How to bake a pie for this Fourth of July

Three slices of Peach Pie with Duck Fat Crust, each on its own plate with a fork. Fresh, peach slices are on the table.
(Leslie Grow / For the Times)

10 recipes to celebrate summer and the Fourth

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Fourth of July means burgers and hot dogs on the grill. It also means pie — fruit pie as opposed to cream or nut pie. Apple is considered America’s favorite fruit pie, but cherry, blueberry and peach, all plentiful in summer and in season now, rank highly as well. With so much fruit available, a Fourth of July party is an excellent excuse to bake a pie. If baking a fresh fruit pie sounds at all intimidating, check out Noelle Carter’s pie crust best practices. You’ll be making professional-looking and tasting pie crusts in no time.

When it comes to fillings, the trick is to balance the moisture of a particular fruit with whatever — if any thickener one chooses to elicit juiciness rather than gloppiness. For this Apple Pie, leaving the fruit in large chunks reduces the surface area that gets sprinkled with the sugar and spice. The result is that less liquid is expressed while cooking and no thickening agent is needed. Alternatively, this Oven-Fried Apple Pie uses smaller apple chunks and adds cornstarch to thicken the juices. It is also double-crusted for those who like more pastry. Apple Hand Pies, also double-crusted in their own way, have you partially cook the apples to release some of the moisture prior to wrapping them in the pastry, so no thickener is needed. Sweet Cherry Pie uses cornstarch to thicken the juices and adds some Grand Marnier to brighten the cherry flavor.

If you are all about the crust, you will surely want to try this Peach Pie With Duck Fat Crust. Thanks to duck fat, it practically shatters when you cut into it. The juices here are thickened with cornstarch.

The filling is made entirely on the stove top for this Fresh Blueberry Pie. It has you make a blueberry jam, which gets mixed with fresh blueberries and poured into the prepared crust (which you can bake the day before). Topped with fresh whipped cream, it is sort of like a deconstructed blueberry Pop-Tart.


Even simpler, is this Fresh Raspberry Pie which treats the berries similarly and then skips the pastry altogether and uses a graham cracker crust instead. Strawberries are treated similarly in this Vintage Strawberry Pie, though here you have to allow some time for the pureed strawberry mixture to cool before tossing it with the fresh berries and piling them into the prepared crust. The mountain of glazed strawberries makes a striking presentation.

If you like to mix things up a bit, a Three-Berry Pie spikes a mixture of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries with sweet white wine to bring out the flavors of the berries. It uses tapioca as a thickener for the berry juice. The recipe also walks you through making a decorative upper crust. For an even more distinctive crust, add a pinch of black pepper to the crust, as with this Nectarine-Berry Pie. It adds a note of intrigue to the striking mix of nectarines and blackberries.

Three-berry pie

To bring the combination of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries to their full expression of flavor, add a little Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise or another sweet white wine.
Time 2 hours 25 minutes
Yields Serves 8

Apple hand pies

Behold the hand pie: This convenient little wonder is pie’s answer to the cupcake, without the fussy decorations.
Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Yields Serves 12

Fresh Blueberry Pie

Fresh, raw blueberries pile into a crisp pastry crust and get a blanket of whipped cream in this refreshing summer berry pie.
Time 5 hours, largely unattended
Yields Serves 8 to 12

Sweet cherry pie

This pie is simple but rich with flavor and a slightly firm texture from the fresh fruit. A little Grand Marnier and vanilla brighten the flavors and add depth to the cherries.
Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

Apple Pie

This apple pie never fails. Cut it open and it's all about the fruit, generous hunks of gently baked apple, its pure, clean flavor enhanced by a sweet, spicy glaze.
Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 8 to 10

Fresh Raspberry Pie

Fresh, raw raspberries pile into a crunchy graham cracker crust and get a blanket of whipped cream in this refreshing summer berry pie.
Time 3 hours, largely unattended
Yields Serves 8 to 12

Peach Pie With Duck Fat Crust

When combined with butter, duck fat yields crackly, tissue-thin layers of pastry.
Time 2 hours plus cooling
Yields Serves 12

Nectarine-berry pie with black pepper crust

The rich flavors of nectarine and blackberries play off each other and a judicious pinch of black pepper in the crust adds a mysterious and intriguing dark note.
Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 8

Vintage Strawberry Pie

This may be the quickest pie of the summer. Fresh strawberries are tossed with a quick strawberry jam and then piled into an easy-to-make pie dough.
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 8

Oven-Fried Apple Pie with Spiced Shortening Crust

Shortening makes the crust extra flaky and eliminates the need to chill the crust before rolling. Fresh apple cider adds a subtle sweetness to the crust and makes it tender.
Time 2 ½ hours, largely unattended
Yields Serves 12