Friday, July 14, 2017

BLACKBERRY LEMON PIE


It's blackberry picking time and eating the sweet berries fresh is a special treat... but since pie is at the top of my food chain, I can't pass up making this awesome Blackberry Lemon Pie.  This is a deep dish pie and has a few more steps than a conventional "throw it all together and dump into the pie plate" routine.  I was watching Alton Brown from the food channel discuss the benefits of cooking a fruit filling before filling the pie.  This results in a perfectly shaped pie that does not collapse and has no bubble over making a mess in the oven.  In this recipe, I tried a little of each, some of the filling precooked and a fresh berry mixture added to it after cooking to retain the shape and texture of whole berries in the pie. This pie's a keeper and it's hard to keep from "just trimmming the edge"!

Blackberry Lemon Pie
Recipe: Makes 1 9-inch deep dish 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 lard, cut up in small pieces
7 tablespoons vodka
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:
6 cups of blackberries (set aside 2 cups whole berries)
11/2 cup of sugar
1 lemon, juiced and grated zest
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons quick tapioca

Mix the 2 cups reserved berries with ¼ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon of tapioca. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine berries, 1 cup sugar, lemon juice and zest.  Cover and slowly bring to a simmer for 15 minutes, (not a hard boil) Dissolve 1/4 cup sugar in ¼ cup water and stir in cornstarch. Add some of the hot berry mixture to warm the paste and then thoroughly mix into the simmering berries.  Stir constantly as mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and add vanilla. 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 350 degrees F

On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough until 10 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. Sprinkle coated crust with sugar. 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.