Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wild Blackberry Pie

We picked a bunch of blackberries last weekend leading inevitably to the making (and consuming) of blackberry pie! We got to share with a couple friends, but for everyone further away I wanted to share our recipe. This pie is low on sugar and butter because we were using wild blackberries, and I really wanted to avoid masking their flavor (they are both sweeter and tangier than the kind I've found in the store, I'm thinking you could replicate with frozen if you use a bit more sugar and a splash of lemon juice). Here's the finished product.

Blackberry pie straight from the oven!

We started with a generous 5 cups of black berries. We picked a bit more than this but we gave about a cup to our neighbors so they could have them with ice cream. We also washed them super well because wild blackberries are home to all kinds of little critters... ick!

5 cups of fresh blackberries

Separate out one cup of berries and set aside, we'll use those later. Mix the remaining 4 cups with 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup sugar.

4 cups berries (reserve 1 cup for later)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar

Mix until the berries are evenly coated, don't worry if they break down a little.

mix until combined.

Let is sit for a few minutes while the flour and sugar absorb the berry juice

it should look like this.

While you are waiting prepare your crust. I made a simple oil crust because it's fast ans super easy to work with. A butter crust would probably be delicious though. My crust also ended up a bit soggier than I would have liked, after the fact I read online that you can avoid soggy crust by brushing the bottom with egg before putting in the filling. I'll definitely give it a try next time!

Bottom crust ready for berries!

Dump in your berry mixture and spread it out so that it evenly covers the crust.

Berry mixture, it doesn't look great, but it'll taste good.
Trust me. :)

Top with the reserved berries.

almost done now!

Top with a lattice crust so that the moisture has a way to escape. If you don't want to do a lattice you could also cover with pieces of crust cut out with a cookie cutter. Just make sure to leave enough open space for the steam to get out, nobody likes runny pie. To help the pie gain a nice golden color as it bakes brush the top with milk and sprinkle generously with granulated sugar. The sugar in the milk will brown as the pie bakes and the sprinkled sugar will add a little crunch to the top.

Protip: always put a cookie sheet under your pie so that
if they leak it's not a total oven disaster.

Pop it in the oven at 425 and set a timer for 15 min. Once your timer goes off lower the temp to 375 and leave it for another 30-35 min (or until the top starts to brown and you can see the berries bubbling). When it's done, pull it out and let it cool for at least 45 min. I know, waiting for pies to cool is pretty much the hardest part of life, but it's worth it!

Waiting is the hardest part!

The first night we had it with vanilla ice cream, but I think that actually masked the flavor a little. The next day we had it by itself and it tasted way better. Cold can numb your tastebuds a little, and you want them in full working order to enjoy your pie!

* 5 cups blackberries
* 1/2 cup sugar (plus a bit more for sprinkling on top)
* 1/2 cup flour
* 9" double pie crust (pie speak for enough for the top and bottom)
* milk for brushing

1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Reserve 1 cup of blackberries and mix the remaining 4 cups with flour and sugar until well coated.
3. Let berries sit to absorb the flour sugar mixture.
4. Prepare the bottom crust (brush with egg to reduce sogginess).
5. Pour in berry mixture and top with remaining berries.
6. Cover with well ventilated crust (lattice, or cookie cutter, or standard with lots of holes cut in it).
7. Bake for 15 min at 425
8. Reduce temp to 375 and bake another 30 min, or until pie is brown and bubbly.
9. Let cool 45 min.
10. Eat!

<3 Elizabeth

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer Blackberries

The end of summer is hard to accept. One of the things that makes it easier in the Pacific Northwest is the arrival of blackberry season. Before today we had dabbled in a bit of urban foraging here and there on evening walks through our neighborhood. Today we committed, grabbed a bucket, and engaged in some serious berry picking.
Rule #1: Berries that are still warm from the
sun are to be eaten immediately.

This Seattle tradition runs deep, my dad took us when we were little (although we weren't really very helpful, and mostly just ate the berries) and the local practice was even feature on NPR several years ago. As noted by NPR, the plant is classified as a Class C noxious weed, which basically means it's totally invasive and grows everywhere. We have already experienced pulled armfuls or volunteer blackberries out of our backyard, we may partially submit to home grown bushes one day, but for now we are trying to limit our yard work to the variety that doesn't require rental goats to keep it under control.

Rule #2: Wear long pants, unless you you want to look
like you lost a war with a vengeful cat.

The bushed we visited today are some Nathan discovered when he was walking to work. They grow right next to the sidewalk and it's pretty common to see people stop to munch on a few as they walk past. On our way to this patch we also passed a small park that was covered with berry bushes with a little windy path making it's way through the berry packed bushes. 

Rule #3: Don't stop to eat too many berries or your
husband might walk off without you.

It didn't take long to pick enough for a pie (the goal). If we are successful hopefully I will post the yummy pie recipe soon!

Happy berry pickers, dreaming of pie.
Happy Picking!
<>< Elizabeth