Blackberries can be found across the country and ripen at the same time peaches do. Be sure to wear a long-sleeve shirt when picking blackberries since vines with thorns are prickly. Look for berries that are plump and almost black. Only pick the berries that come off the stem easily. If you have to tug it off, it isn’t ripe and won’t be sweet enough.
I like the flavor of the fruit to shine through, so I use less than a cup of sugar in this pie, but after the filling is made, taste it and add a bit more if you like it sweeter. This pie is beautiful when finished with a woven lattice top.
Makes one 9-inch deep-dish pie
- 6 cups (680 grams), about 1 1/2 pounds blackberries, fresh picked or unthawed frozen
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
- A small grating of freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons (10 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice and a few gratings of lemon zest
- 1/3 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
- 1/3 cup (48 grams) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon–1 tablespoon (2–12 grams) quick-cooking tapioca; add the larger amount if the berries are especially juicy
- 1 recipe double-crust pie dough
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) butter
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) sugar, for sprinkling on top of the pie
- 1 egg white plus 1 tablespoon (15 grams) water, fork beaten
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
Put the blackberries, sugar, nutmeg, lemon juice, zest, salt, flour, and tapioca into a bowl and stir and fold until everything is evenly coated. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash gently to make a textured filling.
Roll out the bottom dough and place it in your pie pan.
Pour the filling into the crust, dot it with butter, and set it aside.
Roll out the remaining dough, lay it over the fruit, trim, crimp, and cut 5 to 6 vents on top, or cut strips and weave a lattice top. Brush the crust with the egg white mixture.
Bake at 425°F (220°C) on the middle rack of the oven until the crust is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F (175°C); bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 to 40 minutes more. When there are about 10 minutes of bake time left, open the oven, pull the pie out, and quickly and evenly sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar.
Let the pie cool before serving so the filling can set up.
Mulberry Pie: Substitute fresh picked mulberries for blackberries. The slender berries are very tender and their fragile stems almost disappear during the bake.
Blackcap Pie: Substitute fresh picked blackcap berries (also known as black raspberries) for blackberries. I don’t get blackcaps often and when I do, I stop everything and make a pie.
Recipe reprinted with permission from “Art of the Pie: A Practical Guide to Homemade Crusts, Fillings, and Life” by Kate McDermott. Published by The Countryman Press, a division of W.W. Norton & Company.