Sift magazine, our thrice-yearly baking publication, is filled with all manner of wonderful stories, superb recipes, and striking photography. Enjoy this recipe from our Spring 2016 issue, perfect right now with blackberries at their ripest and most plentiful.
Pie is one of my very favorite summer treats, and blackberry pie holds a very special place in my summertime kitchen.
I grew up in Seattle, where blackberries grow wild and free. Every July my family would pick buckets full to make into all sorts of delicious treats, but the pies were always the best.
This, my favorite blackberry pie, is flavored with a generous amount of spicy fresh ginger and sweet vanilla.
The first thing we’ll need to do is prepare the crust. I prefer a super-flaky, all-butter pie crust for my fruit pies because I think it tastes the absolute best.
2 2/3 cups (11 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 to 10 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (18 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
In a large bowl whisk together the flour and salt.
Combine the ice water and apple cider vinegar in a measuring cup.
Add the butter chunks to the bowl with the flour. Toss to coat the butter with the flour.
Use the tips of your fingers to press each cube of butter into a flat sheet. Keep tossing the butter in the flour as you go to ensure that each butter piece is coated with flour.
The idea is to create thin, flat shards of butter that range from about the size of a dime to about the size of a quarter. Long flat pieces of butter in the crust = big flakes in the finished pie. If at any time the butter seems very soft or warm, briefly refrigerate the bowl.
Now it’s time to add the water. Sprinkle about 6 tablespoons of the ice water/vinegar mixture over the flour mixture and use your hands to mix gently. If the dough seems very dry, add more water/vinegar a couple of teaspoons at a time until the dough holds together when pressed.
You've added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together easily without it falling apart.
Press the dough into one mass, then split it in half, form each half into a disc, and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least 2 hours before using, or overnight. I prefer an overnight rest if possible.
To assemble the pie - On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece of the dough into a roughly 12" circle just under 1/4" thick. Use a pie plate as a template to trim the edges to a nice even circle, then transfer the dough to a 9" pie pan, making sure to tuck it into the corners of the pan.
Place in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
Combine the following filling ingredients in a bowl:
8 cups blackberries
2/3 cup sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
juice and grated rind (zest) of 1/2 lemon
pinch of salt
Pour the filling into the crust and press gently to compact the berries.
Roll the second piece of dough into a roughly 12" circle just under 1/4" thick. Place the circle atop the filling, trim the edges so they're even, then fold and crimp the dough together. Refrigerate or freeze the pie until the crust is very firm.
While the pie is chilling, beat 1 large egg in a bowl to make an egg wash. Place a rack in the lower third of your oven, and preheat the oven to 400ºF.
When you're ready to bake, brush the top of the pie with the egg wash and sprinkle with a healthy dose of coarse sugar. Use the tip of a knife to cut a few vents in the top.
Put the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet to catch any drips and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the crust is deep golden brown and the blackberry juices bubble. If the crust seems to be darkening too fast, tent it with aluminum foil.
Remove this splendid blackberry pie from the oven, and place it on a rack. Be sure to let it cool completely before slicing.
Berried treasure, indeed!