When one of my DNA matches and I got to talking about family, she happened to mention that her grandma, Catherine Blubaugh (my 2nd cousin) made such great blackberry pie that she won her husband, William Goode, that way. I asked the DNA buddy if she could find a recipe, and she is trying to find it. But when I saw big luscious blackberries in the market, I knew I couldn’t wait.
Blackberry pie, close up.
There’s still a chance she’ll come up with the recipe and we can compare it to this one. I do know that great grandma used lard in the pie crust, and I didn’t–but she also made a chocolate cake, so maybe we’ll get that recipe.
Of course, it was more fun in grandma’s day because you would have that expedition into the countryside where you filled a bucket with blueberries, getting scratched in the process, eating berries as you went, and getting berry stains all over you. However, there are many other benefits to eating blackberries.
Catherine Blubaugh (Goode)
Seeing Catherine Blubaugh’s picture, I suspect it was more than just a pie that won her husband!
Like all my pies, this one starts with thePerfect Pie Crust. If you haven’t tried this fool-proof recipe that calls for a bit of vinegar, maybe it is time. As for me, I thought it was about time that I bake a pie with a lattice crust. So I did. It certainly is not picture perfect, but it has the advantage of looking home-made. You’d certainly never mistake this for a bakery pie, now would you?
Before baking. Blackberry pie with lattice top
The Perfect Pie Crust dough is very forgiving, which makes it easy to handle for a lattice crust. I cut the strips with a pizza cutter and after building up a higher than usual edge, started weaving the strips on the pie.
One other thing I want to show you is a recent acquisition. You know how the edges of the pie tend to get too brown, because they stick up higher than the rest? For decades, I have folded two strips of aluminum foil and awkwardly tucked them around the edges of the pie to protect it. Of course, when I pulled the rack out to check the pie, the hot aluminum foil fell off and it was a pain to try to get it back.
Recently I broke down and bought ONE MORE THING for my baking cupboard–a silicone edge protector. How I wish I had one of these years and years ago. It is adjustable to fit all sizes of pie pans, and being silicone, will take the high heat you sometimes use to bake a pie shell.
Pie baked with edge protector.
Next time you see nice blackberries in the store, consider this pie. Even if you don’t need to win a husband. Not in the mood for pie? How about blackberry liqueur?
Roll out half of pie crust and line pie pan, forming a generous rim. Put in refrigerator
Mix sugar and tapioca, pour over berries along with lemon juice and mix gently. Let sit 15 minutes.
Put filling into pie shell and dot with butter.
Roll out 2nd half of pie crust into circle the size of the top of pie pan plus one inch.
Cut the circle of pie crust into 3/4 inch strips. Fasten one end of the strip along one half of the bottom crust. Fold back every other strip. Lay one strip perpendicular to the first strips, folding down the strips that are folded back. Fold back the strips that are now under the first perpendicular strip. Continue in this fashion to weave the top. Pinch the edges securely.
Brush top with egg yolk or milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Protect edges with aluminum foil or a silicone edge protector. Place pan on a cookie sheet to protect oven from drips. Bake at 400 degrees10 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 and bake until crust nicely browned and berries are bubbling.
This recipe will work with any berries. You may have to adjust the sugar, depending on the sweetness, and be sure you have a generous amount of berries if you use a large pie pan I made this in a 9" pan.
I’m trying to think of an excuse to publish these go-together recipes for Strawberry Bread and Strawberry Butter. It is not a vintage recipe. It is not something I’ve cooked for years as a family favorite, (although this strawberry bread became an instant favorite as soon as we tasted it.) Strawberry bread is not an ethnic recipe brought to America by my ancestors. I have no excuse. Except that it is delicious. And I think you need a break from German sausage every once in a while.
I must warn you that in baking you cannot substitute Willy-nilly. The first time I baked strawberry bread (from a different recipe) it was a disaster. I had made a substitution that did not work.
I don’t usually feel confident messing around with recipes for baking. As I pondered all the little complexities of the chemical reactions and effects of heat, etc., I couldn’t help but think about those great-great grandmothers who were cooking on a wood-fire either in a fireplace or in a stove. Here I have a thermostat and an oven that tells me when it has reached the exact temperature I want and a recipe that specifies baking times, and I STILL get things over or under cooked sometimes. How in the world did they do it?
However, in this case, that first strawberry bread was such a disaster, that I decided I could do it better myself. I read a few other recipes, thought about what was making things happen, and came up with this recipe. I’m happy to say it was a smashing success.
My husband had begged me not to use any more of those beautiful strawberries on that awful stuff, and after I ignored him and made the second version, he promptly ate 3 slices. Two days later he was offering to buy more strawberries so I could make more strawberry bread.
The strawberry butter was an afterthought, but as I bit into it, I’m thinking how delicious it would be on biscuits, scones, muffins and anything at all in the bread category. Along with the strawberry bread, strawberry butter is a definite winner. Have you ever tried molasses butter?
Lightly grease 9 x 5 pan, cut parchment paper to fit length of pan, but extend above sides. This will make removing the bread easy.
Dice strawberries with knife; put in strainer over bowl to catch juices. After draining, mix the strawberries with 2 Tablespoons flour. (Use juice to flavor milk or iced tea, or add to a liter of water for spa water.)
In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In medium bowl, beat eggs until light, add sugar and beat until light. Add oil, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat until blended.
Slowly pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until completely blended, but do not over mix.
Gently blend strawberries into batter.
Pour batter into prepared pan. (You can sprinkle Turbinado sugar on top for sparkle. I did not want the extra sweetness.)
Bake for 30 minutes. Cover top with tented foil and bake another 25-35 minutes. It is done when a toothpick inserted in top comes out clean. Better to overbake slightly than to underbake. If the strawberries are very ripe, this bread will not dry out easily.
Let cool in pan 15 minutes. Turn out on rack to cool completely before slicing, or wrapping tightly for storage. Serve plain, with plain butter or cream cheese, or with strawberry butter (See recipe.)
Bring butter to room temperature.
Chop strawberries very fine and drain.
Mix strawberries, butter, and honey. spread while soft. Keep any leftovers in refrigerator, and soften and mix before spreading after chilling.6
Notice that the recipe uses Baking SODA, not Baking POWDER. Baking Soda always pairs with buttermilk.I use powdered (instant) buttermilk. If you want the convenience of powdered buttermilk, follow the directions on the box/can for amounts and mix the powder with the dry ingredients and the water with the liquid ingredients.You may want to vary the amount of sugar depending on how sweet your strawberries are.Do cut the strawberries with a knife and not in a food processor, which will make them too mushy.
Can she bake a cherry pie? Finally, I can answer yes. After all, I started baking and cooking when I was a young girl, so after 70 years in the kitchen, you’d think I’d learn something. It took a combination of lessons to make this winning pie.
For many years, a cherry pie–the kind my mother always made to celebrate Washington’s birthday– meant opening a can of cherry pie filling and dumping it into a pie pan lined with pastry, then covering it with another layer of pastry. I’m sure my grandmother and her mother and grandmother made use of the red sour cherries that grew in profusion in Holmes County, Ohio, but mother was a working woman and although she always made her pie crust from scratch, she took the modern canned short cut for the filling.
I hasten to say that I don’t usually brag on myself, as “it ain’t fittin’.” But my latest version of fresh cherry pie from scratch definitely qualifies as the perfect pie.
Cherry pie with streusel
Although I was the only one in the kitchen, I definitely did not do it all by myself–as you will see.
The Pie Crust
Of course, I use the “Perfect Pie Crust”Recipe. This post explains how many people helped me (some posthumously) to make a pie crust for the cherry pie. My Grandmother and Grandfather Anderson, my mother, and my brother’s mother-in-law all played a part.
Then, from somewhere, probably the King Arthur Flour website, I learned that putting a single crust in the refrigerator before filling and baking will help prevent shrinkage. I hesitate to tell you how many single crusts I have tossed because they wound up only covering part of the pan.
From the Mennonite cookbook from Kidron Ohio–where my husband’s ancestors settled– I developed a love of streusel-topped desserts, so a twist on the normal streusel replaces the top crust of this pie. My thanks to Chef John at All Recipes for the suggestion of putting almonds in the topping. I used flaked instead of slivered, and I liked the texture. I also changed a few other things in his recipe, so compare the two before you decide which suits you.
Pie and served piece
Although brown sugar is suggested in Chef John’s recipe, and is standard in the Mennonite cookbook for streusel, I thought it might not be the best flavor fit in a sweet cherry pie, so I used white sugar. I believe that is the better choice.
The big black Bing cherries that we in the West get from Washington State and Oregon State in mid summer, need very little sugar in comparison to the more standard sour pie cherries. So taste your cherries and decide. There is so much flavor in this recipe, that I suggest using less sugar than you think you need, so that nothing distracts from the cherry flavor.
The extra flavor kick? In comparing various recipes on line, I discovered this genius idea on The Spruce Eats site–add candied or crystallized ginger to your cherry pie filling. Just as almonds are supremely compatible with cherries, so is ginger.
You may not have crystallized ginger on your shelf, but let me encourage you to try it out. I keep it on hand to munch like candy, particularly when my stomach feels a little upset. Googling crystallized ginger will give you dozens and dozens of articles, some with different opinions, but to boil it down, there are some proven medical benefits to ginger. However, crystallized, or candied ginger does have a high amount of sugar, so you have to keep that in mind. Substituting it for candy you might otherwise eat could help. Pigging out on candied ginger could cause problems.
The Spruce Eats site differs from other recipes in that they use instant tapioca instead of cornstarch as a thickener. I already am sold on instant tapioca as a thickener, thanks to that Mennonite cookbook, and my late mother-in-law. To me, cornstarch has a bit of taste that interferes with the main ingredients, and I just don’t like the texture.
And when that luscious cherry pie is baked–be sure to serve it with vanilla ice cream.
I hope that when Billie comes to call, you will be able to tell him “Yes, I can bake a cherry pie, quicker than a cat can wink its eye.” (Or in the version I learned, “in the twinkling of an eye.”)