Blackberry (Pie) Eating in the Month of September

I’ve been craving pie for a couple weeks now. It all started because I had a dinner party gig in Woodstock for which I baked a couple of peach pies. This week, I finally decided to do something about it. And I even remembered that I had lard in my freezer that my friend Nicole Taylor had bartered with me. I’ve never made a lard pie crust before, so I was super excited to experiment. Let me tell you — I’ll never go back to just all-butter crusts again. Now, butter crusts are delicious, which is why I went about searching for a lard and butter pie crust recipe. The butter imparts flavor (and gives the crust its flakiness), but the lard bestows upon it divinely tender texture. Truly a match made in heaven.


The pies that started it all.

As for the berries… I’ve hardly eaten any berries at all this summer. I don’t know what I’ve been doing, wasting precious summer months without eating berries! And September is generally peak blackberry season, so I went forth to the Union Square Greenmarket in search of blackberries. Phillips Farms did not disappoint me. And so, armed with ripe blackberries and lard, and a couple of solid recipes, I made a pie celebrating the tail end of summer.

A few notes. I made a lattice-topped pie, as you’ll see in the photo, but I think that I ought to have made it a tighter weave or a solid-topped pie to hold the pie together a little better. The recipe as written below is for a solid top, but I’ve also included a link to lattice-top instructions at the end. There was an advantage to the loosely-woven lattice top, however. I didn’t add the optional sugar to the pie before baking it (I always err on the side of less sweet). And, in fact, the pie was a bit too tart even for me. So, the next day, I sprinkled about 3 tablespoons of sugar over the whole thing and put it back in the oven for about 20 minutes, and it was perfect.


Mmm… pie… (the lard is in that half-pint container)

Blackberry Pie with Lard-and-Butter Pie Crust

makes one 10-inch pie

(adapted from Leite’s Culinaria)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
13 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 tablespoons cold lard
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

  1. Mix flour and salt in food processor fitted with a metal blade.
  2. Cut in butter cubes with five 1-second pulses. Add cold lard and continue cutting in until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal with butter bits no bigger than small peas, about 4 additional 1-second pulses. Turn mixture out into a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over mixture. With a fork, fluff to mix thoroughly. Squeeze a handful of dough — if it doesn’t stick together, add remaining water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
  4. Divide dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other then flatten into 6-inch discs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.

(adapted from

4 cups blackberries
3/4 cup honey (blackberry honey if you can find it)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
3 tablespoons instant tapioca
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional – 1/4 cup super fine sugar, or to your taste
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and drain the berries.
  2. In a large bowl: add the berries, honey, lemon or lime juice, tapioca, and salt. Taste test before adding optional superfine sugar. Stir the mixture and let sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  3. Line a 10 inch pie dish with a rolled out bottom layer of pie crust. Fill with the blackberry mixture and dot with butter.
  4. Roll out the remaining pastry crust and cover the top of the pie. Seal and crimp the edges together. Brush with milk or cream. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Cut a few slits, with a sharp knife, to create steam vents.
  5. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbling.

I recommend covering a baking sheet with foil and baking the pie on top of that — your oven will thank you.

Here’s an instructional video from Saveur magazine on how to weave a proper lattice top.

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