Don't let the desserts you make for Fourth of July celebrations be from boxed cake mixes, covered with vanilla frosting and dotted with strawberries and blueberries to resemble a flag.
For this weekend's festive parties, bake a traditional apple pie — or peach, rhubarb or blackberry.
We asked readers to send us their favorite summer pie recipes, and here are the recipes. Hope you find a favorite to make and share with friends and family this weekend.Virginia Long of Lexington said apple pie "has always been our family's favorite fruit pie, and apples are readily available year-round. Over the years, I've experimented with various recipes and, each time, tweaking them to suit my taste. The result is my own concoction, which is a combination of what I liked best in the others I've tried. I finally believe I can no longer improve upon it."
Apple pie with pecan crumb topping
Cheese pastry for bottom crust:
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1⁄3 cup cold vegetable shortening
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons ice water
1 cup sugar (scant)
4 tablespoons flour
1⁄8 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 cups tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
Pecan crumb topping:
1⁄3 cup light brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup crushed pecans
6 tablespoons butter
To make crust: Sift flour and salt together in mixing bowl and place in refrigerator for a short while. Cut in shortening and cheese with pastry blender or 2 forks, tossing gently until you have coarse crumbs. Add water and quickly stir into a ball. Gently roll out on lightly floured board and place in 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edges.
To make filling: In a large mixing bowl, blend sugar, flour, nutmeg and cinnamon. Toss with apples, and place mixture in pie plate. Slice 2 tablespoons butter on top and sprinkle with cheese.
To make crumb topping: In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour and pecans. Mix in cold butter pieces until blended and crumbly. Sprinkle on top of apple mixture.
Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 45 minutes. Ten minutes or so before baking is finished, check pie. If it's browning too much, place a piece of foil over the top for the remainder of the time.
Wendy Alger of South Barre, Vt., shares her recipe for rhubarb pie. "My mother gave me the recipe for her grandmother's rhubarb pie. So this would be my great grandmother, who lived to be 103. I have had many people for supper who decline this pie because they do not care for rhubarb. However, everyone who has dared to try always changes their mind because of the one secret ingredient. It includes an egg."
Wendy's rhubarb pie
1 1⁄3 cups sugar (2 cups if you want it sweeter)
1⁄3 cup flour
4 cups rhubarb, cut small, and peeled a bit
2 ready-made 9-inch pie crusts
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, mix sugar and flour, toss in rhubarb pieces, mix in one egg. Pour into a pie crust, and top with another crust. Bake 45 to 50 minutes.
When Carla Mulvaney of Versailles read our request for pie recipes, she was reminded of her mother's apple pie.
"Betty Lou Moore's (my momma) tart and saucy apple pie was a favorite dessert of our family while growing up in Ashland," she said. "I immediately got up, dusted off my beloved recipe box and found this recipe card."
Tart and saucy apple pie
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-vegetable shortening
5 tablespoons water
2⁄3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups (or 15-ounce can) thick apple sauce
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups sliced tart (Granny Smith) apples (or 1-lb. 2 ounces can sliced apples)
6 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons all-vegetable shortening
To make crust: Cut shortening into flour and salt until mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle water over mixture a tablespoon at a time, mixing with fork until flour is moistened. With hands, shape dough into a ball. Divide into two parts and roll each about 1⁄8-inch thick. Fit one piece into a 9-inch pie plate.
To make filling: In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except shortening. Mix well. Pour into pie crust, and dot with shortening. Top with other half of pastry. Seal and flute edges. Prick top crust to allow for escape of steam. Bake about 40 minutes at 400 degrees, or until done.
Barbara Harper-Bach of Lexington has won awards for her pies.
"Blackberry sour mash pie has some good old bourbon and star anise in it with Kentucky blackberries," she said.
Kentucky sour mash blackberry pie
8 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 star anise pods
1/4 cup sour mash bourbon
1 tablespoon butter, diced
2 10-inch pie crusts
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons half and half
In a large mixing bowl, combine blackberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, star anise, sour mash and butter in a dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring until sugar is melted and mixture begins to thicken. Taste and correct seasonings if necessary. Remove star anise pods. Pour into a crust, and top with second crust and crimp. Vent the pie with a few slashes around the top. Whisk egg yolk with 2 tablespoons half and half. Brush over pie crust. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour.
Betty McClain of Louisville said she loves family recipes, and although this one is called cobbler, it uses two pie crusts.
"The peach cobbler recipe is from my Aunt Bee, who was a wonderful cook, especially pies. She passed away five years ago, and I think of her often, especially when I use her delicious recipes."
Aunt Bee's peach cobbler
7 or 8 peaches
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1⁄3 cup brown sugar
2⁄3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 stick margarine, cut up
2 9-inch pie crusts
Slice peaches and place in a large bowl. Mix in the almond extract. Add brown and granulated sugars, flour and salt. Mix well. Pour into pie crust, and sprinkle margarine pieces on top of peaches. Place second crust on top and crimp edges. Bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees until brown on top crust, and then reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer.
Judy Fannin of Ashland uses blackberries that grow in her garden.
1 package Pillsbury ready crust, prepared according to package directions
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 to 2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 cup sugar
7 to 8 cups fresh blackberries
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
Place one crust in a round baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Place blackberries into crust. Sprinkle dry mixture over blackberries. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon almond extract over berries, and dot with 4 tablespoons butter. Cover with top crust and cut 4 small triangles in top to vent. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over crust. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 10 minutes.
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.