Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blackberry Pie

Dave and I took the monkeys raspberry and blackberry picking last weekend. It was fantastic! Quinn had a blast and literally ate her weight in raspberries. She refused to give up any for the basket, just walked up and down the rows grabbing and shoveling in. Colin was less than enthusiastic about it and after a few berries decided that rock throwing was much more entertaining.

While the raspberries were a hit and overflowing, the blackberries were a bit tougher. First, they have NASTY thorns. Not easy picking when you're wearing short sleeves. And Quinn didn't like them as much as the raspberries, so she got bored quickly. But Dave and I managed to get about 2 pounds of them before we gave up.

All in all we ended up with 6 pounds of berries. What is it about picking them yourself that makes you want to pick WAY more than any reasonable human being should eat? I'd never BUY 6 pounds of berries, so why the need to pick that many? Anyway, we got home and quickly realized that even fresh off the vine, berries turn quickly to mush. So of course I baked!

With half of the raspberries I made a quick jam to be used for homemade pop tarts this week. The other half was quickly going to waste, so in the freezer they went for smoothies. The blackberries got a pie!

I'm very pleased with my newly acquired pie crust-making skills! This was a double crust and this was the first one of those I've attempted. I didn't feel like I was ready for lattice work so I punched out some hearts and I have to say, I love it! Very Better Homes and Gardens. :)

So here's the blackberry pie. This is a definite keeper recipe. With a few adjustments for the filling it was perfect. Not too sweet, not too tart. Held it's shape, berries stayed plump, crust was flaky and buttery.

Double crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I froze mine)
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening (also frozen)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Berry Mixture:
6 cups blackberries (1 3/4 lb)
1 to 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar (I used 1 cup)
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca (small pearl)
1 tablespoon flour

1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon sanding (coarse) or granulated sugar (I used turbanado)

  • Pulse flour, butter, shortening, and salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  • Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of water over mixture and pulse until it starts coming together. Add more water if necessary. I needed about 5.5 tablespoons. You want the dough to still look separate but be damp enough to squeeze in your hand and hold it's shape.
  • Split into two, form each into a disk, wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  • After chilling, roll one disk between two sheets of floured parchment (I never flour my parchment for anything else but this really seems to help with pie dough). Roll it to about 14 inches across the center. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate. Leave the excess hanging over the edge. Fill with berry mixture (below).
  • Roll out second disk. I used a small cookie cutter to cut out some hearts. Or you can try the lattice. Whatever you do, you need some sort of hole to vent the steam out. Place rolled dough over berry mixture. Roll edges up and over and crimp or otherwise seal closed.
  • Brush egg white over entire top, sprinkle with sugar.

Berry Mixture
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss sugar, cornstarch, flour, and tapioca together. Add berries and toss to coat. Add butter and lemon juice, toss again. Let sit 20 minutes.
  • Spoon mixture into pie crust. I had barely any liquid, which seemed to be perfect.
  • Top with crust.
  • Place on a covered cookie sheet (I placed parchment directly on my pizza stone that stays in my oven at all times). Bake for about 45 minutes then check to make sure the crust isn't browning too quickly. Mine needed a foil top (just toss it on there, no need to be pretty or tight) at this point. Bake another 15-25 minutes or until juices start to bubble through the holes/slats. Mine took 1 hour 10 minutes exactly.
  • Let cool completely.

Notes for next time:
  • The adjustments that I made worked perfectly. Not too soupy, held it's shape, perfect!
  • Serve with vanilla bean ice cream!
  • Although I ogle the pretty ruffle edge ceramic pie plates every time I go to a cooking store, I'm sticking with my Pyrex pie plate for now. It's clear so I can see when the crust is really done. So ugly and cheap stays until I start feeling more confident!
  • Make sure not tapioca pearls are on top of the mixture before the pie crust goes on. The ones just kind of sitting there on top didn't cook all the way through and stayed crunchy. Not tasty! So just poke them down into the mixture before topping.

Pie crust from Epicurious
Pie slightly adapted from Epicurious

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