So hubby and I are strolling through Costco with our three younger boys in tow pushing through some heavy aisle traffic (of all days, we go on a Saturday, ugh) with our huge shopping cart when we pass by stacks of fruit pies, you know those humongous pies full of every ingredient we cannot and will not eat. My boys couldn’t stop ogling. You would think it was some hot babe who just walked by in short shorts.
Random thought here: what magic sales dust does Costco put in the air that makes you buy twenty items when you just came in for three?
Anyway … my heart sunk big-time when I saw the look on their faces how they wish they can eat it like everyone else. I hate that.
My kids love pie. Who the heck doesn’t love pie?
Remember the Oatmeal Black Bottom Pie I made for us on Pi day? Adapted from Smitten Kitchen? That was from Four & Twenty Blackbirds Bakery in Brooklyn, NY. I have never been there but heard SO much, which compelled me to get their pie book (with a brave mindset) ready to adapt all their pies because well, you know, none are gluten and dairy free, or soy free. A challenge to take on for the kid’s sake. Okay, for my sake too. Are you kidding? I love pie.
So that’s when I decided it was time for the Elsen sisters arsenal a.k.a pie book in my kitchen to make some kick ass pie. Amazon took care of that pronto.
Flipping through the book I could barely contain my drool, then came across their “Black & Blueberry Upside Down Pie” … the pie angels were singing “pick me, pick me”. It was love at first sight.
Even if you are not much of a pie baker I encourage you to start with this Blackberry Pie … I wish you can taste this right now because I know you will go bonkers. Big time.
My oh my. Adapting recipes are fun when you have results like this.
Now I don’t just casually pull out my rolling pin and make pies every day as if it’s second nature. Ha! As if.
Pies take time and require planning but worth the effort (weekend baking!). I like to prepare dough for two pies at once and freeze the other, it cuts the time in half with the next pie. A neat trick I learned from Martha.
After devouring this thing, I was already thinking about a few more (I do tend to do that often) … cinnamon apricot pie with vanilla pouring cream … peaches and cream pie … strawberry balsamic pie … oh my gosh, I want them all.
I cannot wait to make these for you soon. Though we don’t have the convenience of picking up a pie from a bakery or a store like Costco, it secretly makes me happy. Don’t tell my kids that. It irks me to read the ingredient labels of these things. All the stuff they put in there to make it look pretty for three weeks on the shelf. UGH.
I used a pasta roller from my late grandmother to create the lattice, but a steady hand and a knife would work fine too.
And don’t worry about your pie shell breaking when you transfer it from your board (it happens to me all the time) just take scrap pieces and stick them together until all areas are sealed, we don’t want the fruit to seep through any cracks (makes a soggy crust). Use remaining dough scraps to roll out into a long thin tube and press it into the pie crust edge, then crimp as you like to make it look all pretty.
Ha! No one noticed my amateur lattice work …
Right out of the oven, mmmm….wish I could give you a slice right now.
I should also tell you if you were wondering, it isn’t overly sweet and lends a nice amount of tartness (I purposely didn’t add extra sugar to keep it slightly tart, you can if you prefer) to the pie which I find compliments the “buttery” crust.
You will have a hard time believing this is gluten and dairy free, and vegan if you choose to use my vegan wash. The pie book recipe uses Angostura bitters (2 dashes to be exact), I left it out since I didn’t have it on hand. Consensus: it was beyond delicious without it. If you happen to have it, great, but no need to make a special purchase.
I can’t think of a better summertime dessert than this Blackberry Pie now that summer has unofficially kicked off and the white pants have come out. And without any guilt since it’s made with tons of fresh seasonal berries full of anti-oxidants and fiber, so carry on and eat pie.
Who needs Costco pie anyway when we have this?
- Crust Recipe:
- Note: see my apple pie post for crust preparation
- 1 package Bob’s Red Mill Pie Crust
- 8 tablespoons (4 oz) organic palm shortening, cut up into pieces
- 12 tablespoons (6 oz) earth balance soy free spread, cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 7 tablespoons ice water (I leave more like ½ cup in a measuring cup with an ice cube, for easy measuring at the counter)
- Note: This will make two pie crusts (one 14½ oz and the other 14¾ oz), save the lighter weight for the lattice or cover of the pie *if you do not have a scale: divide in half then take about a tangerine sized piece and combine it with the other dough, to be used for the bottom crust
- 1 teaspoon Earth Balance OR Palm Shortening for greasing pie dish
- Blackberry Filling:
- 1 small granny smith apple
- 5 cups blackberries (about 24 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup raw sugar plus 1 tablespoon
- ¼ cup light brown sugar (or another 2
tablespoonif you prefer less tart)
- 3 tablespoons arrowroot or tapioca starch
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Egg wash: 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water
- Vegan wash: 3 tablespoons dairy free milk with 1 melted teaspoon
non dairybutter, like Earth Balance
- Demerara sugar, for finishing
- For the crust:
- Prepare crust, reserving slightly more than ⅓ of the dough for the lattice top. Roll out to about ⅛-1/4 inch thick. Transfer the larger crust onto the greased pie dish (I use a 9-inch deep pie dish). Seal up any broken pieces using whatever fell off the crust, making sure there aren’t any holes for filling to seep into.
- Note: Do not worry about taking too long to fix up patches. The dough will not get tough because there is no gluten in here so fix away as long as you need, we will still have a flaky crust!
- Refrigerate pie shell until ready to bake.
- Meanwhile, roll out the other piece of dough to a ¼-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch strips. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes if you find it to be too soft to hold its shape when transferring to your pie shell.
- Note: Rather than turning it upside down (which they do as pictured in the pie book and slathered with vanilla ice cream, I just didn’t have the heart to) I created my first-ever lattice cover for the pie. Not difficult at all, just a good eye and a steady hand is needed, and maybe a pasta roller but you can simply use a knife to cut even widths. If I can do it so can you. Martha Stewart may not approve of my short-cut version, but none the wiser. It came out beautiful and if you didn’t look closely you would never notice the strips don’t overlap — trying to intertwine gluten free, dairy free dough without gums is frustrating. Let’s have fun with this!
- For the filling:
- Peel and grate the apple using the large holes on the grater. Combine with the blackberries, lemon juice, raw sugar, light brown sugar, spices, and salt. Stir until well mixed. Pour the filling into the chilled pie shell. Arrange the lattice then roll out remaining dough into thin log-style molds and crimp along edges. Pinch all around decoratively. I push out slightly and pinch, anything goes really, just make sure to crimp and seal the edges.
- Chill the pie for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, position your oven rack to the bottom position, then place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack and preheat the oven temperature to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).
- Generously brush the pie with the egg or vegan wash. Sprinkle with the desired amount of demerara sugar (I used about 3 tablespoons).
- Note: the Elsen sisters say to be careful not to drag the filling onto the pastry because it will burn. When “washing” the lattice I tapped it rather than dragging my pastry brush across. For the edges I dragged my brush in brushstroke movement.
- Place the pie on the preheated rimmed baking sheet. Bake pie for 20-25 minutes (as directed in the cookbook, I did so for 22 minutes), until pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees F (191 degrees C), and continue to bake 30-35 minutes until the pie is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling throughout (mine was perfect at 32 minutes). Total baking time: 54 minutes.
- Note: the four & twenty blackbirds pie book states to move the pie to the center oven rack to continue baking. I forgot to do that and just reduced the heat, it still came out perfect despite my imperfect following through. Whew.
- Remove pie from the baking dish and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack, at least 2 hours. If I’m not cooking anything on one of my gas burners I let it cool right on the stove top.
- Note: The reason for the long cooling time is to thicken the fruit filling. If you cut into it while it’s still very warm it will be very watery and hard to serve. Serve slightly warm or room temperature. The pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days (ha! I would like to see this last 3 days) or room temperature for 2 days.
- For freezing: Par-bake the pie crust (20 minutes) then cool completely, fill with fruit filling, tightly plastic wrap a few times and freeze up to a month. Wrap or place the lattice dough in a freezer-safe plastic container separately. When ready to bake, thaw pie & lattice dough in the refrigerator for few hours then roll out and decorate with lattice strips, brush on wash, sprinkle sugar generously and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a deep golden brown.
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