The graham cracker crust here offers balance to the intensely tart raspberry filling. It’s intentionally saltier than most other recipes, so reduce the amount if you like. We also use Diamond Crystal brand’s kosher salt, which is less saltier than Morton’s brand or table salt. If you don’t have Diamond Crystal brand, cut the salt amount by half. As tedious as it may be, be fastidious when cleaning raspberries (see Kitchen Note, below) to ensure no dirt, mold or unwanted critters make their way into the filling. If you prefer a pastry crust here, omit the graham cracker crust ingredients and steps and, instead, make the crust from the Fresh Blueberry Pie. Proceed with the recipe and fill it with the raspberry filling.
Make the graham cracker crust: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the graham crackers in a food processor, then pulse until finely ground; you should get just over 1 ½ cups crumbs. Drizzle in the butter, then sprinkle in the sugar and salt, and pulse again until the crumbs are evenly moistened. (Alternatively, place the graham crackers in a large, resealable plastic bag, close the bag, then use a rolling pin or small skillet to finely crush them. Pour in the butter, sugar and salt, close the bag again and massage the ingredients together until the crumbs are evenly moistened.)
Scrape the crumbs into a 9-inch metal or glass pie pan. Spread them evenly over the bottom and up the side of the pan with your fingers until they’re flush with the edge of the pan. Then use a 1/3-cup dry measuring cup to compact the crumbs evenly against the side and bottom of the pan to create a uniformly even, smooth surface. Bake until the crust is set and lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pie plate to a rack to cool while you make the pie filling.
Make the pie filling: Place the raspberries in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in the water until smooth. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring steadily with the whisk, until the mixture bubbles and thickens to the consistency of a very stiff gel, 3 to 4 minutes, then continue cooking, stirring constantly, for 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and vanilla while hot.
Scrape the gel over the berries in the bowl, then use a large rubber or silicone spatula to gently fold the berries with the gel until fully coated (some of the berries will break down into the gel; that’s what you want). Immediately spoon the raspberry filling into the cooled pie crust, mounding it up slightly if necessary. (After removing each spoonful of berries, gently re-stir the berries in the bowl to ensure the gel stays evenly mixed with them.) Smooth the top of the berries and let the pie cool while you whip the cream.
Either by hand or using an electric mixer, beat the cream and powdered sugar, if using, in a bowl until stiff peaks form. Pile the whipped cream on top of the filling and spread it evenly over the pie. Transfer the pie to the refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight, to fully set. Cut the pie with a serrated knife and serve chilled.
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