We all have seasonal rites and markers. For some it’s the school year, for others, the garden cycle. While I appreciate and participate in both of those rites, I must admit, deep down, my favorite seasonal marker is pie. And summer is the best time for pie.
No matter where you live, it’s the time for the produce—and make no mistake, the old axiom of “the fresher the better” is true when it comes to fruit that fills pie. Whether it’s the summer’s ripest peaches, or its juiciest berries, choosing local, organic fruit for pie will yield the best flavor.
My favorite summer pie? No question. It’s blackberry.
Nothing is quite so satisfying as picking your own berries. Perhaps it’s the knowing where the food came from and taking part in this ancient practice of foraging. For me, it dredges up the sweetest memories of growing up in the country during long rambling summer days, which is forever burned in my mind along with my mother’s oven opening to display summer’s most delicious treat—blackberry pie.
If you don’t have access to fresh blackberries and must use frozen berries, it’s best to measure them while still frozen because they shrivel as they thaw. Thaw and drain the frozen berries before placing them in the pie shell. Otherwise, the pie will be watery. Use cornstarch or potato starch, which gives a clear, jewel-like color and has less flavor than cornstarch.
Mollie's Blackberry Pie
(Makes one 9-inch pie)
One pie crust, prebaked
4 1/2 cups blackberries
3 tablespoons cornstarch or potato starch
1 cup sugar
In a small saucepan, mash one cup of berries with a fork.
Cook over medium heat until the berries begin to break down and give off juice.
Mix 3 tablespoons of potato starch or cornstarch with 1 cup sugar.
Add to the berry mixture and cook until thick and bubbling.
Sugar will be dissolved, mixture will coat a spoon and a finger run along the spoon will leave clean edges.
Cool to lukewarm.
Place the remaining berries into the baked pie shell.
Pour the mixture over the berries and stir around gently to distribute evenly.
Chill for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
Serve with whipped cream.
Mollie has graciously consented to send one lucky winner a copy of her cookbook. Just post a comment and I'll select one randomly. That's as easy as...pie!
Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies (Ten Speed Press, 2009) A sweet collection over 60 pie recipes, and Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant Cookbook: A Lifetime of Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley (Ten Speed Press, 2006)