For two summers I worked at a restaurant on Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine. I worked six days a week, lived in a small unheated cabin, and loved every minute of it. I have so many wonderful memories, but the one that stands out best—and that I can make for my wife and kids—is the cold fruit pies we served.

A cold fruit pie is simply fresh berries placed in a precooked pie shell that is held together with the light addition of flavored glaze and refrigerated for about three hours. Such a pie is simple, tastes of summer, and beautiful. Making this pie is also a form of therapy. You will smile. You will be loved.

Add a little vanilla ice cream and there is no better food on the planet. You could eat this as your only meal and live happily to 104. Guaranteed. (Almost.) 

Here’s the recipe:

  1. Prebake a pie shell (homemade or even store bought) and allow to cool in the fridge.
  2. Pick, buy, or barter for more than enough fresh berries—strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries—to fill the pie shell.
  3. Make a glaze by crushing 2 cups of berries for their juice and then add cold water to make 2 cups of juice/water mixture (feel free to juice more berries so you need to add less water). Pour the juice/water mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer to reduce for about 3 minutes. While stirring, slowly add 1 cup of sugar. Let thicken to a syrup as you stir. If it doesn’t thicken adequately, add a little bit of cornstarch. And if the liquid runs low, add a little more water.
  4. Cool the glaze. It needs to be cold, which will also help it thicken further.
  5. Pour the fresh berries into a mixing bowl. Add the cooled glaze (2 tablespoons at first and increase until all the fruit is glazed) and gently mix it into the berries so as not to damage them.
  6. Fill the pie shell.
  7. Allow to cool for an hour or so.
  8. Serve with a dash of vanilla ice cream or whipping cream or whipped cream and perhaps a sprig of mint.