September 14, 2011

Apple-Blackberry Pie

Recently I picked up some blackberries at the local farmer's market.  I intended to make a peach and blackberry pie, but none of the peaches at the local groceries were ripe enough to make for a good pie (they were all too hard, and would need a few days to ripen and soften).  That being the case, I instead used apples.  The Granny Smith apples in the grocery looked good, and I knew they are good for baking, so that's what I went with.

I didn't have a specific recipe for a pie using both apples and blackberries, so I had to extrapolate from what I did have, then wing it.  I knew the juicy blackberries would release a lot of liquid, which meant I'd need to add a fair amount of thickener in order for the filling to set at all.  I wasn't sure exactly how much, though.  I went with two tablespoons of ground instant tapioca, but that didn't turn out to be quite enough.  My first pie was delicious, but the filling hadn't set as much as I'd liked, which made it difficult to cut a piece that retained any shape.   Thankfully, I had enough blackberries for two pies, so I made a second one, this time using 3 tablespoons of the tapioca.   That did the trick. 

Juli and I ate some from the first pie, and I took the rest to work to share with my coworkers.  Juli brought the other one to a church function, where it was very well-received.   I learned that apples and blackberries together made for a really nice, flavorful pie.  I'm sure I'll be using that combination again.

Apple-Blackberry Pie

yield = 1 pie

3                     cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2                     tablespoons + 1 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated
1                     teaspoon + 1 pinch table salt
7                     teaspoons vegetable shortening, chilled
10                   tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch slices
                         and frozen
10                   tablespoons ice water
6                     cups peeled, sliced Granny Smith apples
1 1/2               cups fresh blackberries
1                     tablespoon lemon juice
3/4                  teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8                  teaspoon freshly-ground nutmeg
3                     tablespoons instant tapioca, ground fine
1                     egg yolk

Add flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon salt to a food processor.  Pulse to combine.  Add shortening and process until the mixture has a texture like coarse sand.  Add butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, with some small (pea-size) bits of butter.  Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Sprinkle five tablespoons of ice water over the mixture, then use a rubber spatula to fold the water into the flour mixture.  Sprinkle with the remaining water and continue folding to combine until the dough starts to hold together when pressed (add a bit more ice water, one tablespoon at a time, if necessary).  The dough will still be quite moist.  Turn the dough onto a clean, dry work surface.  Gather it together into a ball, then divide it into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other.  Flatten each piece into a thick disc, wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours. 

Remove the smaller piece of dough from the refrigerator.  Roll the smaller dough piece on a lightly-floured work surface.  Transfer to a pie plate that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Working around the circumference of the plate, ease the dough into the plate, leaving a bit of overhang.  Refrigerate the dough-lined plate for about 30 minutes.

Roll out the larger piece of dough and cut into 1-inch strips using a fluted pastry wheel or pizza cutter and a straight edge.  Arrange dough strips on a cookie sheet and refrigerate.  Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position.  Place a cookie sheet on the oven rack and preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

Toss apple slices, blackberries, lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, a pinch of salt and the ground tapioca.  Spoon apple mixture into the dough-lined plate, using a spatula to spread it to the edges of the pie plate and leaving a bit more filling mounded in the center. 

Lay the dough strips atop the filling, weaving them over/under to make a lattice.  Trim off overhanging dough strips, fold the overhanging dough over the strips and crimp to seal.

Beat the egg yolk with one tablespoon of water.  Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl, stirring to mix.  Brush the lattice top and edge of the pie with the egg mixture, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. 

Place the assembled pie on the preheated baking sheet and bake until the crust has started to brown (about 25 minutes).  Rotate pie, reduce oven temperature to 275 degrees and continue to bake until the crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is bubbly (about 30-35 minutes longer).  Cool on a wire rack 2 hours before serving. 

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