Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wild Blackberry Pie

I'm incredibly grateful that I live in the Pacific Northwest. The mountains are gorgeous, the people are friendly, the farmers markets are incredible, and there are blackberry bushes everywhere in sight. A girl like me couldn't be happier living in a place like this. You can call me obsessed with berry picking and I'm perfectly okay with that. Almost every weekend during the summer you can find me plucking juicy berries off the bushes. Whether they're strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or the myriad of other Pacific Northwest native berries, I'm out there picking.
Besides the fact that berries are freaking delicious, they're also one of the healthiest fruits to add to your diet. The extraordinary high levels of antioxidants in berries make them powerful medicine for our bodies, as they prevent cell damage and promote cell regeneration. The dark pigments in berries, called anthocyanins, are some of the most potent cancer fighters and anti-aging compounds. What's even more interesting is that wild berries have even higher levels of these compounds. So if you live in an area where the wild edible berries are plentiful, get out there and start picking!
Our recent berry picking excursion left us with pounds and pounds of berries. Normally, I choose to eat my berries just as they are by the handful. But I decided that since I had so many (and I'm just going to pick more next week), I was going to use some to make a pie. Mind you, this was the first pie I've ever made in my life. It was a complete success. It's a pretty classic pie recipe, but I used 100% whole spelt flour to give the crust a rustic feel and of course some whole grain goodness. I don't know why I was ever afraid to make pie, but after this one, I know there will be plenty more being made in my kitchen.

Wild Blackberry Pie (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

Flaky Whole Spelt Pie Crust
2 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
8 oz / 1 cup salted butter (grass-fed organic is best)
1/3 cup cold water (I only used 6 tablespoons of water for my crust)

You can make the crust using this quick and popular food processor technique. It's really easy and super delicious.

Pie Filling
2/3 cup  natural cane or rapadura sugar
1/3 cup spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 pounds of berries
zest of 1 organic lemon
2 tablespoons butter
a few tablespoons of milk (I used goat milk)
Large grain sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat your oven to 425F / 220C, with a rack in the bottom third. Roll out your pie crust - top and bottom on a floured piece of parchment paper. Flip once or twice. Work quickly and keep the dough moving. Place both rolled out pieces of dough between parchment paper and refrigerate while you make the filling. Remember, it's totally ok if your dough doesn't roll out into a perfect circle - you can patch and pinch later if needed.

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

3. 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.

4. Fill the crust with the berries and dot with the butter. 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. Brush the crust with milk and cut a few slits into the top. Sprinkle with plenty of large grain sugar.  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 didn't have to foil in my oven for this pie, even at this temp, but your oven might be a bit different.
Let cool at least a half hour (or longer if you want the filling to not be too runny), slice and serve.

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  1. We pie makers like to pretend it is really hard to roll pie crusts so that the pie will continue to be revered. Welcome to our dynasty. Now shush up on how easy it was! Your pie is lovely. Also, you may be the first person ever to say Seattle folks are friendly. Most talk about the "Seattle chill".

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