Helene Harbage’s Star-Spangled Berry Pie

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Helene Harbage’s Star-Spangled Berry Pie

The judge at the Shelburne Museum asked the secret of Helene’s piecrust. She told him it was the Crisco. Crisco shortening contains hydrogenated vegetable oils, which we normally discourage (but it does make for flaky piecrusts). Feel free to use an equal amount of unsalted butter as a substitute. This recipe makes two crusts, but you’ll need only one for Helene’s berry pie. (Label and freeze the second dough ball.)

Total Time: 1.75
Yield: 8 servings


  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces) Crisco
  • 2-1/4 cups flour (we like King Arthur), plus extra for surfaces
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup icewater
  • 8 ounces (approximately) white chocolate (we like Lindt)
  • 2 pints fresh ripe raspberries, divided
  • 10 tablespoons (approximately) sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons tap water, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 pints fresh ripe blueberries, divided
  • White Chocolate Stars (or whipped cream)


In a food processor, pulse together Crisco, flour, and salt. Add ice water and pulse just until dough gathers from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. You may need to add a bit more water; don't over-process. Gather dough into two balls. Wrap them individually in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight. (You may freeze them up to six weeks; defrost in refrigerator before using.)

Heat oven to 350°. Dust a work surface with flour. Roll one dough ball out to an even round about 13 inches in diameter (for a 9-inch pie pan), one-eighth inch thick. Fold dough in half and lay it on top of a rolling pin. Lift gently and position it over pie pan. Unfold and ease dough into the pan without stretching it; cover the rim evenly.

Press dough gently against the sides and bottom. Trim the overhang to 1 inch. Tuck the dough overhang under itself and flute the edges. Lay parchment or foil into the pan, and place a layer of pie weights or dry beans on top. Bake 20 minutes; then take it out and let pie crust cool. Remove weights/beans.

Into a double boiler over simmering water, break chocolate into 2-inch pieces. Stir just until chocolate melts; don't let it boil. Spoon about 3 tablespoons melted chocolate onto bottom of pie crust, to keep it from getting soggy. Reserve the rest of the chocolate.

Sort 1 pint raspberries, picking out the finest, firmest, largest ones. Place a 3-inch biscuit cutter into the center of the pie crust. Arrange raspberries, tips up, around the outer circle. Place remaining raspberries into small saucepan over medium heat. Add 5 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon tap water. Add more sugar to taste if you like. Mash berries; stir and mash occasionally until thickened, about 10 minutes. Strain to remove seeds. Whisk 1 teaspoon tap water with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and whisk into raspberry sauce. Let cool slightly, then pour over arranged raspberries in pie crust.

Sort blueberries. Fill center ring with the best and biggest. Refrigerate the pie. Place 1 pint remaining blueberries over medium heat. Add 5 tablespoons sugar and 1 tablespoon tap water until berries are bubbling and thickening. Whisk 1 teaspoon tap water with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and whisk into blueberry sauce. Let cool.

When raspberries in pie crust have cooled, pour blueberry sauce over fresh blueberries in center of pie. When sauce has set a bit (about 15 minutes), remove the ring. Chill to set, about 40 minutes.

Decorate pie with White Chocolate Stars. Moisten backs of stars lightly to adhere.

White Chocolate Stars


  • Reserved white chocolate


Helene uses a marble rolling pin to roll out the chocolate; it sets up fast and you'll want to work quickly. Have ready two or three different sizes of star-shaped cookie cutters, wax paper, two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpat, a chilled rolling pin, and a sharp knife.

Reheat double boiler to melt reserved chocolate, but don't let it boil. Tape parchment or Silpat to a cookie sheet. Place another sheet of parchment or Silpat on top of the melted chocolate. Freeze five minutes, then remove.

Using a cold rolling pin, roll chocolate into a thin layer, one-eighth inch thick. Peel away the top layer of parchment or Silpat and cut out one star at a time with a sharp knife. (Be sure edges are cut through.) If the chocolate hardens too much to cut, reheat it in a 200-degree oven for a minute or so.

Place stars on a second lined baking sheet. Make a half dozen or so (or whatever suits your idea of a patriotic pattern).


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