Monday, September 5, 2011

Blackberry or Triple Berry Pie

Blackberry Pie with Lattice Top
Wild Blackberry Pie

Recipe by Debbie from Live Earth Farm

In the US, we’re celebrating Labor Day today, honoring all workers for their economic and social contributions to our country, and unofficially marking the end of summer and beginning of classes for students. It’s the end of blackberry season here in California too. No more berries at the farmers markets, but they’re still ripening along fences and in fields here and there. They’re fewer blackberries than in July, but most berry pickers have forgotten about them. So it’s the perfect time for the last blackberry pie of the year. You can also combine any proportion of raspberries, strawberries, and/or blueberries with the blackberries in this recipe.

Bucket of Blackberries with Leaves and Fuzz
Blackberries Before Washing
This is yet another recipe from our CSA newsletter editor and semi-retired recipe maven Debbie! My favorite part is the easy crust that Debbie adapted from a classic Joy of cooking recipe. No ice-water or special pastry tools are needed, just stir ingredients together. Canola oil and buttermilk or yogurt replace the usual shortening, cutting out saturated fat. The filling is also simple, adapted from an old San Jose Mercury newspaper clipping.

Berry Filling in Bowl
Berry Filling Completed
I like the filling to be completely set, so I used 2 tbsp. tapioca--if you like it juicier, reduce the tapioca to between 1 – 2 tbsp. I eliminated dotting the filling with 1 – 2 tbsp. butter before adding the top crust, for health and simplicity. If you want to use the butter, I recommend unsalted. If you use yogurt, use a thinner style rather than thick. One more tip: it’s easiest to have two people to put the bottom crust into the pie pan. The crust is delicate and can tear easily at this stage.

Wild blackberries are surprisingly popular with tiny insects, especially little white worms. They can also be full of fuzzy pistils from their flowers, so be sure to rinse them thoroughly. I submerge them for a few minutes in water, stir them around, pour off the water, soak again, stir, then drain and rinse them in a colander. If you see something small, white, and moving, you know what to do.

Happy Labor Day all!

Berry Pie Filled without Top Crust
Ready for Top Crust

Blackberry Pie
makes one 10-inch pie

6 cups mixed berries
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp. granulated tapioca
1 tsp. orange zest (or less to taste)
pinch of salt (small)
double pie crust (recipe below)

Put all the fruit in a large bowl. Combine sugar, tapioca granules, salt, and orange zest in a separate bowl then pour over fruit and stir to mix. Let fruit mixture sit while you make your pie crust.

Pie Pan Inverted Over Rolled Pie Crust
Measuring the Bottom Crust: Size Just Right!
Debbie's Stir-n-roll Crust
for two single-crust 10" pies or one double-crust

3 C flour (can make 1 C of this whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 C plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk, yogurt, or kefir
3/4 C plus 2 tbsp. canola oil (a little less oil if you use the whole wheat)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour and salt together (or blend with fork). Use the same whisk and blend together oil and yogurt/buttermilk/kiefer. Pour into flour and mix quickly until it all comes together into a ball; shape briefly with your hands if you like.

Weaving the Lattice Top Crust
Making the Lattice: Start from Center
Break or cut dough into two equal halves. Flatten and shape one half into a disk about an inch thick on a piece of waxed paper. Cover with another sheet of waxed paper if desired, and roll out to size that will fit into pie pan. Lift off top sheet of waxed paper (if used) and invert dough over pie plate; lift off other sheet of waxed paper and carefully settle dough down into plate.

Three Fingers Demonstrating How to Crimp Crust Edge
Crimping the Pie Edge
Roll out second half of dough the same way. For a simple top crust, just cut slits in the dough before inverting over filling. For a lattice crust, cut dough into 1/2 to 3/4-inch strips and lay over pie in a criss-cross pattern starting from the middle and working outwards.

After applying either method of top crust, fold or tuck any extra dough overhanging the edges under bottom crust dough and crimp decoratively.

Protect edge of pie crust from burning by carefully placing aluminum foil strips on it and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbly. Cool completely before slicing.

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