Posts Tagged: pie recipes


With berries making their appearance at the markets, I thought it timely to share my recipe for Black and Blue Crostata. A crostata is a rustic free-form baked tart or pie widely seen in Italy. It may also be baked in a pie plate, which is what I chose to do with my crostata. 

A nice change from a typical pie, this sweet crostata has a wonderfully soft cookie-like crust with a preserve-like filling. My black and blue crostata is filled with a mixture of blackberries and blueberries (get it??).  The berries are first cooked with some sugar to create a tasty, ooey gooey preserve, and then added to the pastry shell and topped with a crust. Don’t be turned off by the lattice top crust – it’s surprisingly easy to create!

Recipe makes one 9-inch crostata

Black and Blue Crostata


  • 6oz unsalted butter (soft)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 2 1/4 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (finely grated)
  • 16oz blueberries
  • 6oz blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Large egg (whisked)
  • sugar for sprinkling


Make Crust:
In a Kitchen Aid bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and mix for another minute. Add the remaining ingredients and mix just until dough is formed. Shape into two discs, wrap each with saran wrap and let chill in refrigerator 30 minutes.
Make Filling:
Combine the berries, sugar, flour and water in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a deep sauté pan over medium heat and add the berry mixture. Cook mixture for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mash a third of the berries with a large spoon. Continue cooking for 3 more minutes until thickened. Transfer to a shallow baking pan and let cool in refrigerator. Stir occasionally to speed up cooling.
Make Crostata:
Remove one disc of dough from refrigerator and roll out to a 10-inch round between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Remove top paper and flip dough onto 9-inch pie plate. Trim leaving a ½-inch overhang and flip inward. Press dough into the sides such that it is flush with the top of plate. Poke holes into dough with fork and place in refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Remove second disc from refrigerator and roll out to a 10-inch round between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Remove top paper and cut 10 (1-inch wide) strips. Slide the paper with the strips onto a sheet tray or large plate, and chill for 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a baking sheet onto the middle rack. Remove pie shell from refrigerator and fill with the berry mixture (lukewarm is fine). Arrange 5 strips across filling, trim ends flush with crust and press them slightly into the crust. Arrange remaining 5 strips diagonally on top of the other strips. Trims edges flush with crust and again press them slightly into the crust. Brush lattice with whisked egg and generously sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 55 minutes until filling bubbles and crust is golden brown. Let crostata cool completely before cutting.

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Blueberry Lavender Pie

Blueberry Lavender PieA dessert cookbook wouldn’t be complete without a chapter dedicated solely to pies and crisps! I spent last weekend brainstorming different iterations of this classic American dessert, and among the recipes I created were a Peach Gingersnap Crisp and a Blueberry Lavender Pie. Yes, you read right– lavender! I love using herbs in desserts because they add an unexpected flavor profile and an entirely new dimension to the dish.

Blueberry Lavender Pie

Blueberry Lavender Pie

At first, I thought about using thyme or mint, but ultimately felt that lavender would be a little more unique and interesting. I knew I had made the right decision halfway through baking the pie when I peeked into the oven and the aroma that escaped out was absolutely heavenly. Lavender’s floral and citrus notes blend incredibly well with the sweet blueberries. I made a lattice top crust, which I felt added to the rustic and “wild” nature of the pie, but feel free to use a solid top pie crust if you’re in a rush.

Blueberry Lavender Pie

Beach Town Baking’s Blueberry Lavender Pie

Sweet Butter Crust:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
4 tablespoons water, ice cold

Blueberry Filling:
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon dried lavender
4 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the Sweet Butter Crust:
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar and butter until pea-size pieces of butter form. Add the water and mix just until incorporated. Divide the dough in half. Roll out one half of the dough onto a 9” pie pan. Place the prepared pie shell in the refrigerator until needed. Wrap the remaining dough with saran wrap and place in refrigerator.

Prepare the Blueberry Filling:
Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and dried lavender in a large stainless steel bowl. Add the blueberries and butter. Crush a few berries in bowl with back of rubber spatula. Mix until the berries are coated. Let sit 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove prepared pie shell from refrigerator. Transfer the blueberry mixture into the crust. Using the remaining pie dough, roll out a top crust or a lattice crust if desired. Crimp the edges decoratively. Place pie in freezer for 5 minutes to set up.

Bake pie for 40 to 45 minutes or until juices bubble up over the crust.

Let pie cool completely at room temperature before serving.


What are your favorite fruit pies? Share with me below in the comment section!

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Banana Cream Pie


Banana Cream

Layers of graham cracker, chocolate, custard, banana and whipped cream– who can resist the Banana Cream Pie?

It seems like the trend these days in the baking world is “what’s old is new again”. From cupcakes to whoopie pies to ice cream sandwiches– anything considered old-fashioned is now making a modern comeback.  Take for instance the Banana Cream Pie; for years, this classic dessert hibernated in local mom-and-pop diners. Today, it’s the most popular request I get through my bakery‘s wholesale restaurant catering business.  I wasn’t sure how to go about this dessert, so I decided to do a little research of my own and spent last Monday visiting some Los Angeles eateries – like Urth Cafe and Apple Pan — and trying out their take on this classic pie.

Some places used chocolate crusts, some used nut crusts, and some mixed in banana with the custard, while others used bananas only as a garnish. There were so many different combinations, so I thought, why not put my own twist on it?

  • Fresh, ripe bananas are key in this recipe.
  • I like to dedicate an entire layer to just bananas!
  • Whipped cream rosettes add the perfect vintage touch to this pie!

For Beach Town Baking’s Banana Cream Pie, I decided to go with a thick and crunchy graham cracker crust topped with a thin layer of dark chocolate. After the chocolate set, I made a vanilla bean custard and poured the hot custard over the chocolate covered crust. I let the custard set up for a few hours and then topped it with lots of thinly sliced bananas (3 bananas worth)! To finish the pie and make it pretty, I piped mounds of whipped cream rosettes on top. Lastly, I garnished the pie with freshly grated chocolate curls and drizzled some salted caramel sauce on top. YUM.

I’ve gotta admit, my tummy is pretty happy with my updated version of this classic pie!

Do you have a particular way you enjoy your Banana Cream Pie? Share it with me!

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