Recipe: Blackberry pie


I was at a fabulous farm shop recently and they had frozen blackberries on hand, locally picked.  It has been a long time since I have had a blackberry pie, and my S.O. thought that sounded good, so we get some.

I’ve been experimenting a lot with enamel bakeware for pies recently, and I am finding that if you follow a certain process, baking a pie blind is not necessary.  I have been using small ones too, with 4 of them equal to a typical 9” pie dish, and am loving the crust to fruit ratio, the small sized pies that can serve two to four people depending on how hungry they are.  You can of course do this as a traditional 2 crust pie or do it in four small tins as I did it here.

All butter pie crust

  • 300 grams sifted pastry flour or all-purpose (about 2.5 cups)
  • 3 teaspoons granular sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 225 grams sweet chilled butter (about 14 tablespoons–you could also substitute up to a third of the butter with solid vegetable shortening)
  • 1/4 cup ice water as needed, sprinkled a little at a time

Mix dry ingredients.  Cut butter into small pieces and toss in.  Work dough together quickly with a fork, then the fingertips, but not the palms.  Rub until it makes a coarse meal.  Sprinkle on ice water, a little at a time.  Turn dough out onto work surface, and using the heel of your hand, smear away, scrape back with pastry scraper, and again, a little at a time.  Form two balls, one slightly smaller than the other.  Wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or more.  Makes enough for a two-crust 9-inch pie.

Blackberry Pie Filling

What makes this pie so special is cooking them in sugar and thickener for a while before baking.  A touch of cider vinegar will also soften the seeds, which can otherwise be a bit tough.

  • Unbaked pastry crust for a 2-crust 9-inch pie made with Butter-Lard Pastry (using 2 tbsps of milk as part of the liquid)
  • Egg glaze: 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp water
  • 4 cups fresh blackberries, picked over and quickly rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 ½  cups demerara or muscovado sugar (depending on sweetness of berries)
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca
  • Blend of 1 teaspoon plain yoghurt, 1 teaspoon of demerara sugar, 4 tablespoons of milk and a light dusting of cinnamon for the crust

In a heavy saucepan, combine berries, sugar, vinegar, and add 2 tbsps water to prevent scorching.  Mash the fruit very slightly with a potato ricer or spoon in order to start the juices flowing.  Set the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture nears the boiling point.  Remove from heat and cool completely.  Stir in tapioca.

Prepare the pie plate by buttering and flowering it/them.  Prepare the pastry, roll it out, and line the pie plate with a ton of overhang.  If you are following my method of making small pies, roll out the dough quite thinly, with enough size to fully cover the pie (in other words this will be one continuous crust).  To moisture-proof the lower crust, brush with egg glaze.  Chill the crust in the freezer for 30 minutes.  

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Have a large, dark baking tin or sheet (which will act as a heat conductor for the metal pie tins—helping to cook the pies from the bottom and ensuring a nice crust).

Add the cooled fruit to a pastry-lined pan.  Fold the loose crust up and over and pinch it together.  You can be decorative with your crimping.  Brush the crust with a mix of 1 tsp of plain yoghurt, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and 4 tablespoons of milk.  Dust very lightly with cinnamon.  With this crimping process, make sure to leave some “holes” or loose seams for the steam to escape.

Set the pies in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.  Check the pie after about half the baking time and add a foil edging if necessary to protect the crust from over-browning.  Cool on a wire rack.  Serve warm or cold.

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