bake another 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Grape Croustade
Yield: 6 servings
• 2 pieces Easy Pie Crust dough (or any dough for double-crust pie)
• 1 egg mixed with one tablespoon water to make a glaze
• 2 cups grapes, washed and dried
• 1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Roll dough into one large round, about 15 inches across. Roll up edges of dough to form a 1/2-inch high border. Brush entire dough with egg glaze.
3. Fill center of dough with grapes and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 20 minutes or until dough is browned.

Blackberry Rolled Cobbler
Yield: 4 servings
The only sweetening is in the syrup, which also gives this cobbler a nice gooey factor. To prepare ahead, pour syrup over unbaked slices, then freeze for up to two months. For a hot dessert, simply thaw, sprinkle with sugar and bake.
• 1 piece Easy Pie Crust dough (or any dough for a single crust)
• 2 cups fresh blackberries or other fruit
• Cobbler Syrup (recipe follows)
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• Cobbler Syrup:
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large flat baking dish or pie pan.
Roll dough into a rectangle approximately 6 inches x 12 inches. Pile blackberries in the center of the dough, lengthwise. Fold edges of dough to the top and pinch together. Turn roll so seam is underneath. Cut roll into four pieces and use a large spatula to transfer pieces to buttered baking dish.
In a small saucepan, heat and stir water, sugar and butter until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted. Pour syrup over pie pieces in baking dish. Sprinkle dough with one tablespoon sugar. Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.