Ahhhh, freshly picked blackberries…what’s not to love? Free, juicy bites of sun-ripened perfection. Sure, the cuts and scrapes can be a real pain, but I can take it. I love scouring my neighbourhood for the best berries and earlier this week, I hit the motherload. Usually, blackberry season in Vancouver would be nearing it’s end by now, but because of all the + rain/- sun combo we’ve had this summer, prime picking season is just beginning. Want to read more of my blackberry endeavours? Check out the Food Network Canada Blog, Food for Thought, for my new post on blackberry picking and say hello! Also head on over to Kitchen Parade, where Cornelius and I helped to re-design and develop a new “kitchen” for Alanna.
When I got those berries home, I had only one thing on my mind. Pie. I’ve always had a struggle with baking pie from scratch. Sure, filling a pie is easy, but making crust? That had always been my downfall. The pastry was either rock hard or it shrunk too much. I never got a handle on the tender, flakey crust of my dreams. Until now. This time I pulled out the big guns and used Martha’s recipe for Cornmeal Pate Brisee and adapted her recipe for Apricot-Blackberry Galette from her Baking Handbook. I’m not sure if it was the addition of cornmeal to the pastry or if it was after years of failure that I somehow discovered the perfect touch. I’d like to think it was the latter. This rustic looking pie was amazing! Along with the blackberries, I chopped up a couple of ripe BC-grown peaches along with a bit of orange zest and voila…pie perfection!
cornmeal pate brisee
2 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 c unsalted butter, frozen cut into small pieces
1/4 – 1/2 c ice water
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt and sugar. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles oatmeal. Slowly sprinkle in the ice water, a little at a time and use your hands to mix the dough until it holds together.
2. Divide the dough in half and place each lump on a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten to form a disc and then wrap tightly and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day before using.
flour for dusting
1/2 recipe for Cornmeal Pate Brisee
2 c blackberries
2 peaches, cut into slices
1/2 c white sugar
2 T cornstarch
zest of 1 orange
1 egg, lightly beaten
white sugar for sprinkling
1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 14 inch round, about 1/8 inch thick. Transfer dough to a silpat covered baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a large bowl, toss together blackberries, peaches, sugar, cornstarch and zest. Arrange fruit mixture on top of the dough, leaving a 2 inch border around the edge. Fold border over fruit mixture, overlapping and pressing gently to adhere the folds.
3. Brush pastry edges with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling, about 40 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.