Filled with huge, sweet blackberries bursting with juice and baked in the most perfect, flaky, buttery pie crust, Homemade Blackberry Pie is as good to eat as it is to look at.
Your friends and family are going to love you if you show up with a fresh, Homemade Blackberry Pie to share!
Can I just admit that for YEARS blackberry pie has been my white whale? Every recipe post I could find made it sound so easy to make, but mine always turned out runny! Or I would overshoot the mark and add too much of a thickening agent to compensate for previous attempts and end up with a filling that was gummy. It was so frustrating! But I kept trying for blackberry pie success because it is my hands down absolute favorite pie. And it was totally worth it because this homemade blackberry pie is incredible and so, so simple! And when it comes to Thanksgiving and pies, this is the one I always go for first before any other.
When blackberries are in season, like they are right now, they are unbelievably good. We have been to our local farmer’s market the past two Saturdays in a row just to buy multiple flats of them and have a hard time setting aside enough fresh berries to do anything with them because we keep popping the giant, juicy berries right into our mouths. If you can keep some set aside in reserve, they will make an incredible pie. Or you could always used them in a crumble like this Blackberry Nectarine Crumble. But the good news is that frozen blackberries work just as well as fresh in this pie, so long as you use a couple little tricks to account for the freezing and then defrosting process.
See, the reason I have had problems with homemade blackberry pie in the past is that most recipes just say to use fresh or frozen blackberries like they are totally interchangeable. But in my experience, if you take your blackberries straight from the freezer, toss them with the rest of the filling ingredients and dump them into your pie crust, you will end up with a soggy, juicy mess of a pie that, while still delicious, won’t set up properly the way it’s supposed to.
The method I am going to share today solves that problem. If you are using fresh blackberries, then it’s no big deal, just toss the filling ingredients together and put them in the pie crust, easy-peasy. If you are using frozen blackberries, however, you are going to want to pull them out of the freezer ahead of time and let them thaw. But instead of just tossing that beautiful, dark purple juice, drain it into a microwave safe bowl and whisk in 1/2 tablespoon of the cornstarch called for in the recipe along with 1 tablespoon of sugar and microwave it for 45-60 seconds until it thickens up. Then toss your thawed blackberries with the remaining cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice and gently stir in the thickened blackberry juice mixture.
Before pouring all of that into your uncooked pie crust, brush part of your egg wash on the bottom crust, which will create just enough of a seal to let the crust cook through on the bottom all the way without getting soggy from the juicy berries. Then once the pie is cooked, let it cool completely so that the berry filling has time to set before slicing into the pie. You can always reheat it just a bit if you like eating your pie warm. These steps are simple but they will save you the heartache of cutting into a beautiful looking pie only to have it fall completely apart because the filling is soupy.
You are going to need a top and bottom pie crust for this pie. I recommend this perfect pie crust recipe that I use in all my pies like this Salted Caramel Apple Pie. It turns out amazing every time thanks to both butter for flavor and shortening for a tender, flaky crust. I love doing lattice crusts on pie, but when it comes to homemade blackberry pie, there is just something about a solid top crust with only one hole cut out from the center with a small biscuit cutter and a sprinkle of granulated sugar over the egg wash that really speaks to me. It sets it apart from other pies and distinguishes it without being fussy or pretentious. And it gives a peek at the luscious, dark purple inside of the pie while it’s baking.
It makes me think of country farms and hoe-downs and pies cooling on windowsills. Which makes me think of that scene from the musical “Oklahoma” where Laurey and Gertie (the one with the ridiculous laugh) are boasting about their pie crusts being so light and flaky. Do you know the scene I’m talking about? Laurey (the heroine) brags to rival Gertie (who is going to the dance with the cowboy hero, Curly) that her pie crust is so flaky that “she just touched it and it broke into a million pieces!” I don’t know why but that line has always stuck with me and it cracks me up. I love old musicals. You really ought to make this pie and then put on Oklahoma. Sounds like a perfect idea to me. I’m not going to make any ridiculous claims about the flakiness of the crust, but I will say that this blackberry pie definitely won’t disappoint.
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- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the work surface
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
- 12 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
- 6-8 tablespoons ice water
- 6 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen*
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Sugar, for sprinkling
Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or a food processor (if I had one I would use it!), cut the shortening and butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. It is only about 10 pulses with a food processor but a bit more work by hand. One trick to make the process a little easier is to freeze your butter beforehand, then grate it into the flour mixture before cutting it in with the pastry cutter if not using a food processor.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water over the mixture. Using a fork, gently stir the water in to the flour mixture, then repeat with the remaining water, adding only 2 tablespoons at a time, just until the dough starts to come together.
Divide the dough into two even pieces. Turn each piece of dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then allow the chilled dough to sit on the counter to soften slightly for 10 minutes before rolling out.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out and the bottom crust. Gently line a pie plate with bottom crust and brush with part of the egg wash before adding blackberry filling.
To prepare blackberry filling, in a large bowl, add blackberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice and gently toss to combine. Pour filling into the prepared pie crust.
Roll out top pie crust and cut a circular hole in the center with a small biscuit or cookie cutter, then gently lay the crust on top of the blackberry filling. Trim edges of the pie dough and crimp in a decorative pattern. If desired, you could do a lattice crust or other decorative top. Brush the top crust with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar.
Bake for 45-60 minutes, until the filling is thick and bubbly and the crust is golden brown. If the edges of the crust begin to get too dark too soon, cover them with tin foil or use a pie guard so that they don't burn while the rest of the pie continues to bake.
When the pie is done, remove from the oven and allow the pie to cool for at least 2-3 hours before serving so the filling can continue to set up.
*If using frozen blackberries, allow the berries to thaw first in a large bowl, then pour the juice into a medium microwave-safe bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of the cornstarch and whisk to combine. Microwave the juice, sugar, and cornstarch mixture for 30-60 seconds, until thickened. Set aside while you combine the defrosted blackberries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice and toss to combine, then gently stir in the thickened blackberry juice.
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