Bittersweetness: Mixed Berry Pie

For the recipe only, click here.


Perhaps it’s my constant fidget or sense of restless when free time presents itself, but I have developed a fondness for cleaning, organizing, and simplifying. In preparation for my move to school, I managed to accomplish a significant chunk of packing this weekend. Never mind that I don’t move for another two months. Why wait?!

I envy those who can pack all of their belongings into one car. I am pretty sure that will never be my life, but I see no harm in the constant pursuit. Purging, packing, donating and sorting– happily. The best part is realizing how little you need, and how much you adore certain effects. Whether now or later, the purge will happen. I do not like clutter. I will not move with unnecessary items. Believe that.

With Round 1 of cleaning complete, and the freshness of my lighter closets lingering, I received a text from my best friend:

Im going to miss you.



The worst part of going through my items is realizing how much I will leave behind: friends, coffee shop nooks, my favorite treadmill at the gym, the comforts of home, knowing the shortcuts… the list goes on. The excitement of this new chapter comes with the realization of not being able to enjoy those you love as much as before. The sacrifice necessary to achieve higher education in general, and the medical degree specifically, is somewhat unparalleled, yet completely worth it for those with the passion. The new must be made familiar. The uncomfortable must be made your own.

Blueberry pies are a common, beloved pie in my house. Someone always begs for the scratch-made version for both the winter and summer holidays. As with many recipes, when you find a good one, you reuse and repeat. This is comfort. This is familiarity. For some strange reason I decided to switch it up, and make a mixed berry pie this weekend. It could have been delirium from cleaning or confidence from packing, but it sure felt like a good idea at the moment.

I must admit, the first time I made this, I failed. I neglected to account for the excess moisture of the strawberries and blackberries, and somehow used less cornstarch than I normally would for my blueberry pie. What was familiar was suddenly no longer. Distracted by what I had not encountered before, I had forgotten to carry over what made my pies delicious. Starting from scratch, but tossing what I had known to be good. Big mistake. Don’t worry, I adjusted and made another, much better, pie. The recipe below reflects the winning result. I wouldn’t leave you with a blunder.

There was a lesson in my flop.

While I am eager to rid myself of what can be considered “old” and start anew in medical school, I would be foolish to approach the unknown, unequipped with the goodness that I have acquired thus far. My friendships, education, personality, and accomplishments, all contribute to my capabilities, no matter how daunting and foreign the task may appear.

The sweetness that is this last summer before I begin, is mixed with the tart of loss. This unpleasant taste is a reminder, however, of what not to throw out in transition. Present or not, I will carry the things I love along for the journey, adjust accordingly, and enjoy the result.


Summer Mixed Berry Pie

  • Servings: One 9-inch pie
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  • 1 pie crust (for a good homemade one, try this)
  • 5-6 cups fresh mixed berries
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 + 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Roll out the dough to a large circle and place in an un-greased, 9-inch pie pan. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the berries with zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon, making sure the berries are well coated and the cornstarch disappears.
  3. Place berry mixture in a colander and let excess fluid drain.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Fill the pie crust with the berry mixture, piling high in the center. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
  6. Let pie cool for at least 2-3 hours before serving.