tayberry pie

I know that Memorial Day weekend is supposed to be the official start of summer, but for the last few years, 4th of July has held this place of honor for me. Part of it is that many big life events always happen around now—last year, the manuscript for Weeknight Baking was due this same week, and fast forward literally a year later (after SO MANY edits and design iterations), Weeknight Baking is finally going to the printers!

Honestly, I thought I would feel more joy or pride or something, but I’m mostly just relieved that Weeknight Baking will finally be out of my hands and I can catch up on sleep again. I know I keep saying this, but the last few weeks—no, months—were a little insane. My publisher set crazy deadlines; to wit, I’m currently waiting for the latest and last pass of the book, which is supposed to land in my inbox this afternoon. They asked for me to turn in feedback by first thing TUESDAY MORNING. That’s 300 pages to comb through in less than 24 hours!!! To get it done, I’m going to have to pull an all-nighter, ugh. I literally have a six pack of cold brew coffee in the fridge, ready for the mad rush later tonight.

I wish I could say that these intense deadlines were atypical, but it has been like that for the last year and, well, I don’t really know if I can say too much without exploding right now, lol. But rest assured—I know I keep saying this, but I’m working on a series about what it’s like to really like a cookbook with all the details about the crazy scheduling and deadlines. And I have opinions and feelings, both of which I’ll definitely go into more detail about. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait to read it until after summer’s over, because I’m currently burned out and planning for a relatively chill next few weeks. What does that mean? I’m planning on doing as much as I can this month so I can hopefully take the entirety of August off. Expect lots of baking on Instagram stories this month (maybe I’ll even try my first IGTV, but that seems ambitious, lol) as I get everything set up for the next two months—I’m planning on baking with all the summer fruits and making desserts like this tayberry pie.

What are tayberries? Tayberries are a cross between raspberries and blackberries; they look a little bit like raspberry-colored blackberries. They’re a relatively recent cultivar, and, according to this Serious Eats article, were developed in the late 70s by the Scottish Horticultural Society and named after Scotland’s River Tay. They’re sweeter than traditional blackberries, and have a higher level of pectin, making them perfect for pie filling. One of my pet peeves are leaky pies, and pectin helps the fruit filling solidify without being too gummy. Not to mention leading to perfect slices, too. Enjoy!

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Some baker’s notes:
  • Oregonians: I found my tayberries at my local New Seasons supermarket; I’ve also seen a bunch sold at the various farmers’ markets around Portland. If you’re not an Oregonian or Californian, it’s likely that tayberries are harder to find. In a pinch, you can substitute the tayberries for blackberries. You may want to add 1/4 cup more sugar, as tayberries are significant sweeter than blackberries. If not, you might find your pie a little on the tart side (which, no worries—just serve it with ice cream). 
  • To make the pie pattern, I used a mix of cookie cutter sets: big stars from this Wilton set, and little stars from this fondant cutting set. You can use whatever shapes you have on hand to make other patterns and designs too! 

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