Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blackberry Pie

I love pies. I think I learned to love them so much because of my grandpa. I can remember that he always had pie for his birthday instead of cake. One time, we were all over at his house celebrating his birthday and my grandma was serving pie. She set a piece down between me and my grandpa and I started eating away. After I was about half way done with the piece, my grandma tried to hand me my piece of pie... I had accidentally taken the slice that was meant for my grandpa. I was so embarrassed. But I think it was the start of a beautiful love affair I have with pies.

Since I have been married, I have always tried to find great little pie shops so I can indulge my cravings every now and then. Since we have lived in Indiana, I have not been able to find a great pie shop. So after many months of not having great pies to eat, I decided that it was high time I learned how to make my own pies.

This past week I have been making pies like crazy. The first pie I made was a lemon meringue pie. Of course I would try to tackle one of the harder pies first. Needless to say, it didn't come out as wonderfully as my second pie attempt. Watch for a post on my lemon meringue fiascoes later on. The second pie I made was blackberry pie. I was able to get some perfectly sweet blackberries at the farmers market and I knew I wanted to try to make a pie with them. I had once long ago made a blackberry pie because I was assigned a pie for a potluck I was invited to. The flavor of it was good, but it was extremely runny. I didn't attempt a berry pie again until now. That was about 10 years ago!

When I made this pie I decided to use the same recipe I used 10 years ago, but I added some extra corn starch to help thicken it up. Here is the recipe for a 9" deep dish pie.

What you will need:

1 recipe for pie crust (recipe to follow)

1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups blackberries
2 tlbs. cornstarch

What you do:

Make crust according to directions below. Put one crust in the bottom of a deep dish pie plate. Combine the sugar, flour, salt and cornstarch. Pour over blackberries. Toss gently to coat. Place remaining crust over top cutting slits to vent. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes with foil covering the outer crust to prevent it from getting to dark. Remove foil and cook another 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

I sliced into the pie before it was all the way cool and found that the sauce was slightly runny still, but not nearly as runny as the first time I made it. Once all the way cool, the sauce wasn't runny at all.

Pie Crust (Double Crust Recipe)

I just used the recipe found in my better homes and gardens cookbook. I know that there are fabulous pie crust recipes out there. I am sure that once I get the hang of making pie crust I will want to venture out and try all sorts of new amazing crust recipes. Until then, this one was pretty darn good.

What you will need:

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2/3 cup shortening

6 to 7 tablespoons ice water

What you do:

Measure the shortening and then place it in the freezer to firm up as much as possible. Stir together the flour and salt with a whisk. Add the cold shortening to the flour using a pastry blender until the shortening pieces are pea sized. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of ice cold water over the mixture and toss with a fork. Move the moistened dough over to the side of the bowl. Repeat with more water until all the dough is moist. Try to use as little water as possible. You only want enough to just keep the dough to stick together in a ball. Don't let the dough get soggy.

Put the dough wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for about 20 minutes to let the flour hydrate and to keep the shortening cold. Keeping all the ingredients as cold as possible is the secret to a light flaky crust.

After refrigeration, divide dough in half and roll out to a 12" circle. Place on bottom of pie plate by folding dough in half over rolling pin and laying it gently on pie plate. Be careful not to stretch the dough. Fill pie dish with filling. Roll out remaining dough, cut slits, place on top of pie filling. Tuck edges under and crimp to make a decorative edge. Bake according to pie directions.

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