Strike up the band, wave a flag, and get that barbecue going.
The Fourth of July means sack races, fireworks and sand in your shoes. But above all, it means food. Corn on the cob, hot dogs, chocolate cake, and chips are all on my list of special memories. Sticky and sunburned, we’d spit watermelon seeds at each other with great enthusiasm until we were chased away from the picnic table by the adults.
Create new traditions with these red, white and blueberry treats: breakfast muffins, cherry bomb-inspired cookies for the kids, and a spectacular pie for dessert.
And don’t forget the sparklers!
Put away your apple pie recipe because the combination of fresh berries in this pie is stunning. The colors are so patriotic you’ll want to salute with one hand and eat with the other. Each slice is layered with blueberry filling on the bottom and raspberry filling on the top. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream to complete the red, white and blue-theme.
This recipe is generous, resulting in a deep-dish pie with thick, rustic crust. Leftover crust can be (regardless of what your grandma told you) re-rolled and cut into stars for garnishing each slice. For ease of serving, make your pie the day before and allow it to rest on the counter overnight. Berry pies can be left unrefrigerated for up to two days, but trust me – this pie won’t be around for that long.
For the crust:
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup shortening, chilled
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon vodka (or vinegar, if desired)
For the blueberry filling:
2 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons instant tapioca (For best results, grind tapioca in coffee or spice grinder.)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
For the raspberry filling:
3 cups raspberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons instant tapioca (For best results, grind tapioca in coffee or spice grinder.)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk
Sugar (sparkling, colored, or regular) and sprinkles for decoration
Make the crust: In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine milk and vodka (or vinegar) and return to refrigerator. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add shortening and butter to flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, work the shortening and butter into the flour until there are no pieces larger than a pea. Add cold milk mixture all at once. Stir just until dough comes together.
Wrap 1/3 of the dough in plastic and refrigerate. Roll the remaining dough into a thick crust – between 1/8- and 1/4-inch thick. Place your pie pan upside down on dough and cut out a circle that is 2 inches larger than the pan. (Save scraps for decorations.) Roll dough loosely onto rolling pin and transfer to deep dish pie pan. Fold edge under and flute or press with a fork. Place crust in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Make the fillings: Place berries in separate small bowls, adding the ingredients listed for each type of berry to the correct bowl. Allow filling to sit for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Make the pie: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Remove crust from refrigerator. Pour blueberry mixture onto the crust, spreading evenly. Carefully spoon raspberry filling over blueberries and smooth gently. Return to refrigerator. Roll out remaining chilled dough and cut 4 strips, 1-inch wide and long enough to reach from one side of the pie to the other. Cut star shapes out of the remaining dough and scraps from the crust. This dough can be re-rolled once. Brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles. Lift each strip onto the pie, equal distance apart. Cut off any excess dough at the sides. Decorate with stars. (Refrigerate extra stars until pie is baked, then bake them on a cookie sheet at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. They can accompany each slice of pie.) Bake pie at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 45-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
Berry Patriotic Muffins
Whip these up in the morning and start the Fourth of July off on a festive note. With berry season in full swing, these colorful muffins are a great way to use fresh local fruit.
For the streusel topping:
1/8 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons butter, melted
Pinch of salt
For the muffins:
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
Zest from one lemon
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
36 fresh raspberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
60 fresh blueberries (about 3/4 cup)
Sprinkles and additional blueberries for decoration, if desired
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place paper liners in a 12-cavity muffin pan. In a small bowl, combine the streusel ingredients and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together twice. Add lemon zest and toss lightly.
In a small bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Pour all at once into dry ingredients. Stir gently just until combined. Do not over stir – a few wisps of flour are fine.
Drop 1 tablespoon of batter into each cavity, covering with 3 raspberries. Press berries gently to make the batter cover the bottom of the liners.
Divide the remaining batter between the 12 cavities (approximately 1 rounded tablespoon in each) and then add 5 blueberries. Press berries gently to spread the batter over raspberries.
Cover with 1 generous teaspoon of streusel topping. Top with a blueberry and add sprinkles if desired.
Bake 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of a muffin. Cool on rack in pan for 15 minutes before lifting the muffins out to cool.
Little bits of maraschino cherry are added to Red Velvet cookie batter to create these fun Cherry Bombs. White baking chips and fresh blueberries are pressed into the dough for a patriotic flare, or melted white chips can be drizzled over the cookies and topped with a pinch of sprinkles. Either way, these will be a favorite way to celebrate the Fourth.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon concentrated red food coloring (or to preference)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped maraschino cherries, blotted dry
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
White chocolate chips and fresh blueberries, for decoration
Sprinkles, if desired
In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar for 2 minutes. Add egg, chocolate, red coloring, and vanilla. Beat well. Stir in sour cream and chopped cherries. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add gradually to the butter mixture until completely mixed. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with silicone sheets or parchment. With a small cookie scoop (1 level tablespoon), drop dough approximately 1 1/2 inches apart. Press several white chips and fresh blueberries firmly into the top of the cookie. You can also leave the cookie dough plain if you wish.
Bake 8 minutes, or until there is no mark left on the cookies when pressed gently with a finger. Cool on racks. Plain cookies can be drizzled with melted white chips. Add sprinkles immediately if using.