CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last week a dear friend brought me a lovely, seasonal treat -- blackberries laboriously picked by her husband. It takes a lot of fortitude to harvest blackberries, whose branches are thorny and tend to mingle with poison ivy and to harbor snakes, so I wanted to do something especially delicious with the juicy, fresh berries.
First, I took the relatively safe and easy baking route and made a buttery cobbler.
Everyone at my house was lobbying for blackberry pie, but I don't bake many pies, and I hated the thought of wasting the precious berries in a runny filling encased in a unlovely piecrust. I searched for recipes and discovered a promising one on the website dianasdesserts.com, a site dedicated to home bakers.
Just last week, my mother-in-law, an excellent piecrust maker, told me how she spent an entire afternoon wrestling with piecrust she made from the same recipe she's used for years. After the third try, she realized that the expiration date on her flour had passed. It's the only explanation she could find for the frustrating failure.
With that story echoing in my mind, I slunk off to the grocery store and surreptitiously slid a box of refrigerated pie dough into my cart. Shameful, I know, but it would be dishonest to claim that I made the crust and it was wonderful. Besides, someone might have seen me at the store.
I'm including the piecrust recipe for the more confident bakers out there.
Diana seems to know her stuff because the filling was fantastic. The berries remained firm and juicy, but the pie slices retained their wedge shape when I cut them. With this kind of success, I might be inspired to try another pie, and maybe even piecrust.
But you know that refrigerated stuff isn't half bad.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.
Lattice-topped Blackberry Pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
6 cups blackberries, about 1 3/4 pounds
1 to 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch