The pleasure of pie

A perfect crust and the allure of summer fruit ― readers offer their favorite creations

For a few afternoons every summer, I give myself over to a happy mess of flour, sugar, and juice-dripping fruit. We may be celebrating a birthday or having a little dinner party. Whatever the occasion, the clock stops: I'm making pie.

Out come the rolling pin, the canisters, the oversize mixing bowl (a wedding present from my colleagues). I hear my high school cooking teacher intoning tips on pastry making. And the fuzzy globes on the counter ― bound for that pastry ― remind me how few foods compare to a perfectly ripe peach. When I push the pie into the oven, it's not long until I wonder, Is there a better smell anywhere on earth?

Our readers often offer concrete proof, in the form of their favorite creations, of the fact that they too love to make pie. These seven recipes from Sunset readers, chock-full of peaches, pears, and berries, all reminded us of why we especially love to fill a crust in the summer. Some are classic baked pies; some are simply fresh fruit settled into a pastry.

And about that crust ― while a homemade pastry is quite grand (see "Perfect Pie Pastry;" it includes tips distilled from my high school teacher's advice), a purchased pastry serves well, and saves a big step. Either frames one of summer's sweetest pleasures.

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