Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blackberry Pie

The Fourth of July makes me think of fruit.  Fruit pies to be exact.  And I love homemade pie more than any other dessert in the whole wide world.  So, with summer blackberries in the orchard and the summeriest holiday of all coming up, I have been fiddling with a blackberry pie recipe.  

Pie with homemade crust but berries left whole

I wanted a blackberry pie recipe with a lattice crust because I wanted to see the filling through the top, but I also wanted there to be plenty of flaky crust to go with the filling.  I also wanted a pie with good texture, some whole blackberries, but one that was oozing with gooey goodness all at the same time.  Most of all, I wanted a filling that held together when cut.  I love all pie, but I think a slice of pie should look like a slice of pie when cut.  

 
I started with a recipe that I thought sounded good, but I used my own all-butter pie crust recipe instead of the suggested crust.  When I made the filling the first time, I did not mash the berries but rather just tossed them with the flour, sugar, and nutmeg.  This resulted in a pie with an incredibly flaky crust but a somewhat gluey filling.  The pie did hold together, but the filling was too chunky, and the flour had not had enough liquid to mix with to create the gooey filling I wanted.  

Pie with store-bought crust but slightly mashed berry filling
So, I decided to make the pie again.  I had the crust just where I wanted it, so the second time I made the pie I made it with a store bought crust to save myself some effort since I was just playing around with the filling at that point.  I left all the ingredients and amounts in the filling the same, but I worked on determining how much to mash the berries.  I found after playing around with this pie, that you just want to mash the berries enough so that they create a little juice.  You want enough juice to incorporate the flour and sugar completely, but you still want plenty of whole berries and berry pieces to add texture.  The pie holds together beautifully when cut but is not at all gluey.  


I would like to continue to test this recipe with different thickeners such as Clear Jel, but for now I am pretty happy with it the way it is.  I will make this pie again this weekend, but this time, I will use my homemade pie crust and the slightly mashed berry filling.  It's going to be delicious!


Blackberry Pie- makes 1 lattice topped pie

A note on fruit pies...if you want a fruit pie to hold together when sliced, it is important to allow it to cool completely.  This allows the filling to set so it will not run when cut.  

Crust: 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting counter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 sticks cold butter, cut into small pieces
approximately 4 tbsp ice cold water

Filling: 
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
6 cups fresh blackberries
a pinch of nutmeg
1 egg white

To make the pie crust, combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to blend.  You can also mix the dough by hand.  Add the butter to the processor and pulse several times until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Alternately, cut in the butter using a pastry blender.  Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, flatten into disks, and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill the dough for about an hour.  

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  

Remove one pie crust from the refrigerator.  Lightly dust a surface with flour and roll the pie crust into an 11 inch circle and place it in a 9 inch pie pan.  

Make the filling by tossing the berries with the flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, salt, and nutmeg.  Use the back of a spoon or a potato masher to gently mash the berries until they begin to give off juice but most remain whole.  Stir the filling to incorporate the flour and sugar.  Pour the filling into the pie crust.  

Remove the second crust from the refrigerator.  Roll it into an 11 inch circle on a floured surface.  Use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter to cut the circle into strips that are 3/4 to 1 inch wide.  Arrange the strips over the filling in a lattice pattern.  Tuck the edges of the crust under to secure the strips to the bottom crust and crimp the edges.  Brush the lattice strips with the egg white and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.  

Place the pie on a baking sheet (to catch drips) and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.  Lower heat to 350 degrees and continue baking 30 minutes.  Remove pie from oven and allow to cool completely.   

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