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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Blackberry Pie


The simplest things in life often give the greatest pleasure. What is more simple than a fruit pie? Nothing fussy, just the beauty of ripe fruit cooked to a lush juiciness. A scoop of vanilla ice cream, melted around the edges. Mmmm.

My husband asked me for a blackberry pie a few weeks ago. I held that thought in the back of my mind and when I was grocery shopping Saturday, I picked up some pints. Big, fat, juicy, sweet-tart blackberries.

I used the
Joy of Cooking recipe, which is really so very simple, and can be made with any fruit. My pie ended up a little on the runny side, but better wet than dry, when it comes to pie (I'm a poet and I didn't know it). ;-) I used tapioca for thickening, but just as often use flour. Maybe flour would have been a better choice for my blackberries.

We're having a crowd over the weekend for the Fourth. I'm planning a few more of these -- definitely a blueberry, my personal favorite, and maybe a peach, or maybe an apple. Apple pie on the Fourth of July. Sounds good.

(Any) Fruit Pie

5 cups sliced fruit or berries
3/4 c. sugar (see note below)
3 T. quick-cooking tapioca or cornstarch (see note below)
1 T. fresh, strained lemon juice
1/8 t. salt
3 T. unsalted butter, cut into small bits
double pie crust (if you need a crust recipe, you can find the one I use here; just double it for this pie)

Prepare pie pan with bottom crust.

Mix the fruit, sugar, thickener, lemon juice and salt (do this gently with your hands to prevent breaking the berries) and let stand for 15 minutes.

Dot the butter over the filling, then cover with the top crust, or make a lattice for the top. Bake the pie at 425 degrees F in the lower third of the oven for 30 minutes. Place a baking sheet under pie and lower oven temp to 350 degrees. Bake until thick juices bubble through vents, about 30 minutes longer.

NOTE on sugar: tart fruits, such as cherries, rhubarb, cranberries, gooseberries, blackberries, fresh currants and green tomatoes require 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar. I recommend tasting the fruit, if in doubt, to see how sweet it is. My blackberries were not so tart, so I stuck with the original measure of sugar.

NOTE on thickener: Ideally, the amount of thickener should be adjusted according to the juiciness of the fruit. This can be tricky, though, because you just don't know until the fruit cooks, how juicy it can be. From
Joy of Cooking: While flour is still a popular choice for thickener for home cooks, cornstarch or quick-cooking tapioca produces clearer fillings, and a smoother, more melting consistency. The exception is apple pie which seems to benefit from the creaminess that flour imparts. Of course, you may thicken any fruit pie with flour. Use as much flour as cornstarch or tapioca.



Charlotte (Matilda) said...

OK, super foodie friend, a question... have you ever combined fruits using this recipe? I have a recipe for a blueberry peach crisp and I am wondering how it would taste as a pie. Or maybe strawberries and peaches? What do you think?

scmom (Barbara) said...

I do mix fruits all the time. Blueberries and peaches are an delicious combination! You could use this recipe or click on the link for the apple pie in my Fourth menu and use that one (it's a crumble pie). I'm not so big on cooked strawberries, so I have never tried mixing strawberries with anything (except for shortcake).

scmom (Barbara) said...

By the way, Joy of Cooking states that any combination of fruits amounting to five cups can be used in this recipe. Of course, I wouldn't use just any combination, but they do list strawberries in the possibilities.

Abby said...

Blackberries are my fave! I think they're so good-tasting, and adorable, too. Beautiful pie!