A few weeks ago I had a Friday off from work. The weather was perfect and I was longing to get out of the city. Off to Mood Farmer’s Market in Mulica Hill, New Jersey I went. A few hours in the sunny rows of blackberry bushes resulted in seven pounds of the berries. Oops. I had every intention of picking the berries specifically to make jam, but there was wayyyy more left over.

Upon arriving home, we gave the berries a little soak in the sink to get rid of any bugs, because there were quite a bit of bugs. Then we divided them up: freezer, jam, snacking, and baking. The next day I got to work on my pie.

Pie is very time consuming, especially in the heat. Luckily it wasn’t too humid like it’s been lately, so this was a slightly more bearable process than if could have been. I dove into Mark Bittman’s How To Cook Everything, and got to work. The recipes posted are a little out of order, but this is how I followed them. Bittman’s cookbook has basic recipes, followed by variations. I started out with making the pie crusts, then followed a recipe for Blueberry Pie, substituting some blackberries for blueberries. Try to follow along, and please comment if you have any additional questions.

Blackberry Blueberry Pie
Adapted from Mark Bittman

Flaky Pie Crust

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into about 8 pieces
3 tablespoons ice water, plus more if necessary

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn on the machine; process until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, about 10 seconds.

Put the mixture in a bowl and add the ice water; mix with your hands until you can form the dough into a ball, adding another tablespoon or two of ice water if necessary (if you overdo it and the mixture becomes sodden, add a little more flour). Form into a ball, wrap in plastic, and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (You can refrigerate the dough for up to a couple of days or freeze, tightly wrapped, for up to a couple of weeks.)

Sprinkle a clean countertop with flour, put the dough on it, and sprinkle the top with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll with light pressure from the center out. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes. If the dough is sticky, add a little flour (if it continues to become sticky, and it’s taking you more than a few minutes to roll it out, refrigerate or freeze again). Roll, adding flour and rotating and turning the dough as needed; use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place.

When the diameter of the dough is about 2 inches greater than that of your pie plate, drape the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it into the pie plate. Press the dough firmly into the plate all over. Refrigerate for about an hour before filling (if you’re in a hurry, freeze for a half hour or so).

Trim the excess dough to about 1/2 inch all around, then tuck it under itself around the edge of the plate. Decorate the edges with a fork or your fingers. Freeze the dough for 10 minutes (or refrigerate it for 30 minutes).

When you’re ready to bake, either fill it or prick it all over with a fork for prebaking.

Blackberry Blueberry Pie Filling

3 cups blackberries/2 cups blueberries; both picked over, briefly rinsed, and lightly dried
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 flaky pie crusts (recipe to follow)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

Gently toss the blueberries with the sugar, thickener, salt, and spices. Stir in the lemon juice and optional zest and pile into the rolled-out shell, making the pile a little higher in the center than at the sides. Dot with butter.

Clearly my pie was not perfect, but it certainly tasted that way! I’ve never done lattice-type topping before and I didn’t exactly weave the way I should have, but you get the idea. Now I am ready for apple pie season. I really liked the idea of the lattice work for the summer pies, I didn’t want to keep my beautiful berries all couped up under one big pie crust top. If only I had added a little more on the ends, it would have extended across the whole pie top. Oh well, minor details.

The most important step in this recipe was patience. I’ve made pies before but forgot that the dough has to chill for a while before use. When I started baking on Sunday morning, I thought, “Oh I’ll just whip up a pie.” About three hours later, it was finally cooling. I utilized Bittman’s advice on the freezer as much as possible.

Next time I pie-bake, it will be a bit cooler and hopefully my weekends will be less hectic so I can have more time to devote. Next up: apple and pumpkin, here I come!