Blackberry Pie and Grandma’s Secret Weapon

In Louisiana, one of the most requested desserts in our family is blackberry pie. My grandmother has made her blackberry sweet dough pie since before I can remember. Many people have tried to learn her recipe and many people have failed with blackberry stains on the ceiling to prove it. Grandma cooks with no recipes. She makes bread dough without measurements, cooks without timers, and bakes without a measuring cup in sight. So whenever asked to make a blackberry pie at my house, I thought it was my perfect opportunity to watch and replicate her delicious dessert.

There is one other component that I forgot to mention. My grandfather. Since his retirement, Grandma has taught him the culinary ropes of making roux, smothering okra, and slow roasting a rump. He has become the Goose to her Maverick, the butter to her bread, and they are adorable to watch in the kitchen together. So adorable in fact that before I knew it, I had missed the first steps in making the pie. Grandma had already begun simmering the berries in their own juices. Only the sweet voice of my grandmother apologizing that she used the entire box cornstarch broke the memorization of watching them working together, while beaming and completely covered in flour. I smiled politely and told her to use whatever she needed, and she happily returned to her pot of berries, beating them together as if they has cursed and needed a fine spanking. “See how thick it gets,” she said to me while lifting up her spoon with the black mash clinging to it for dear life, “That’s when you know it’s ready.”

The next step: piecrust. Grandma has one of the best kitchen tools around: reliable, strong and sturdy. It’s Grandpa. In making the crust, it’s his job to stir and stir and stir the mixture until Grandma declares its doneness. I watched both of them roll out the dough and agree on the thickness. Grandma put the dough into the pie plate like mosaic tiles. She looked up at me and said, “It’s not the kind of pie that matters if it looks perfect.” A true statement for any Southern dish.

Then came the lattice topping. This was the only time where Grandma and Grandpa had a difference of opinion. He was in charge of topping off the pies with dough, until Grandma walked in. “No, no, that’s too much dough on top,” she sweetly stated. He turned around and looked at me, “I like the crust the best. It’s my favorite part. But Grandma likes the filling.” And I watched him, calmly sipping his black coffee and smiling, while watching Grandma take off the extra pieces of latticework. All of a sudden, I noticed that the first pie (out of the two her “recipe” made) was already in the oven, baking happily with “too much” dough. Everyone was happy with the pies, the filling lovers and the crust eaters. I never got her recipe, but this is my own. And don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out looking perfect, that’s ok. It’s not the kind of pie that matters about that sort of thing.

Recipe: Makes 1 8-inch pie

Pie Crust:

2 ½ cups of flour

1 teaspoon of salt

3 tablespoons of sugar

1 stick of butter, cold and cut up into cubes

½ cup of shortening, cut up in small pieces

6-12 tablespoons of ice cold water

1 egg, slightly beaten

In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add butter and shortening to the flour mixture. Pulse to combine all of the ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse sand. Add the cold water, tablespoon-by-tablespoon, pulsing in between tablespoons. Seriously, pulse. You don’t want the heat from the motor interfering with the consistency of the dough. Add water until the dough comes together into a ball. The dough should not be sticky or crumbly. Divide dough in half and shape into 2 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Filling:

3 cups of fresh blackberries

1 cup of sugar

1 lemon, juiced

3 tablespoons of cornstarch

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and stir together. Let the berries simmer for about 30 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

*Note: Depending on the sweetness of the berries, you may need to adjust the sugar. Berries picked at the peak of season tend to be sweeter than the more tart ones supplied year round.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 350o

On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough until 9 or so inches in diameter. Gently place the dough into the pie plate and crimp edges. Place in fridge for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, place the cooled filling into the prepared pie plate. Roll out the other disk of dough and cut into ½- inch to 1- inch strips. Place strips horizontally onto the pie. Start placing strips one-by-one vertically, lifting every other strip to create a lattice pattern. Brush 1 slightly beaten egg gently onto exposed piecrust. Place the pie onto a cookie sheet and place in oven for 25 minutes. Rotate and let bake for another 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

 

 

 

 

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44 thoughts on “Blackberry Pie and Grandma’s Secret Weapon

  1. This. is. the. best. thing. ever. ever. ever. period. It’s perfectly sweet and perfectly scrumptious! And the crust just completely compliments the blackberry. Just divine!

  2. I remember their visit! I have the proof of extra weight… but I don’t mind when it comes to fantastic homemade food! 🙂 Grandma and Grandpa really are the cutest things in the kitchen 🙂 I think that Amber’s version of blackberry pie is the best I have ever had, ever!!! 🙂

  3. I enjoyed making this pie tonight. It was a cool evening so a perfect time to make a pie. I made it for my dad. I was looking for a great recipe and stumbled on this one. I wish I would be here when he takes his first bite. I sampled it while I was cooking the berries. YUMMY

  4. This is the most adorable thing I’ve ever read! I usually read the first few sentences of blogs then skip to the recipe, yours caught my attention though. I can’t imagine any pie tastin better than grandma and grandpas! But I’m going to try this one today, very excited! (Hoping I can find some good berries in September!). You’re a great writer and I think your pie looks beautiful and perfect!

    • Oh thank you so much for the encouraging words! I love sharing stories of my family and the recipes that go along with my memories. In a pinch, you can always use frozen berries though. Some of my family members crave blackberry pie well out of season so sometimes I have to use frozen! Good luck!

  5. This pie is phenomenal. Parents come home from work to find I made a better blackberry pie than my mother does lol, thank you so much for sharing!

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  9. Hello! I have a question of opinion for you. As I should have blackberries out the wazoo, I want to know if you would freeze the blackberries and then make the filling from frozen OR if you would use fresh berries and then freeze the filling. Thanks!

  10. I found this recipe on Pinterest today. We picked a pound of blackberries last night and my 3 year old declared we just MUST make a pie with them. So, I went in search of a decent sounding recipe that also matched what I had in my house. This is SO good! My parents came over for some and my dad couldn’t stop raving that it’s the “best pie he’s ever had” and my new job in the family is “official pie baker.” And my kids didn’t make a single sound for the five minutes it took to eat it, and even licked their plates clean. Anyways, just wanted to say thanks for the fantastic recipe! I’ll be using it again. Our blackberry season is short here in the Northwest, so we’ll be making the most of it!

  11. Hi! I am so excited to try his recipe! I don’t have a large food processor and usually make a crust in the Kitchenaid mixer. Do you think that is a huge difference? I know pie crust is so sensitive! Thanks

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  13. Happy Thanksgiving! Just thought I’d share that today is the third time I’ve made this pie and it’s legitimately the best pie I’ve ever made and everyone tells me that when they eat it. We have wild blackberries that grow around our house so I made 2 pies this past summer with fresh blackberries then froze enough to make another pie today. Thanksgiving! Yay! So thank you for sharing this recipe. It is truly amazing! (:

  14. The pie was amazing!! I made a few changes to the receipt to make it vegan so my sister could enjoy the pie as well.

    I did have one question though. My crust was very crumbly and wet. I added more flour to it so I could make two dough ball and refrigerate them. When I took them out they were very hard. I managed to put the dough on the pie plate to bake after breaking the ball and pressing down on the plate. The crust on top was very hard to put on. Not sure what I did wrong. Any advice for next time?

    Even though the crust did not come out as hoped, will definitely make it again. Will just have trouble eating it.

    • What ingredient did you use to substitute the butter in order for it to be vegan? I’ve never made this recipe without butter, so I’m thinking that may be the culprit!
      x
      Amber

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  16. Could you make this pie and then freeze it for later? Thinking of making these for a church fundraiser. If, yes what would be cooking directions once frozen? Thanks!

    • Cheryl,
      I’ve never baked this pie without it disappearing within minutes! That being said, I have made the filling and the pie dough ahead of time, and the day I want to serve the pie, all I have to do is roll out the dough, fill and bake it! I hope this helps.
      x
      Amber

  17. I don’t have a great history in making wonderful pies but I followed this recipe and my first blackberry pie I have ever made,was absolutely fabulous!!! My husband is not a pie eater but ate 3 pieces!!!!!! And the fight was on over the last piece between him and our two daughters!!!!! Needless to say mom won!!!!! Now I am known around our house as the pie master!!! Thanks so much for sharing this with the world!!!!!!

    • Julie (aka The Pie Master),
      Thank you so much for leaving this comment! You have no idea how much this means to me! I love that you and your family loved the blackberry pie recipe!
      x
      Amber

  18. I am definitely going to have to try making this tonight. I enjoy your story as well. My Grandma was famous for her Banana Cream Pie. And nobody was able to get her recipe before she died. I never thought to when I was younger.

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