Prospero's raspberry + ale pie; an arbitrary farewell to summer

September 3, 2014

Prospero's raspberry + ale pie; an arbitrary farewell to summer | une gamine dans la cuisine

"Now my charms are all o'erthrown
and what strength I have's mine own,
which is most faint: now 'tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
or sent to Naples. Let me not,
since I have my dukedom got
and pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
in this bare island by your spell;

But release me from my bands
with the help of your good hands:
gentle breath of yours my sails
must fill, or else my project fails,
which was to please. Now I want
spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
and my ending is despair,
unless I be relieved by prayer,
which pierces so that it assults
mercy itself and frees all faults.

As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
let your indulgence set me free." 

                                          ~  William Shakespeare (The Tempest, act 5, epilogue.)
 I fell in love with The Tempest my freshmen year of high school, during a performance at a local theater. The play was ethereal; ambient mist, primal music, sylvan costumes and lush acting...I'm convinced there was a metallic taste of magic in the air each time Ariel took the stage. I was so enamored, I accidentally dropped a box of lemon heads. The cacophony made by each tiny candy striking an unbearably hard wood floor was deafening (I was mortified!). Thankfully the resulting frigid glares were fleeting, and eyes made a subtle glance towards the person sitting next to me. The play continued and I imagined myself in the role of Miranda, or Ariel. As Prospero was delivering his infamous epilogue, I was smitten, completely, especially knowing that the speech may have been Shakespeare's adieu. 

Initially I was only going to include a few lines from Prospero's speech, but it's so lovely in its entirety - chopping his farewell into pieces would be barbaric. I'd like to think that summer, if she could speak, would deliver an equally robust swan song before handing the zephyrs to autumn.

Prospero's raspberry + ale pie; an arbitrary farewell to summer | une gamine dans la cuisine
Prospero's raspberry + ale pie; an arbitrary farewell to summer | une gamine dans la cuisine

Autumn isn't upon us yet, despite the need to flick on my lamp at 6am and an endless stream of sweater weather ads. I am going to hold onto summer with a willful, child-like determination. If I rise early enough, and vaporous morning light catches the dewy lawn at just the right angle, it almost feels like May; with its untapped verdancy and promises of sun kissed foreheads, fruity aubergine-stained clothes and endless twilights.

But, just in case this is my last summerland pie, I wanted it to be epic. I owe summer. After barely making it through last winter (who can forget last winter?), summer was a much needed respite from the brutality of a seemingly unending frost. Oh, I'm so unprepared for fall.

Prospero's raspberry + ale pie; an arbitrary farewell to summer | une gamine dans la cuisine

This pie is versatile. If you don't have access to red raspberries, you can toss in somethingberries, or peaches (although I'm not sure of the exact amount needed). The crust is my beloved go-to crust. It's all-butter, easy to roll, and adores playing with herbs. In the past I have added thyme and rosemary, so please feel free to snip anything green and lovely and convenient. I used a dark, rich ale in the filling, and although I loved the extra depth, some people found it too bitter. If you prefer, use a wheat or strawberry ale and add a little more sugar to the berry mixture.

September is my birthday month, hopefully I'll have a ridiculously labour intensive cake to share before October and (perhaps) one more pie. I'm also planning on concocting more breakfast + brunch fare! Scones, biscuits, waffles, maybe a jaunty batch of Hiddleston's Stickybuns! We shall see...

Prospero's raspberry + ale pie; an arbitrary farewell to summer | une gamine dans la cuisine

Prospero's Raspberry + Ale Pie
makes one 9-inch pie

for the crust
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
about 1 Tablespoon of fresh oregano, crushed + chopped
1 cup (that's 2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes {Note: I cut the butter into cubes and let it freeze overnight in a covered bowl.}
6 - 8 Tablespoons cold half & half cream (or whole milk)

for the filling
5 cups fresh raspberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar (use more or less depending on the berries)
1/4 cup dark ale or stout

for making the crust happy & golden
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Prepare the crust: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, granulated sugar & oregano. Add the cold butter cubes and mix until evenly coated.

Place everything into the bowl of a large food processor. Using several short bursts, pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal (it will look very dry). Transfer the mixture back to the large mixing bowl and place the bowl into freezer. Freeze for about 30 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the freezer and sprinkle about 3 Tablespoons of the cream (or whole milk) on top of the mixture. Use a wooded spoon, a rubber spatula (or your hands) to gently work the cream into the dough. Keep adding cream, 1/2 Tablespoonful at a time, and mixing, until the dough starts to form a ball (you might not need all 8 Tablespoons). Don't add too much cream - the dough should be cohesive and slightly wet, but not sticky. Gather the dough into a ball and divide it in half. Flatten each piece of dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. {Note: Well wrapped, the dough can be refrigerated for three days.}

Remove one disk of dough from the fridge. On a very well-floured surface, using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the disk into a 12-13 inch circle that's about 1/4-inch thick. Gently place the circle of dough into a 9-inch pie plate - make sure it's centered, if you try to stretch the dough at this point it will shrink back in the oven. Trim the overhang to about 1/2-inch and tuck it under forming a neat edge; refrigerate while you prepare the top crust.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the second disk of dough into a 12-13 inch circle; place on parchment paper-lined sheet till ready to use.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Remove dough-lined pie pan from fridge; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine berries, sugar and ale. Gently stir/fold until combined. Scrape berry mixture into crust, pressing down gently so it's even. If you're making a lattice crust with the second dough circle, place filled pie in fridge until strips are ready; otherwise lay the second dough circle on top of the berries - pinch or fold upper crust onto bottom crust and use your fingers or a fork to create decorative edge. Use a pairing knife to cut about three 2-inch long vents in center of upper crust.

Brush top crust, or lattice stripes, with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 45-55 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. If the edges are browning too quickly, cover them with a loose foil tent or pie protector. {Note: some of the berry juice oozed out of the pie and onto my oven - if your pie looks like it will do the same, place the pie onto a thin cookie sheet and continue baking.} Remove pie from oven and immediately place onto a cooling rack: cool completely before serving with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!

Prospero's raspberry + ale pie; an arbitrary farewell to summer | une gamine dans la cuisine
Prospero's raspberry + ale pie; an arbitrary farewell to summer | une gamine dans la cuisine


  1. A beautiful poem and fabulous pie! Indeed, autumn has arrived...



  2. What a pie! A masterpiece indeed - I'm smitten with your lattice. Here's to holding onto summer as I'm right there with you!

  3. Epic, indeed, Valerie. I can't think of a finer way to say adieu to summer than with this lovely pie. My mouth is watering, just thinking of all those delicious berries.

    I saw The Tempest on stage for the first time a few years ago with Christopher Plummer as Prospero. Magnificent!

    1. Oh how wonderful, Beth!! If I had dropped a box of hard candy during a Christopher Plummer performance, I would die. :P

  4. I need to learn lattice making, I'm always nervous that I will mess it up. Happy early birthday, I can't wait to see what kind of Hiddleston inspired treats you come up with!

    1. Nik, a lattice crust is much easier than you think! If the lattices are crooked or asymmetrical, the pie looks all the more rustic. :-)

  5. I love pies with unusual fillings, and the berries are still going strong at my farmer's market, so this one is on my list for the week! These are some of the prettiest photos I've seen, just gorgeous.

    1. Thanks, Sue! I wish berries were readily available all year 'round.

  6. Wow - that is one fantastic looking pie! I wish I had a slice right now.

  7. This is one gorgeous pie! Can't wait to see what you bake for your birthday. :)

    1. me too, Jean. ;)
      Thank you for the comments and Pins! I have a lot to catch up on, too. xo

  8. Valerie, I made this pie! I'm terribly excited that I made a pie with ale in it and oregano in the crust! Silly, maybe. It would take too long for me to go into the details so here's my post - Sorry, but I couldn't make it exactly as you said. I love your blog, your food sounds scrumptious, and your photography is beautiful. I look forward to trying more things.
    I was wondering why you didn't put any thickener - even a little bit - in this pie? Thank you.

    1. Hi Lisa! Thanks for the visit (and lovely compliments!). I generally don't use a thickener in my pie fillings, for some reason cornstarch leaves a twangy aftertaste. Also, pies do not last very long around here so I don't worry too much about soggy bottoms. :D

      I've used oregano, rosemary and thyme in my pie crusts; they're jaunty little partners to fruit filling + butter. XO


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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