Remember a couple weeks ago I said that I knew how to make a flaky, delicious pie crust? This is me proving it. The story goes that my parents spent their first year of marriage eating the two things they knew how to make well: steak and pie. As I was born just two days before their first anniversary, my mom spent a large part of that first year pregnant, so eating just steak and pie is entirely feasible. Pie figured heavily in my childhood–we didn’t have birthdays, we had Pie Days. One thing was always the case: pies were always, entirely, made from scratch.
This is the pie crust I grew up watching my dad effortlessly roll out. It always looked so easy, the way he cut the butter into the flour, then ultimately draped the sheet of dough over the pie dish. I remember the first time I was pressed into doing it myself and it was HARD. Using a pastry blender on a cold stick of butter is all but impossible. And good luck even getting to the point where there’s a smooth sheet to drape.
I eventually got the hang of making crust and then moved on to the endless types of pie fillings. The recipe, named for my great-aunt, is a little different as it includes egg and vinegar. Over the years I’ve made a few changes, namely subbing whole wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour and changing how I handle the butter. The original recipe calls for half butter and half vegetable shortening, but I now use two-thirds butter and one-third vegetable shortening. I never got the hang of cutting in the butter so I do something altogether different now: I grate it. Yep, you read that right. By grating the cold butter on a large-holed grater the butter starts basically the size you want it to end up, so once you give it a couple stirs, you’re good to go. You save A LOT of time and effort this way.
The blackberries I used for this blackberry pie came straight from my grandma’s house. She grows apples and picks the berries growing on her property, so I end up with copious of amounts of peeled, sliced apples, homemade applesauce, and blackberries in the freezer. Poor me, right? We eat A LOT of apple crisp in this house and the boys don’t even know what applesauce that comes from the store looks like. It’s almost time to start filling back up, so I need to use everything from last year so there’s room in the freezer.
And with that, here are my family’s pie crust and blackberry pie filling recipes.
Since there are two recipes and the pie dough recipe is long on instructions, I didn’t want to take up all that space with both full recipes. If you would like the full version of either recipe, just click the recipe above and you’ll be taken to a download page. I ask that recipes are for hobby room readers, so sign-up before you download if you please.
I know you’ll have extra pie crust pieces, that’s unavoidable. But if you also have extra pie filling, make a mini sample blackberry pie or two in ramekins. They take half the time to bake and then you can have a taste while you wait for the pie to cool enough to serve. They are a favorite of my kids because then they get the whole mini blackberry pie to themselves. With extra whipped cream, of course.
What is your family’s food legacy? Do you have any special recipes that everyone in your family uses?