Thursday, August 10, 2017

Blackberry Pie


Blackberries are not typically my favorite berries for snacking, as they contain larger seeds than other berries. I do, however, ADORE dishes made with blackberries, such as blackberry sorbet, blackberry cobbler, and blackberry pie. Somehow I don't mind the seeds as much when blackberries are baked in or under a crust ;-)


This blackberry pie from pie master Kate McDermott was featured in Saveur Magazine's 2008 Saveur 100 issue, with its picture on the cover and centerfold. The recipe shared below is as written in McDermott's cookbook Art of the Pie, with my notes in italics.


The current version of this recipe on Saveur's website includes some tweaks in the instructions that I would personally agree with, such as sprinkling the sugar on top before baking rather than partway through (so it sticks better), and pre-heating a sheet pan in the oven before placing the pie dish on top of it, or on the rack above it.

Filling prior to mixing

After a bit of mixing and smushing

I didn't do this, but have in the past, and probably should have this time. I simply placed my pie dish on top of a foil-covered sheet pan and then placed into the oven, which is perhaps also why mine took longer to fully bake since the sheet pan must have absorbed quite a bit of the heat. I also baked in a ceramic pie dish which sometimes takes longer to bake than metal or glass ones.

Before baking

McDermott uses an egg white wash as opposed to an egg yolk or whole egg wash, which actually was ideal in this case as it prevented the crust from seriously over-browning in what turned out to be a lengthy bake time, about an extra 80 minutes instead of 40 minutes at the lower temp.


I didn't have to tent foil over the edges as I sometimes do for other pies. It baked evenly and beautifully. Next time I may use the convection feature on my oven, but otherwise do not mind waiting longer to ensure a perfectly baked pie. It's all about watching for the signs (golden crust and bubbling filling) and less about what the timer says.


Just for fun, I made a polka dot top crust using a couple different sized round cutters. Next time, I would probably just stick with the one smaller round cutter, and I would space them out a bit more to have a greater top crust to filling ratio, but regardless I think this turned out great and was a fun way to vent the pie filling in a decorative way without using one of the more standard methods.


Also, it's reminiscent of my favorite character in all the World, Minnie Mouse.


Full disclosure, I didn't pick my own berries. I'm sure that is ideal, and if I had easy access to blackberry bushes of my own I certainly would. There is a local farm that offers pick-your-own-berries, but I sometimes find these excursions end up costing more than purchasing pre-picked berries elsewhere, believe it or not. My store-bought organic blackberries were quite lovely, and on SALE :)


In any case, this blackberry pie turned out quite phenomenal! It's perfect for late summer, as this is the height of blackberry season. I think I've been doing a pretty good job keeping up with my resolution to bake more pies! This blackberry pie is one of the prettiest ones yet.


Flavor-wise this pie is spot on. It's not too sweet and not too tart. Kind of like the Goldilocks of pie filling. My filling set beautifully, yielding picture perfect slices of pie. This is always my goal, but I sometimes end up with looser fillings, still delicious but just not quite as easy to slice and serve (case in point, this tasty but juicy strawberry balsamic pie).


I can't think of a better way enjoy the flavors of late summer than to whip up a blackberry pie as delightful as this one, with its epic, flaky and buttery crust and simple, yet extraordinary fresh blackberry filling.


Blackberry Pie
Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie
(From Art of the Pie)

6 cups (680 g), about 1 1/2 pounds blackberries, fresh picked or unthawed frozen (I used 725 g store-bought fresh organic blackberries)
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
1 small grating of freshly ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons (10 g) freshly squeezed lemon juice and a few gratings of lemon zest (I used lime juice and zest)
1/3 teaspoon (2 g) salt
1/3 cup (48 g) flour
1/2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon (2 to 12 g) quick cooking tapioca; add the larger amount if the berries are especially juicy (I used 7 g tapioca starch)
1 recipe double-crust pie dough (I used McDermott's All-Butter Dough, but her Leaf Lard and Butter Dough recipe is used on the Saveur page)
1 tablespoon (14 g) butter (oops, I actually forgot to add this myself, but it still turned out delicious)
2 teaspoons (8 g) sugar, for sprinkling on top of pie

Egg wash:
1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon (15 g) water, fork beaten

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Put the blackberries, sugar, nutmeg, lemon juice, zest, salt, flour, and tapioca into a bowl and stir and fold until everything is evenly coated. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash gently to make a textured filling.

Roll out the bottom dough and place it in your pie pan.

Pour the filling into the crust, dot it with butter and set it aside.

Roll out the remaining dough, lay it over the fruit, trim, crimp, and cut 5 to 6 vents on top, or cut strips and weave a lattice top.

Brush the crust with the egg white mixture.

Bake at 425 degrees F on the middle rack of the oven until the crust is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F; bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes more (mine baked an additional 80 minutes!). When there are about 10 minutes of bake time left, open the oven, pull the pie out, and quickly and evenly sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar (I did this around the 20 minute mark, so it baked about another hour with the sugar on top, but didn't burn--in the future I would likely sprinkle the sugar on at the start so it can better stick to the egg wash).

Let the pie cool before serving so the filling can set up.

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