Blackberries. I am always fascinated by the complex shape and colors of these berries. And that distinct, intense flavor.

I see a blackberry and I think “pie.” And, if you want great pie, then the American South is the place to find a recipe. Edna Lewis was the master of Southern cuisine. She brought it to New York City and mesmerized the Upper East Side crowd with her heritage food.

This recipe comes from her elegant The Edna Lewis Cookbook. You want this book. You do. But, before it arrives at your house, you can get those end of summer berries. The ones that have lingered on vine, been bathed in sunshine, and now sit incredibly sweet for your consideration.

And, there’s a benefit. Read Edna’s very simple instructions for rolling out a pie dough. It’s simple, square, and takes the grief out of trying to roll out a circle.


Deep-Dish Blackberry Pie with Blackberry Sauce

Yield: serves 6-8

Ingredients:

For the pie crust:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks butter (6 ounces)
  • ⅓ cup cold water

For the berry filling:

  • 3 pints blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 thin pats chilled sweet butter

For the berry sauce:

  • 1 pint blackberries
  • ½ cup sugar

Preparation:

For the pie crust, place the flour, salt, and chilled butter (cut into small pieces) in a bowl and cut with a pastry blender until the mixture has the texture of cornmeal. Use a firm, chopping motion with the blender, rotating the bowl slowly with your left and. Stop to clean off the blades of the blender if they become heavily coated.

Sprinkle the cold water quickly over the surface, mix with a large spoon, and pull the dough together lightly. Gently shape it into a ball with your fingers and then divide it into 2 slightly unequal portions. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before rolling. (For greater ease in rolling, chill the rolling pin as well.)

Remove the dough about 15 to 20 minutes before rolling it out, so that it will soften and be easy to handle.

Allow 15 minutes to preheat the oven to450°F.

Lightly flour the rolling pin and board, and roll out the larger half into a square shape. To gauge the size, place an 8”x 8”x 2” Pyrex dish on the rolled-out dough and allow an additional 2 ½“ all around to cover the sides and rim.

Roll up the dough onto the pin and carefully unroll it over the pie dish. Gently shape it into the bottom and sides of the dish.

If you are not going to fill and bake the pie immediately, cover it with waxed paper and return it to the refrigerator.

The top crust can also be rolled out in advance of baking and kept in the refrigerator between two sheets of waxed paper.

For the filling, sprinkle half of the sugar over the bottom crust and add the berries and the remaining sugar. Then dot the berries with the butter pats.

Roll the top crust into an 8” square.

With a pastry brush, moisten the edges of the bottom crust with cold water and place the top crust over the berries, unrolling it off the pin. Press down lightly along the rim with your fingertips and, using kitchen shears, trim off any excess dough. Make depressions around the rim with the dull edge of a knife.

Make several vents in the top crust before placing the pie on the middle rack in the preheated 450°F oven for 10 minutes. Then, after 10 minutes, lower the heat to 425°F for 35 minutes.

Serve the pie warm by itself, or with blackberry sauce and whipped cream.

For the blackberry sauce, take a handful from the pint of blackberries and crush them with a potato ricer or fork on the bottom of a saucepan. Add the remaining berries and sugar, and let this simmer gently about 15 minutes over medium-low heat.

Press through a sieve or a food mill and serve warm.


Source: The Edna Lewis Cookbook by Edna Lewis and Evangeline Peterson [Axios Press, 1972]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/8 for 1/100th second at ISO‑800