Saturday, February 12, 2011

Year of the Pie #2: Blackberry Silk Pie

When the bag of frozen blackberries fell out of the freezer while putting away groceries the other week, I decided it was time for another pie. This year was a banner year for blackberries; between the bushes on one of my daily walks, and a friend's over-laden driveway, I was able to make at least 1 pie, 4 jars of jam (I'm halfway through them) and freeze at least 4-5 quarts of berries for later. Now it's later, and time to start using the berries; definitely wouldn't want them to sit in the freezer through the whole winter!

The book lists 12 pie recipes that feature or include blackberries. I liked this recipe because it specifically listed frozen berries. I am trying to stay true to each recipe, and given that I have frozen berries on hand (fresh ones are hard to get this time of the year, and kind of expensive at the grocery here on the island), this recipe was the best fit. It also didn't call for very many ingredients, or anything out of the ordinary. I did need to get heavy and light cream, though next time I might do one or the other. Some of the leftover cream did become whipped cream to serve with the pie. Whip cream, like vanilla ice cream, is an essential garnish option for any pie.
just seven ingredients!
As with the Osgood pie, the crust had to be partially pre-baked. Most of the recipes in this book that start with a liquidy-filling have pre-baked crust. With growing experience, my only criticism of this is that the crust seems to shrink a little in the pre-baking process. It wasn't an issue with the previous pie, but with this one, it shrank enough that I had about a cup of leftover filling (which I froze. . . for later). I'll have to figure out how to get around that. I meant to include whole wheat flour in this crust (the crust for this pie even recommended trying it), but I realized after the fact that I didn't have any whole wheat flour in the house. Next time.

The filling was pretty simple. The berries and a little sugar were pureed in the food processor before being "forced" through a sieve (I used a colander) to get rid of the seeds (most of them). This process was actually a bit time consuming, and I really didn't get all the seeds out. Luckily most of the sneaky little buggers that made it through the sieve sank to the bottom during the mixing process because they were heavier than the filling. Thank you Laws of Physics :)
forcing the puree. watch out for the sneaky seeds.
The remaining sugar, a bit of cornstarch and the eggs were combined, then the light and heavy cream, vanilla, and one cup of the puree were added whisked smooth. There was just shy of a cup of puree left, so next time I might use fewer berries. The recipe suggests using the leftover puree on pancakes or crepes - sounds good to me!

extra puree & pie filling
The crust had to cool after prebaking; impatience got the better of me, and I figured that cool to the touch was close enough. I filled the crust, and into the oven it went for about an hour.

good luck, bake well!
When it came out of the oven the consistency/behavior (well behaved, of course) reminded me of pumpkin pie. It was supposed to seem "a little jiggly" - and jiggle it did.
a little jiggly, but looking and smelling done!
It needed to sit until it reached room temp before going into the fridge for a couple of hours. As it cooled, it firmed up. I put it in the fridge before it reached room temp, so it took a bit longer in the fridge to really firm up. I guess I really wasn't sure how "jiggly" the author meant - jiggly is something that can be interpreted in about one hundred different ways.

When I finally cut into it, the center was still a bit "soft" (you can see it in the photo below), despite being described as having a smooth texture. I think it could have baked for about 10 more minutes to achieve that type of texture. Or maybe it actually should have come to room temp before going in the fridge. Regardless, the pie was delicious, and did have the consistency similar to pumpkin pie (or it would have been if I'd baked it long enough). The taste was light and not too sweet - it would be perfect in the summer. The whip cream was a perfect complement to the lovely lavender color, and the crust was the ideal flakiness.

I think we will deem this another success! I'm fairly certain any berry could work for this pie - raspberry, blueberry, huckleberry could all be fine candidates. Perhaps we'll experiment with some fresh berries of other flavors this summer!


  1. Just out of curiosity, what book is that? The layout and content looks suspiciously like the bread book I have. And that pie looks delicious, if not what I'd expect from a berry pie.

  2. Wow. Looks fabulous. I too have frozen blackberries. Hmmm. On custard pies, Cooks Illustrated says "Baked custards, such as flan and crème brûlée, should jiggle (but not slosh) when gently shaken. This will occur between 170 to 175 degrees." I understand that they will keep baking (cary over) after removed from the oven, which is why you only bake them to jiggly stage. A good use for an instant read thermometer. But no matter what, it tastes great!

  3. I have tons of blackberries in the freezer, thank you for the recipe suggestion! I will definitely give it a try, and let you know how it goes! Looks delicious...

  4. I'll bet your family would love to try some of your pies the next time you are back in Vermont.
    Maybe there could be a pie baking day in March or early April.....

  5. Kyle - it's Pie, by Ken Haedrich

    Jen - thanks for the tip, I'll leave it in a bit longer next time.

    Nina - let me know if you want the recipe!

    Mom - we can most definitely make a pie when you come visit next :)