When farmers Robert and Pat Poole return to Southern California farmers markets each spring, pastry chefs and berry connoisseurs arrive at the market a little earlier than usual. The Poole’s entire berry crop is designated for their table customers, meaning that the large produce companies who troll the market cannot pre-order flats for chefs. Unlike many other prized ingredients at the Santa Monica Market, this puts high end chefs in competition with your early-rising grandma Jane for the best berries in town.
The Poole’s grow blackberries, boysenberries and young berries on a small plot of land in Redlands. When it comes time to harvest, Poole says he calls on all three generations of the family to come and brave the brambles. His wife Pat says she likes to make a no-bake berry pie and her husband chimed in to say that it tastes best with whipped cream. She was kind enough to share her recipe below…
No Bake Strawberry and Boysenberry Pie
1 ½ cups washed, hulled strawberries
1 ½ cups of washed youngberries or boysenberries
1 cup assorted berries for the glaze
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
A precooked pie crust – Pat makes hers with 1 ½ cups flour, ½ cup of shortening, and ¾ of a teaspoon of salt
Wash all the berries and let them dry.
Make the glaze:
Put the cup of berries set aside for the glaze into the cup of water.
Crush the berries
Simmer them in the water for 2-3 minutes, then strain the juice.
Add the sugar and the cornstarch to the juice. Cook until it thickens.
After the glaze thickens, put one layer of berries on the bottom of the pie shell.
Pour a coat of glaze on top.
Add another layer of berries and a top coat of glaze.
The pie will already be set, but you can refrigerate it to make it cold.