A Nice Berry Pie

A Nice Berry Pie Recipe

I'm sitting here in my neighborhood coffee shop attempting to write about pie. To be more specific, berry pie. I'm easily distracted and a bit of a daydreamer, so we'll see how this goes. I suspect it could be one of those scenarios where it takes me the better part of an hour to craft a sentiment that basically communicates the following. This is the pie I bake most often. It's made with the crust I love most. And it's a stand-up way to use good berries as well as berries that aren't quite perfect. It's made with a rye flour crust that I pair with a simple mixed berry filling seasoned with a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves.

Berry Pie Recipe

But lets circle back a bit. How about I tell you what I like in a berry pie? I suspect not all of you will agree with me, but let me put it out there. I like a flaky-yet-substantial all-butter crust. I like that crust baked just this side of too dark. But not so dark that it gets overly dry. I also appreciate a slice of pie that (generally speaking) maintains its wedge shape. I like a filling that tastes like fruit, not sugar. And I'm sure there are a number of other things - if they come to mind later, I'll tack them on to the end of this list.

Berry Pie Recipe

As far as pulling this pie together is concerned, the filling is straight forward. It's the homemade crust that sends everyone into a tailspin. I try to link out to some good instructional sites within the recipe (below) for those of you who are nervous about technique, or aren't quite sure how to approach pie crusts. Lots of pictures, and a video. I might use different ratios/ingredients, but the techniques are the same. And just know, a bit of practice will have you cranking out pies in no time. This rye pie crust in particular is super adaptable - sometimes I sweetened it with a bit of sugar, or sprinkle sugar on top prior to baking. Herbs are welcome, as is citrus zest. I use it for savory pies, and for tarts too.

A Nice Berry Pie

Berries. I tend to use whatever berries I have on hand. My very, very favorite is a version made entirely with wild huckleberries. This pie was a blend of blueberries, huckleberries, and blackberries (8oz. blackberries, 8 oz huckleberries, 1 pound blueberries) - also great. Play around! As far as the crust goes, I'll include my very favorite below, the one I use most often - it makes enough for one 9 or 10-inch double-crust pie.

Flaky Rye Pie Crust

75 g / v. scant 2/3 cup rye flour
175g / 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 oz / 1 cup salted butter
1/3 cup / 80 ml cold water or beer

You can make the crust using the quick and popular food processor technique. BUT I always make it by hand, using the above ingredients, and this technique. If you like a super-puffy crust, do the folding in Pim's instructions 4x. I usually like mine less so, and fold & roll just 2 or 3 times, depending on how the dough is feeling. The pie in the photo was 3x.

Berry Pie Filling

2/3 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g natural cane or brown sugar
1/3 cup / 1.5 oz / 45 g flour (apf or wwp)
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sprigs thyme (prefer. lemon thyme) ~ 1/2 t.
2 pounds of berries, (see head notes)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter

1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, whisked

Large grain sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 425F / 220C, with a rack in the bottom third. Roll out your pie crust - top and bottom - on a flour dusted counter. I tend to work the edges a bit first (particularly if I'm getting cracks) - roll and turn, roll and turn, dusting with flour when necessary. Flip once or twice. Work quickly and keep the dough moving. Place between unbleached parchment paper or Silpats, and refrigerate while you make the filling. If you're nervous about rolling out the crust, have a look at the second part of Melissa Clark's video. See how she's not super fussy? Channel some of that. If you need an extra confidence booster, read this. It's o.k. if your dough doesn't roll out into a perfect circle - you can patch and pinch later if needed. Just shoot for 11 or 12-inch inch rounds.

Make the filling by combining the sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and thyme in large mixing bowl. Add the berries, and toss gently until well combined. Set aside.

Line a 9 or 10-inch pie plate with the bottom piece of pie dough. Guide it into place without stretching. You want about an inch of dough extending past the rim of the pie plate, trim a bit with scissors or a sharp knife if needed.

Fill the crust with the berries, drizzle with lemon juice, and dot with the butter. Brush the rim of the bottom crust with a bit of egg wash, then top with the other piece of pie crust. Trim the top crust a bit if needed, then press the top and bottom crusts together at the edges. Working around the rim, tuck the overhanging dough under itself, and crimp with a fork or flute using your fingers (see picture up above). Brush the crust with more of the egg wash, cut a few slits into the top, and place in the oven for about 45 minutes - until the crust is deeply golden. Check your pie regularly after 25 minutes. If you need to foil the edges of the pie - pull it out and do so - this way the edges wont get too dark and dry. I don't have to foil in my oven for this pie, even at this temp, but your oven might be a bit different. I also sprinkle with large-grain sugar about 25 minutes in - for a little extra crunch and sweetness. Let cool a bit, slice and serve.

Serves 8.

Prep time: 90 minutes - Cook time: 45 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • Going to go for the last blackberry foraging expedition of the summer this weekend. Now I know what I will do with what I find.

    mike
  • Sadly, I do not have the pleasure of knowing what a huckleberry tastes like. Your pie looks to die for. Like you, I prefer mine with an almost-too-dark crust and the ability to hold its shape. Thank you for sharing the "machine-less" crust technique from chezpim.com. I'll try that out next time.

    Maia
  • Having a new pie crust recipe gives me the motivation to try my hand at pastry making again. I keep trying the same universal technique (Don't over work it! Don't add too much water!), and I have yet to get it right. *sigh* Practice will make perfect eventually, right? HS: Give this a try Camille - I really enjoy making crusts this way.

    Camille
  • This (from your and Pim's writeup) looks too easy to be believed. It will have to be tried. I was never able to make crust worthy of the name before I discovered using frozen butter and a little vinegar. And this was in a processor, never by hand. All the instructions I have seemed unworkable/too much trouble and an almost certain waste of ingredients. Too many filling ideas with the end of summer fruits coming in right now…

    just another anonymous coward
  • Mmm love this pie crust with rye flour. i want to try it with apples inside.

    Banana Wonder
  • Heidi, this just looks beautiful! My husband came home today with a flat of fresh Oregon blackberries and raspberries from the farmer's market, and you just gave me the inspiration I needed. I love your cookbooks and have been a fan for a long time - thank you for your healthy and natural take on fantastic food! ~Jill

    Jill @ 42potatoes
  • hi heidi, after blog stalking you for ages and recommending your site to more people than i know, i am finally leaving a comment. thanks so much for this recipe! i almost threw away a bit of rye flour leftover from experiments with different flours because it seemed so dense in other things i've worked it into, but this seems great. do you every use it in cookies or scones? also--i've made the lillet shakes several times, topped with toasted almonds and lavendar. perfect. HS: Hi Sara :) I love the idea of adding toasted almonds. Good call. And yes, i do use rye flour quite a lot - in soda bread, biscuits, scones, crepes all sorts of things.

    sara g
  • i've never heard of rye flour or rye crust - thinking it would make a delicious savory pie stuffed with corned beef and cheese!

    lynn @ the actor's diet
  • Looks simply perfect. Love the idea of a savory sweet berry pie with that touch of rye flavor!

    The Healthy Hipster
  • My husband and I labored for hours picking wild huckleberries yesterday! We had been searching for the perfect pie recipe... your timing is impeccable. I cannot wait to try yours!

    Lindsey
  • That piecrust technique is a new one for me. I can't wait to try it. I love the addition of rye flour. Is there a particular reason you chose AP flour instead of whole wheat pastry? Thanks

    Renee
  • The pie is beautiful. I love making berry pies.So many combinations of various berries to put together, always a new experience. Over the years I perfected my pastry after many failures ("less than perfect"). Only to then find I have a wheat intolerance/allergy. I can use rye, barley, etc.as gluten is not a problem. Do you have a similar recipe using the rye without the wheat? Or suggest a substitution that would go with the rye? I am game to try! Congratulations on creating a thing of beauty. And taste. That is what I love about baking. A unique creation of art, to be enjoyed in so many ways, using all our senses. Thank you.

    CatieB
  • The color of the berry filling is such a beautiful hue of blue + purple. Not to mention, the pie sounds downright delicious.

    Ashlae
  • All butter crust with berry filling! I am down. rye in the crust is new but I love working with new grain combinations in traditional recipes. Can't wait to try it!

    Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet
  • This may just be what I use my small crop of blueberries in (they're in the freezer right now). I sure hope I have enough, because that berry pie is calling me (and so is that rye-butter crust). And... beer in the crust? Sounds interesting! I'd love to know more about that...

    Stephanie
  • What an awesome pie. This is perfect. I have tiny plums that I need to use up and I think I will try this recipe with them.

    Oana from dishchronicles
  • Blackberries are my favorite and I love the idea of using thyme in the pie filling. The pictures are lovely too!

    la domestique
  • A home-made pie is one thing I've never made but always wanted to! I have collected a couple of recipes over time, but I really like the look of this pastry - it just looks so yummy and crumbly and warm and comforting...

    Natashia@foodonpaper
  • Well: A) I have just fallen to my death. B) To the most beautiful, most spectacular, nice berry pie death. C) I'll throw a party if you need me to. C) I'll invite Wilson Phillips.

    Bev Weidner
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