Blackberry and Blueberry Pie

Blackberry & blueberry pie

Can we please have one last fling with the berries??

Summer (vacation) is almost over, and I haven’t yet made a berry pie.  Usually I make blackberry pie when Mark arrives in the States for his 2-week holiday, but this year I was obsessed with peaches at the time of his arrival, so we welcomed him with a single-crust peach pie instead.  I think I made the mistake of calling it “cobbler” rather than “pie”… thus perhaps taking it down a tiny notch in my family’s culinary estimation.  There is no question that they LOVE my pie, but they are never completely sure about cobbler.  What exactly is cobbler, anyway?  I admit that cobbler is a bit difficult to pin down- is it supposed to be made with pie crust?  Biscuit dough?  Sweet topping, or not?  Truth be told, there are many variations on cobbler, but only one basic recipe for short-crust pastry: flour, fat, salt, and water.

Making pie crust

I tamper very, very little with this recipe.

I do have a “healthy crust” recipe… but this is not it.   This is the real thing: a flaky, tender, touch-it-with-your-fork-and-it-breaks kind of crust.  The kind that you will fight your brother for before it’s even baked.  Yeah, it’s that good.  I learned how to make it from my Ma, who learned it from her Momma, who ran a bakery with her Momma during the Great Depression to help save her large family from starvation.  Yes, Granny Cox had all the motivation she needed to learn how to make the best pie in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.  And she did.  And she continued to hone her skills baking pies for her large family and any hungry field hands on the dairy farm that she and my Grandpa owned in Bixby, Oklahoma.

I’m not biased or anything.

The one change I have made in the pie crust recipe is to use butter as the fat instead of Crisco shortening.  Sorry, Granny, those trans fats in the shortening will just kill us!!  But we didn’t know that until just recently.  But butter has been around forever, so let’s just use that.  It tastes better too.  I use a soft European butter- Kerry Gold unsalted Irish butter is perfect.

Pie crust in the plate

I sweeten the filling only as much as is minimally required to bring out the flavor of the berries, and thicken it only as much as needed to keep the juices from running all over the place.  I add lemon zest for brightness, and nutmeg for warmth.  Some recipes call for dotting butter over the filling before adding the top crust, but I think this is overkill- you can’t taste the extra butter anyway, and besides, there is plenty of it in the crust already.

Blackberry & blueberry pie

But I do brush the top crust with a bit of almond milk and sprinkle it with sugar before baking.  Granny always did this, and so did my mother.  It adds a sweet crispness to the top crust that will just drive you wild.  Plus it looks beautiful.

Blackberry & blueberry pie

To me, it’s the perfect pie: sweet, tart, rich, with a tender and flaky crust that soaks up the berries’ syrupy juices.  It would have only been more perfect if I’d been able to make it the day before Mark went back to Manila, instead of the day after.

Blackberry & blueberry pie

I think we’re looking forward to a pie made with frozen berries soon after I get back to Manila next week… just sayin.

Blackberry & blueberry pie


What are you looking forward to when you return from your home leave?

Blackberry and Blueberry Pie

Blackberry and Blueberry Pie


    For the crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup (225 gm) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 7-8 tablespoons (100-120 ml) ice-cold water
    For the filling:
  • 3 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed & patted dry
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed & patted dry
  • 1/2 cup sugar or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


    For the crust:
  • Whisk together flour, salt, & sugar. Distribute butter evenly over flour mixture, then cut in with a pastry blender or 2 knives used scissor-fashion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Add water gradually, stirring as you go, until flour is barely moistened and dough begins to hold together in a ball.
  • Gather dough together lightly in your hands, press slightly, and divide in two. Let rest while you make the filling.
    For the filling:
  • Combine sugar, cornstarch, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add berries and lemon zest & juice.
  • Stir well and set aside while you roll out the crust.
    To assemble & bake the pie:
  • Heat the oven to 200C (400F).
  • Roll out the bottom crust slightly larger than the pie plate.
  • Transfer crust to the pie plate, then roll out the top crust.
  • Stir up the berries, and pour into the bottom crust. Carefully place the top crust over the berries, then seal the edge and crimp decoratively. Cut air vents in the top crust in any decorative style you like.
  • Brush the top crust with almond milk, then sprinkle evenly with the sugar.
  • Bake at 200C (400F) for 25-30 minutes or until crust is beginning to brown, then turn heat down to 160C (350F) for 20-25 minutes or until filling is bubbling and thick. (Cover with aluminium foil if crust is getting too brown.)
  • Remove from oven and cool for 4 hours to set the juices before slicing- if you can wait that long!
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  1. Sharka says

    Hello Rebecca,
    Greetings from Athens. Your granny’s pie looks fantastic! I am with you on butter vs. shortening:-)) .
    I usually cook based on what I find at my local market and very often from top of my head…. + lots of pulses, fresh herbs, super foods etc… We are all soup lovers ands during cooler months I make some sort of veggie soup almost everyday…
    I wanted to let you know that your roasted pepper soup is divine! Loved the spiciness and texture. I enjoy reding your blog posts. Love, Sharka

    • says

      Hi Sharka, thanks so much for your kind words!! Makes my day. 🙂 And let me say that I would love to eat at your table any day- or every day!! 🙂 That’s how I cook too… no recipes… sometimes it’s hard to remember what I did so I can document it on the blog! ha ha I remember your veggie soup so well from Manila and I’m sure in Greece it’s even better with all those yummy fresh veggies & pulses. Miss you tons. xoxo

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