Blackberry Pie

There was a couple of things I wanted to TRY this week, but in the end, they were defeated by what I was just craving.  Berries are in season!  Time for berry pies!

I’ve made a lot of berry pies, so forgive me if this isn’t a recipe exactly.  What you need to do for this pie is make a “double crust” (my first double crust pie on the blog!), or basically just the same crust recipe doubled.  Often times for a berry pie I’ll make a buttermilk crust, but I didn’t have any buttermilk at home this week so that will be explained later. I did experiment a little with this crust: I’ve seen some cooking blogs suggest adding a bit of vodka to the crust instead of water, since it will cook off during the baking process and make for a flakier crust.  Personally I didn’t notice a lot of difference in eating this crust, but I didn’t taste the vodka, so that’s a good thing!

Blackberry pie crust

I got a little ahead of myself and started dumping filling in before I took a picture of my empty (untrimmed) crust.  Sorry about that.

Blackberry pie filling

Berry pie filling is sort of an inexact science.  What it requires is:

1. Berries
2. Binding agent
3. Sugar

The amount of berries varies a bit but is usually around 4 cups.  I actually bought 5 of the little grocery “boxes” at the store, and dumped 4 of them in to my pot.

Sugar is added to taste. With a tart berry you want more sugar and with a sweet berry you want less.  I used about half a cup in this pie.  I sometimes split it between confectioner’s sugar and regular sugar, since the former holds together a bit more (at least, it seems to me), but this is totally optional.  If you want a really thick pie filling, in my experience, use confectioner’s sugar and a strong binding agent. If you don’t mind berries tumbling out, use whichever.

I also used a tablespoon of cornstarch for binding. Other popular binders are flour, or tapioca flour.  Alton Brown uses tapioca flour in his blueberry pies, but it’s just not something I have laying around and cornstarch works OK for me. Experimentation when baking is good!  If all else fails you just have a slightly imperfect but delicious dessert.

If you want, you can also add a little lemon juice (but I didn’t).

Blackberry Pie in progress

I heat the filling up a little bit, stirring it and popping a few of the berries to get them juicy. Then dump the filling in to the pie, and, on top, put another half-cup of fresh berries!  And maybe another dusting of sugar! Yeah, this isn’t very precise. It’s okay; be daring.

Closed pie

Put top crust on. Trim and/or fold up excess crust, and crimp edges to seal. Cut holes to let the steam out. Or you can make a lattice crust, if you have time and want to be fancy. I do that sometimes, but this one here… this is not my prettiest pie. But understand that at that moment I was starving for blackberry pie right then and now and didn’t care so much about how it looked.

On the top, is a dusting of milk (or you can use egg), and a sprinkle of sugar.

Half a Blackberry Pie

Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes until crust is flaky and browning slightly on top.  Here is what it looks like after you dig in.  A little berry juice leaks out, but mostly holding together.

Best served while warm (reheat in the microwave if you have leftovers), with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. I tried to take a picture of that, but it came out blurry.

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