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.
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.
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
- Mix flour and salt in food processor fitted with a metal blade.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 Food52.com)
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
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and drain the berries.
- 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.
- Line a 10 inch pie dish with a rolled out bottom layer of pie crust. Fill with the blackberry mixture and dot with butter.
- 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.
- 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.