However, I have never been a huge berry pie fan. Maybe because most berry pie you get out there is made with the canned filling....or a flat, stale crust.... I dunno. But I've never been a berry pie fan...
This pie is SO good! It's a little tart and a little sweet. Basically, perfect with ice cream.
First off, you have to start with an awesome crust. I have made so many pie crusts I can't even count....and this is the best one I've ever made! It's flaky and buttery and perfect.
Best Pie Crust Ever
(modified from the original found here)
2 1/2 C Unbleached All-Purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 stick + 2 Tbsp chilled butter
1/2 C pure lard
5 Tbsp ice water (plus)
In a food processor combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse till well blended. Then add butter and lard. Pulse till it resembles a course meal and no large chunks of fat remain. Add water and pulse a few more times. Turn out onto a floured surface and form into a ball. Separate ball into 2 sections. Flatten each into thick round disks and wrap with Saran. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight.
I use lard. Pure lard. It's the best stuff on earth. I am not even fooling about this. I would never fool about pastey fat. The best kind is pure rendered leaf lard. However, unless you live near a pig farm, it's probably hard to find. And unlike the hydrogenated tub-o-lard you can buy in the store, it's perishable. The flavor and texture are incomparable tho. And because it's not hydrogenated, it's much better for you (you know...on the grand scheme of eating pastry) than shortening or partially hydrogenated lard. If you have a local butcher near by, you can always ask for the leaf lard (fat from around the kidneys of a pig) that the butcher normally disposes of....you can probably get it fairly inexpensively ....and you can go home and render it yourself. But ya know...I live in a small town. We don't have any pig farms or butcher shops near by....all too fancy for us I suppose. So I ordered some already rendered from here. Will I pay $45 for 4 pounds of lard?? Just for pie crust? ABSOLUTELY.
Obsession with pie folks.....
Of course you can use lard for all kinds of things....anywhere you would use fats. It has a very high heat index so good for frying....just saying...
Now you need a filling....a dynamite filling....
Wilberry Pie Filling
16 oz bag frozen blackberries
12 oz bag fresh cranberries (or frozen if you can't find fresh....but fresh is better)
1 1/4 C granulated sugar
4 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp cinnamon
zest and juice of one lemon
1 pound fresh strawberries, sliced
Heavy whipping cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
Put your blackberries and cranberries in a medium saucepan over med-high heat. Add sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, lemon zest and juice. It will start out kinda dry but as it heats it will make some ooey goodness. Fret not. Heat, stirring occasionally till it starts to boil. Then continue to boil for about 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture into a dish. Stir in your sliced strawberries and let cool a bit. It will thicken.
Now.....pie ingredients! ASSEMBLE!
Preheat your oven to 400.
Get yourself a deep dish pie plate....yes, this is a deep disher....
Take one of your chilled dough disks from the fridge and place it on a floured surface. Roll out your crust, turning ever so often so you make sure it doesn't stick to your surface, till it's large enough to cover your pie plate. Pick the crust up with your rolling pin, lightly wrapping it around the pin, and move it to your plate. Then carefully unroll the crust over your plate and let it gently fall into the pie plate. Lift and gently press the dough into the plate till it's all settled in there. Trim off the excess crust from the sides to about 1 inch.
Roll out your second disk in the same manner. This time, cut strips for your lattice (or whatever fancy shape top you feel like making).
Fill your pie crust with your delicious berry concoction. Then lay strips in one direction over your filling. Next lay strips in the alternate direction. If you have left some good spacing in between your strips (which I like to do so you can see the berry goodness) you can leave your strips like this. It's what I like to call a faux lattice. If you have them close together, weave your strips in a basket pattern... a true lattice.
I just faked it for this pie. It's still pretty.
Crimp your edges in a pretty manner, pressing your top and bottom crust together. Brush the top of your pie with the heavy cream, using a pastry brush and grate some nutmeg over the top. If you add any little extra touches (like I added hearts), use the heavy cream and a kind of glue. Don't worry if you get messy with the cream either. It cooks off and you never knew it was there.
Place your pie plate on a cookie sheet....Perhaps one you've lined with foil.... and place it in the oven. Cook for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool a while before you slice into it. Even if you let it set for a while....It will still be warm enough to melt ice cream when you finally give in and
Now, I can't stress enough, the whole putting the pie on a cookie sheet thing. You see pie filling bubbles, and on frequent occasion, can run over the sides of your pie plate. Without the cookie sheet underneath the plate to catch all this loveliness you will end up with juicy sugary filling on the bottom of your oven....which will then burn....much like sugar likes to burn...and your fire alarm will go off...
This is just theoretical and has absolutely never ever happened to me.....
Oh yes....it holds a slice when it's cut, and slowly starts oozing all the pie goodness....And that crust...my holy heavens the crust....I could eat the crust alone.
You can in effect use all kinds of berries for this pie. Blueberries work well in place of blackberries, and raspberries make a nice substitute for the cranberries if you don't like tartness.
Anyways....if you have never tried a berry pie before because you too had been scarred like I, please give this a shot. It's to die for. Absolutely amazing. :)