Since it's such a great time of year for pies, I thought I would share my recipe for Blackberry pie!
First off, the crust. There are two types of crust - flaky and mealy. Mealy crust are used for single crust pies, such as pumpkin pie to prevent a soggy crust. Most other pies, usually with top and bottom crust, require a flaky crust.
Here is my recipe:
2 cups flour
1 cup shortening
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1/2 cup ice cold water
Measure water, then add a few ice cubes. Set aside. Stir together flour and optional sugar, then cut the shortening in. Make sure that you leave the shortening in large pieces, about the size of raisins. This is what makes a flaky crust!
Drizzle the water over the mixture and gently stir - don't over mix or your crust will be tough. Stir just enough for the water to moisten the flour. I usually use my hands to press it together so I don't over mix. Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill. (The disc can also be placed in a freezer bag and frozen for a couple months. Just place in the fridge the night before to thaw). When ready to use, remove from fridge, cut in half. Return one portion to fridge while you are rolling out the first. Gently form into a round, then lightly dust with flour, but don't overdo or crust will be tough. Gently roll until dough is about 1 inch larger than pie plate. Place crust into a greased pie plate (9 inch). Make sure all excess flour is brushed off. Don't stretch the crust, or it will shrink during baking. Add desired filling. Follow same procedure for rolling out the second piece. Lay over pie, then roll all the excess under and shape to form an even crust. Shape as desired. I cut a few slits in the top to allow the steam to escape so the crust doesn't become soggy.
I like the little touch of sugar, because it makes the crust brown a bit better. If you are using it for a savory pie, such as chicken pot pie, I would omit it. You can also use an egg wash over the top ( 1 egg yolk and a few tablespoons of milk) to make the top glossy. Just brush it on sparingly, so you don't end up with lumps of scrambled eggs.
To make a mealy crust, simply cut recipe in half and work the shortening into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, then continue as above.
For the filling, I use 5-6 cups of berries, depending on how full you like your pies.
5 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup sugar (Use less for sweet berries, more for tart ones)
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
I recipe pie crust
Gently stir together all ingredients. Allow to sit for a few minutes for the berries to release some of their juices, then stir again. All the sugar and flour should be moist.
Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until crust is lightly golden and fruit filling is bubbling.
Enjoy! (sorry for the lack of pictures, I'm having a few computer issues!)