Happy Endings

The other day, my husband and I stopped in at a local diner to grab a quick dessert before going to a concert. We both ordered a mixed fruit pie that looked too tempting to pass up. We were both pleasantly surprised by the combination of sweet and tangy flavors that greeted our taste buds. My husband turned to me and asked if I could recreate something like that. I smiled and took up the challenge the very next day. This month's featured recipe is the result of that challenge.

While the pie we sampled in the diner that day boasted more varieties of fruit, I opted to choose three complimentary fruits and boost their flavor with other ingredients like apple cider, vanilla and lemon juice. The apples in this pie form the foundation of the pie and give it extra texture. The rhubarb adds a tanginess that really can't be found elsewhere. And the mulberries add a sweetness that always makes me smile. If you can't find mulberries, try using fresh or frozen blackberries. I opted for mulberries since I had a batch in my freezer from a recent berry-picking expedition with a dear friend who doesn't cook, but loves to forage!

The pie at the diner also had a pastry crust, but I decided that a crunchy crumb topping would be especially welcome on this pie. Since the filling is a wonderful blend of flavors that doesn't come off as too sweet, a topping that packs a bit more for the sweet tooth is a great addition. While I've used butter instead of oil in the topping recipe before, I find that the oil doesn't darken as much when baked for more than 30 minutes.

While you certainly can make your favorite pie crust from scratch, I usually take the easy way out and use a frozen pie crust instead. I usually save my pastry-making skills for sweet and savory tarts and take advantage of store-bought pie crusts for many of my homemade pies. Call it cheating if you'd like -- I call it time-saving!

With all of that said, I'd like to leave you with a little imagery. Imagine enjoying a slightly chilly evening out in a dewy garden with a slice of this pie on a plate and a steaming cup of coffee nearby. You are with your loved ones and marveling at one of fall's fantastic sunsets. Now, just close your eyes and enjoy a bit of pie!

Apple Rhubarb Mulberry Pie

  • 2 c. rhubarb, diced
  • 2 c. apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 c. mulberries (or blackberries)
  • 1/3 c. apple cider
  • 2/3 c. sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 T. cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. rolled oats
  • 1/4 c. coconut
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • One 9-inch deep dish pie crust

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

To make the filling, place the rhubarb, apples, mulberries, apple cider, sugar and vanilla extract in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes bubbly. Combine the cornstarch and lemon juice in a small bowl and add to the bubbling mixture. Stir constantly until the mixture is thickened. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, rolled oats, coconut and olive oil. Work the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Carefully spoon the filling into a prepared 9-inch deep dish pie crust. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the filling. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the topping is golden and the filling is set. Cool completely before serving.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 1 hour