These past few weeks have been PACKED–stressful, exhilarating, exhausting…but all-in-all, almost lovely. Plus, the weather has been just horrible here in Cleveland these past few weeks (really…months/since November), so what else can cheer you up than the smell of something in the oven? Yes, of course there are many happy moments…even in the rain. But this moment, the moment when something you’ve whipped up is starting to come together in your oven, delicately heating your house and gracing your nose with its presence…can something really beat that?
Never try anything new on guests. That’s why you try it on family. I served this delicious Blackberry Pie for Mothers’ Day for my Cleveland mother and grandmothers. I liked it so much, I would make it in Phoenix any day of the week (mom, don’t you want to fly me out during our next rain-filled streak?).
I must admit, for my first pie lattice, it wasn’t half bad. So decent, in fact, that you’ll notice that in the pics there are some nibbled corners. Um…yea, so about that. How in the world do people bake without tasting?
I really do promise you though, the scariest part about this pie is starting. Then, it’s really just a bird-by-bird process. Make the pie crust, stick it in the freezer. Roll it out, stick it back in the fridge/ freezer. Just about when the freezing time is up, make the crust. It’s really only 10 minutes of active time once you understand how to make a pie crust…I swear! Don’t be afraid of putting the crust back in the fridge a few times if you are working with it too much with your hands (trying to get it perfect!), and it then gets too malleable. But, do try to work as quickly as possible so the butter stays cold and you can continue on your merry way.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling (I actually subbed 1/2 of the white for whole wheat flour)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary
· I decided I wanted to make a lattice top, so DOUBLED this recipe.
- Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn on the machine; process until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, about 10 seconds.
- Put the mixture in a bowl and add the ice water; mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball, adding another tablespoon or two of ice water if necessary (if you overdo it and the mixture becomes soggy, add a little more flour). Form into a ball (two equal balls if making a double crust), wrap in plastic, and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (You can refrigerate the dough for up to a couple of days or freeze, tightly wrapped, for up to a couple of weeks.)
- Sprinkle a clean countertop with flour, put the dough on it, and sprinkle the top with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll with light pressure from the center out. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour (if it continues to become sticky, and it’s taking you more than a few minutes to roll it out, refrigerate or freeze again). Roll, adding flour and rotating and turning the dough as needed; use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place. (Repeat this step if you are making a double crust.)
- When the diameter of the dough is about 2 inches greater than that of your pie plate, drape one dough over the rolling pin to transfer it into the pie plate. Press the dough firmly into the plate all over and trip the excess dough to about 1/2 inch all around. Refrigerate for about an hour before filling (if you’re in a hurry, freeze for a half hour or so). Place the other rolled dough on a plastic-wrapped protected cookie sheet (so the dough won’t stick) and place in the fridge/freezer as well until you’re ready to make the lattice top.
- After you’ve made the filling: When you’re ready to bake, take the pie crust out of the oven, and fill it up!
- For the lattice topping, use a pizza cutter and cut strips that are 1/2 inch thick. Weave the strips in and out—and instead of trying to explain this better than she did, just check out Smitten Kitchen’s explanation.
For the filling:
- 2-3 pints blackberries
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, depending on your taste and the sweetness of the berries, plus a little for the top of the pie (I used 1/3 cup)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch or more depending on juiciness of berries
- Pinch salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons minced lemon zest (optional)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
- Milk/Cream as needed
- Gently toss the blueberries with the sugar, thickener, salt, and spices. Stir in the lemon juice and optional zest and pile into the rolled-out shell, making the pile a little higher in the center than at the sides.
- Dot with butter and then cover with your lattice top.
- Place the pie on a baking sheet and brush the top lightly with milk; sprinkle with sugar.
- Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes at 450˚F degrees
- Reduce the heat to 350˚F and bake another 40 to 50 minutes, or until the pie is golden brown. Do not underbake.
- Cool on a rack before serving warm or at room temperature; steal bites of the crust to ensure it tastes as good as it smells.