On its own anise can be overwhelming, but using just a smidgen in cooking has the same effect as adding bitters to a cocktail: It lurks in the background in the best possible way. For this classic berry pie, the slight licorice note helps bring out the floral flavors in the berries and evens out the tart and sweet extremes of the pie.
Game plan: Freezing shortening makes it easier to work with; keep some in the freezer for when you want to make this incredibly tender pie crust.
What to buy: Anise extract has a delicate licorice flavor that adds a subtle floral note when combined with the berries in this pie. It can be purchased at some grocery stores or online.
Sanding sugar is sometimes labeled pearl sugar and can be found in gourmet grocery and cooking stores. If you can’t find it, just sub in some granulated sugar.
For the pie: