I went berry picking this week. Thomas, Anna and I did actually. Just down the road apiece from where we live there is a large field lined by a hedgerow. And all along the edge of this massive thicket, wild blackberries grow. Lots and lots of large, plump, juicy berries, well guarded by thistle branches and stinging nettle vines, are hidden here. But this was no matter to us. We picked and picked until we were full of scratches and stings and our hands were stained purple from the berry juice and when our container was full, so full I couldn’t fit the lid on it anymore, we went happily home looking forward to the end result this plethora of berries would bring.
(Recipe makes a double crust)
1 3/4 cup Flour
1 1/2 sticks (about 170 grams) cold Butter
1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt (omit if using salted butter)
7-10 Tablespoons Ice Water
Make the crust at least an hour ahead of time. Blend flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a large bowl. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter, two knifes or a food processor until the butter pieces are no larger than the size of a pea. Slowly add the ice water a tablespoon at a time, gently blending it into the flour mixture, adding just enough so that the dough will form into a ball. You don’t want to add too much water so that the dough is sticky but you don’t want it too crumbly either. Don’t over work the dough and mix it with a spoon or fork just well enough so that you can form a ball with your hands. Cut the dough in half and form each half into a flattened circle/disc then wrap each half with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Allow the dough to rest in the fridge for at least one hour and up to one day.
8 cups (about 1 kilogram) of Blackberries
1 cup Sugar
6-7 Tablespoons of finely ground Tapioca starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Lemon juiced – about 3 Tablespoons
Preheat the oven to 375° F or 190° C. Gently go through the berries picking out any leaves or bugs (if you picked them yourself) and submerge them in water to remove any debris. Rinse them and allow them to drain in a collendar. Put one cup of berries in a small sauce pan with the sugar, tapioca starch and salt. Heat the berries while stirring and gently mashing with a spoon to release their juices until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for one minute while stirring constantly, then remove from the heat. In a large bowl combine the berry mixture with the rest of the berries and the lemon juice stirring gently to combine. Roll out one of the two pie crusts and line the bottom of a pie dish with the crust. Roll the second crust out and with a sharp knife cut strips of dough about 3/4 inch (2 cm) wide. You’ll need about 18-20 strips. Pour the filling into the pie plate and cover the berries with the strips of dough using a lattice weave (over and under) pattern. Take the bottom crust and the lattice weave ends together and turn them under, pinching them together and forming a little wall around the pie. Brush the finished crust with milk all over. Bake on the middle rack but put a cookie sheet on a lower rack with baking paper on it, under the pie , to catch any drippings (I did this after about half an hour, when the pie started dripping). Bake for 1 hour or until the filling is bubbling and coming out of the top of the pie. Let the pie rest for at least 1-2 hours before cutting, to allow it to set. Refrigerate after it has cooled to room temperature.
The filling was very soft after about an hour or so out of the oven, but we managed to eat it! The next day it had gelled up and held it’s shape nicely.