This is a simple pie: raspberries tucked into a butter crust, spiced with lemon and vanilla. Top it with vanilla ice cream, yogurt, or a glug of chilled cream; it makes a very satisfying breakfast the next morning. Despite the cornstarch, this pie is quite juicy out of the oven--If you allow it to cool for a few hours it becomes less so, and by the next morning it's significantly less so. The idea for the vanilla sugar came from Emma of Poires au Chocolat, who in turn got it from 101 Cookbooks. —Cristina Sciarra
Cut the butter into slivers about 30 minutes before you’re ready to begin pie making: move the butter to the fridge, or even to the freezer, especially if you’re short on time.
Move the flour, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a food processor; pulse a few times to mix the dry ingredients. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms pebbles. Slowly add the water; pulse until the dough forms a semi-cohesive ball. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and form two equal disks. Dust each with more flour; wrap them well in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour in the fridge, but overnight works better. (You can store the dough in the fridge for 1 week, or in the freezer for several months.)
Meanwhile, prepare the vanilla-lemon sugar: Cut the vanilla bean into small, 1/2-inch-ish pieces, and move them to the bowl of a food processor. Zest the lemon right into the food processor. Blitz the sugar with the vanilla and lemon zest, until the vanilla bean is largely broken down into flecks and small shards. (Don’t stress if you’re left with tiny pieces of vanilla bean–these will break down in cooking and become soft.) Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl every so often, as the vanilla bean and lemon zest have a tendency to travel up the sides of the bowl. (You can make this sugar several days ahead, and store it in an airtight container.)
Take 1 disk of dough out of the fridge. Roll it out and lower it into a pie plate; use your fingers to press it gently into the contours of the dish. Move the pie plate/rolled dough to the fridge. Roll out the second disk and move that to the fridge also, while you prepare the berries.
Add the raspberries to a large mixing bowl. Fold in the lemon juice. Fold in the vanilla-lemon sugar. Fold in the cornstarch, until the raspberries are equally coated.
Take the pie plate out of the fridge, and spoon the raspberries into the pie dish. Top with the second, rolled out sheet of dough, crimp the edges, and then cut vents into the top. Brush the pie with cream, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Move the pie to the fridge for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375F.
Move the pie to the oven, and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the crust is golden, and the fruit is gently bubbling. Allow the pie to cool completely before serving.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.