Of all summer fruit, I might not have given blackberries enough homage. Peach melba I have tried. An assortment of strawberry tarts and pies, rhubard crisp, pineapple upside down cake recipes I know almost by heart. Yet, in all my summers here I hadn't made one dessert that focused soley on the fruit. Shame on me. Blackberries have long been part of my fruit repertoire - had them in parfatis, in fruit salads, in preserves and smoothies - but never made them stand alone in a dish. Until now.
Naturally ripened blackberries do not need much else to enhance their favors. A tablespoon of vanilla, maybe a pinch of all spice, and perhaps a splash of deep red wine are all it takes. For baking, it is important to get the very ripe ones; the riper they are less sugar is needed. Look for almost even coloration (although the color changes when baked) and those without the hulls, since younger berries hang on to the hulls stronger than riper ones.
While I have included a crust recipe, store bought crust works just as well. However, I would suggest using a pastry crust rather than a graham cracker crust. The flaky pastry crust provides a noticable textural contrast to the soft berries.
Makes one 9" pie
2 pints blackberries (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp dark red wine e.g. cabernet (optional)
1 nine inch prepared pie crust (recipe below)
1. Set oven to 450 degrees F.
2. Combine the first five ingredients being careful not to crush the berries; pour into the prepared pie crust. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking for an additional 20 to 45 minutes until the juices thicken. (*See note below.) If the crust browns too quickly, cover with foil.
3. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1. Set oven to 350 degrees F.
2.Combine the first four ingredients. Mix in the butter until a crumbly dough forms, then mix in the egg until it all comes together in a soft ball.
3. Using the back of a spoon or the tips of your fingers, evenly spread this dough unto a well greased nine inch pie dish, along the bottom and up the sides.
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes until lightly golden brown.
*Note: If you prefer a softer, more homogenized filling, allow the pie to bake up to forty five to minutes to an hour at 350 degrees F. The photo above show how it would look after 30 minutes at this temperature; the berries still have most of their structure and can be picked off the top without fally apart, just the way I like it.