Brooks loves black raspberries so much that every year for Christmas my grandmother makes a black raspberry pie only for Brooks. No one else is to touch it or even think of eating it. It is JUST FOR BROOKS. Where the hell is my pie, grandma?
One of my first baking adventures was pie making. I still feel strongly that apple pie is my favorite, but the black raspberry pie is like Girl Scout cookies. You just don’t get it often enough and it makes you love them even more. Perhaps it would not be as special if you had it all the time, but the cost of berries keeps most people from having it too often.
A good crust can make a pie taste even better. I struggled at first with making my crusts too thick. But now I have learned that a crust should compliment the pie in a smaller ratio. Pie crusts are so simple and now that I know how to make one, I never buy one for anything from pies to quiche. The recipe I use is from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. It is my staple cookbook for all things basic. Things that your mother or grandmother would make. This was the first cookbook that I was ever given and I have used it well enough that a second copy was bought to replace the paperback version I destroyed. Did you know putting a giant plastic baggie over cookbooks is quite helpful? You know, only if you are a slop like me!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening (Crisco)
6 to 8 tablespoons ice cold water
1. Stir together flour and salt.
Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. I like to fill my measuring cup with the Crisco and then spoon it out into the flour mixture. It seems easier to make into pea sized crumbles. Yes, you have to use Crisco.
2. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork.
Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time, until all the dough is moistened. The second photo above shows you at what point I divide the dough into half. It is all pretty much moistened, but you will have some to gather up at the bottom of the bowl.
3. Lightly flour your work surface.
4. If it is particularly warm in your kitchen or your hands are too warm, refrigerate the dough for a while, perhaps a half hour. It will roll easier and stick less this way. Put a small amount of flour on your hand and flour your rolling pin. Again, the dough will stick less.
I like to flatten the dough into a circle before I roll it out. It helps me maintain the circle shape I need better. Don’t flatten it too much by hand or you will likely make the dough too warm. I tend to make it about the size I can hold in my hand.
After rolling it out, determine the size you need by sitting the baking dish on top on the rolled out dough. That way you know if it is too small or way to big and thin.
The easiest way to get it onto the pie plate is by rolling it up onto your rolling pie and then rolling it back out over your pie plate.
Don’t worry if it isn’t a perfect fit. I tend to trim off the excess with kitchen scissors then throw the extra dough back into the bowl with the other ball of dough reserved for the top. You can also use the excess for filling little places where your dough didn’t quite reach the edge. Roll out the second crust as you did the first and reserve until filling is complete.
For my recipe, I used the previously mentioned black raspberries. They were fresh, so my ingredients (thickening and sweetening agents) will be different than if you are making a pie from frozen berries or from another type of fruit, such as peaches or apples.
Again, I use a recipe based upon one from my BHG cookbook.
Pie filling – Better Homes and Gardens
3/4 to 1 cup sugar ( I tend to use 3/4 cup due to the sweetness of the berries that I am using)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups berries
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel (I do not use this)
Mix the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Gently toss the berries, cup by cup, in the flour/ sugar mixture.
Place your second crust on top of the pie. Yes, again there will be over hang. I rarely trim this layer because I like to make an edge for the pie.
The real trick to a pretty crust is two things. First, brush the crust with a little milk and dust with sugar. Second, using thin strips (2-3 inch) of aluminum foil cover the edges of your crust to prevent the edges from getting to brown. You can also tear off a 12-inch square of foil, fold it in quarters and cut a quarter circle off the folded corner (about 2 inches from the tip). Unfold the foil and place it on the pie, slightly molding the foil over the edge. The feeling of cutting aluminum foil makes my tummy roll, so I just use the strips. You should slit any pie with a fruit filling so that the pie does not bubble all over your oven. Either that or prepare for a messy oven and pie plate.
I bake this particular pie at 375 for 25 minutes. Then I remove the foil and bake for another 25-30 minutes.