Once again, we had a holiday weekend to celebrate with themed baked goods. Independence Day also happens to be my grandmother-in-law’s birthday, so I had the perfect excuse to make a cute pie and give it away to someone who would appreciate it.
Once I had the idea to make this pie, I did a quick Google Images search to see how other people did it. It bugged me a little that, while they were quite cute, most of them didn’t have the right number of stripes or stars. I decided to make a Betsy Ross flag so it would be easier to fit my stars in and still make a mostly accurate pie (as accurate as a flag made out of pie can be, that is).
One difficulty I ran into was that the blueberry and cherry fillings I made, which were supposed to make the blue and red parts of the flag, both turned out purple when cooked. I should have known this, as I’ve made blueberry and cherry pies before, but I didn’t account for it beforehand. I remedied this by adding sliced fresh cherries on top of the cherry filling to make the red stripes look more red (I used the red parts of Rainier cherries). If you’re more into looks than taste (or if you prefer tart cherry filling), you might want to try this with tart cherries instead of sweet ones because they tend to be a lighter red. Either way, what this pie promises in looks, it definitely delivers in taste.
You will need the following ingredients:
- 1 recipe sweet pie crust (see here for instructions), or 1 box store-bought pie crust
For the cherry filling:
- 24 oz. dark, sweet cherries, pitted (I used frozen, but fresh are excellent), plus extra for decorating
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
For the blueberry filling:
- 8 oz. blueberries (again, I used frozen)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
For baking ambiance:
- I have to admit that I was in such a rush while making this pie that I just played what was already in my stereo, which happened to be the same Queen album from last week (of course this is an excellent album, so by all means listen to it if you feel like it). If I’d had more time, I would suggest some John Philip Sousa. Not only is it patriotic, it’s just fun and upbeat.
Now that we’ve navigated the tricky waters of baking music selection, let’s make some pie!
If you’re making your own pie crust, try to prepare it the day before so it has some time to chill in the fridge. If this isn’t possible, be sure to make it at least an hour in advance. Dough that isn’t cold enough can end up tough once it’s baked. Split your dough into two discs, with one slightly larger than the other, and wrap them separately or put each into its own sandwich bag.
Next, heat the blueberries in a small saucepan, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking. While the blueberries are cooking, stir together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a small bowl until well-combined, being sure to break up any clumps of brown sugar (if your brown sugar is a solid rock of sweetness, see here for ways to soften it).
When the blueberries have released enough juice to cover themselves, remove the saucepan from the heat.
Stir in the sugar and cornstarch mixture and the lemon juice, then return the saucepan to the heat.
Cook uncovered, stirring regularly, until it thickens. I fully admit that I don’t stir the fruit all that frequently during this stage, and it always turns out fine. When you scrape a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan, the filling shouldn’t immediately fill in the gap.
Let the filling cool in the saucepan while you prepare the cherry filling, then pour and scrape it into a container for refrigerating. Put it in the fridge and chill it until it is completely cooled.
Next, repeat the above process with the cherries. Stir together the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl while heating the cherries, covered, over low heat.
After the cherries have released enough juice to cover themselves, remove them from the heat and stir in the sugar/cornstarch mixture.
Return the cherries to the heat and cook, stirring regularly, until they are thickened like the blueberries (they may end up a little thinner).
Let it cool in the saucepan for awhile (15 minutes or so), then refrigerate it until it is completely cooled.
When your crust and fillings have chilled all the way, preheat your oven to 375°F. Roll out the larger disc of pie crust on a well-floured surface (as I’ve mentioned before, my go-to is a silicone baking mat).
Carefully wrap the crust around your rolling pin. [In the spirit of full-disclosure, I am horrible at this whole crust rolling process and always rely on my husband to do it for me. He has rolling pin skills in his genes passed down on his mother’s side.]
Roll the crust back out into the pie plate, doing your best to center it as much as possible.
Trim off the excess crust, leaving 1/2″ hanging off. Fold the edges of the crust under (between the crust and the pie plate) and flute the edges or press them gently with the floured tines of a fork. Now comes the tricky part. Pour the blueberry filling into one quadrant of the pie crust. Use a spatula to hold it in place and pour the cherry filling around it. My husband also helped me with this part, holding two spatulas on the edges to keep the blueberry in place.
Now, roll out the smaller crust disc approximately 1/8″ thick. Cut six strips slightly less than 3/4″ wide. Arrange them on the pie according to the diagram below (yes, I actually sketched this out and did the math before I started).
Using the remaining crust, cut 13 five-pointed stars using a paring knife or fondant cutter. I found it easiest to cut squares out of the leftover strips and then cut the stars from that. Arrange the stars in a circle over the blueberry filling. Sprinkle the top of the pie with coarse decorating sugar if you’d like a little extra sweetness/pie bling.
Put the pie on top of a cookie sheet or pizza pan (in case the filling leaks) and bake it for 50 minutes, or until the crust is slightly browned. You might also want to cover the edges for the first 30 minutes of baking to prevent over-browning (a pie shield or aluminum foil will do the trick). If you do this, remember to take the covering off so the crust has some time to brown.
Let the pie cool for at least an hour (preferably overnight). While you’re waiting, pit and slice the remaining cherries. Once the pie is cooled, place the cherries onto the red strips of the pie to help differentiate the colors of the different fillings.
Now share and enjoy the patriotic fruits of your labor. Happy Independence Day!
You can download the printable PDF here: American Flag Cherry Blueberry Pie