Thank a bear for inspiring this kid friendly treat!
My children love to participate in the kitchen at meal prep time, especially when there is wild game on the menu. Desert provides a special opportunity to incorporate a lesson on the game itself as well as make a special treat the whole family will enjoy.
To accompany a meal centered on Maine black bear, my son and daughter decided a berry pie was the best idea; “Because bears eat berries for dinner AND desert!”
While black bears love the woodland garden salad of springtime tree buds and young grasses of the spring, they go straight for desert in the summer.
Bears are notorious for gorging on the berry buffet that Maine’s forest provides. Tart blackberries and raspberries, sweet low and high bush blueberries and tiny wild strawberries bursting with flavor are all black bear favorites. Add in some apples and a homemade buttery, flaky, crust and we have a bear berry pie!
This simple recipe has plenty of wow-factor and is bursting with flavor. Your kids won’t be the only ones to join the clean plate club for a slice of still warm bear berry pie and a scoop of French vanilla ice cream!
Bear Berry Pie
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
Perfect Pastry Crust
- 2.5 cups of flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 16 tbsp butter of cold, unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup of ice water
Combine dry ingredients in a food processor.
Include your child in the cooking process by having them drop in one tablespoon of the chilled butter at a time while you blend just until incorporated. Using the “pulse” setting count to five pulses, or bear roars, between each buttery addition.
Pour in the ice-cold water slowly and, if your child is up for it, have them pulse the machine until the water is just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix!
Scoop out the crumbly dough onto a wide sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Form into a ball and press into an eight inch disk. Little hands love this part! Wrap in the remaining wrap or paper and refrigerate for one hour.
After the hour is up, remove your dough and roll out into an 18″ round atop a piece of fresh parchment paper.
Place your unbuttered pie plate face down over the center of your dough. Sliding your hand under the parchment and holding the plate in place you can now flip the dough over and press gently to form.
Discard the parchment and resist the urge to trim the edges!
Bear Berry Filling
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 15 oz package of Wymans of Maine fresh frozen mixed berries
- 4 large Granny Smith apples, pealed and thinly sliced (1/8″ thick slices work best)
- The zest of one large orange (about 2 tbsp)
- 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Add in the sliced apples and the frozen berries and gently toss to coat evenly.
Sprinkle with the vanilla and toss one more time.
With your crust ready, pour in the berry filling. A few slices of the sweetly coated apples magically remain in the bowl for bear cub helpers to sample.
Gently fold over the draped edges of the piecrust in a ribbon-like pattern. Not only does this look fantastic but it allows the pie to vent through the open center and helps keep the pie from being soggy.
Brush the top of the crust with a one egg white to one tablespoon milk mixture and dust with sugar. Sprinkling the sugar is always the best part!
Place in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
At the 15-minute mark lower the heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for another 45 minutes. If you feel your crust is getting too brown (some ovens are more aggressive than others) simply place a loose sheet of tinfoil over the top to keep the crust from burning.
The pie is done when golden brown and you can see the filling bubble gently.
Allow your bear berry pie to cool for at least 15 minutes and enjoy with a scoop of your favorite French vanilla ice-cream!
Parent tested, bear cub approved!
This pie is a fantastic follow up to bear Bourguignon, a wild game twist on a classic French dish.