I have a lot of berries in my freezer, frozen when they were ripe and fresh this past summer (and some in bags from Trader Joe’s, too). Frozen berries work just as well in recipes as fresh berries, especially in breads and muffins where they’re stirred into batter individually. When you’re dealing with a lot of frozen berries, however, you sometimes need to make some adjustments to a recipe to get the same results that you would get with fresh berries. Namely, you might need to extend the baking/cooking time to take into account that the berries, when in a big bunch, will take longer to thaw out than individual berries. For a sauce, the berries can be thawed in advance if you like. For other baked goods, I don’t like to thaw the berries because they loose a lot of their texture and are much harder to work with.
This fruity Blackberry Raspberry Pie can be made with fresh berries or with frozen berries. With fresh berries, the pie doesn’t take long to bake and the filling starts to thicken up almost as soon as the pie gets in the oven. With frozen berries, the pie will need some additional baking time because the berries will first thaw before the filling thickens up. The end result is the same, frozen berries (for off-season pies) usually require a little more patience. The baking directions below give the times for working with fresh berries and frozen, so you can make this pie all year round. The trick is to watch the crust to take on an all-over dark golden color – that’s when you know the pie is perfectly cooked.
The berry filling of this pie has a lot of natural sweetness to it, accented with a bit of brown sugar. There is a hint of vanilla, thanks to the addition of vanilla extract in both the filling and the crust. The berries taste fresh and bright, and the filling is just thick enough to hold together well without becoming too thick or jammy. They almost melt in your mouth and really complement the flaky, crisp crust. It’s easy to eat two slices of this pie because it feels a lot lighter than, say, apple pie or something made with a heavier fruit. It’s good on its own, but excellent when slightly warmed and served with vanilla ice cream. Be sure to let the pie cool completely before slicing to ensure that the filling thickens up enough. If you want to serve it warm, pop each slice in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.
Blackberry Raspberry Pie
These instructions give baking times for fresh berries. If starting with frozen berries, see notes below.
5 cups blackberries and raspberries, mixed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
Vanilla Double Crust
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into chunks
1 tsp vanilla extract
approx 3/4 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 400F.
Roll out 1/2 of the pie dough to make the bottom crust of the pie.
Mix filling and pour into crust.
Roll out remaining pie dough, cutting several large holes in the top to let the pie “breathe,” and lay on top of the filling. Pinch crust together around the edges to seal.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400F. Reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes, until crust is golden all over and filling is bubbly and thick.
Cool completely before slicing to give the filling a chance to thicken. Pie can be reheated, but if it is sliced to soon, filling will be runny.
Note: If starting with frozen berries, follow the directions as written and bake the pie for 15 minutes at 400F. Lower the temperature to 375F and bake for 70-80 minutes (yes, it seems like a long time, don’t worry!) until crust is golden brown all over. If crust is not golden brown all over, even in the center, bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until it is (this might mean your berries had been frozen for a while).
The coldness of the frozen berries will prevent the crust from cooking quickly, which is why the extra baking time is needed and why the color of the top crust is a good indication of doneness.
Filling should be thick and bubbly through the vents when crust is completely done. If the edges of your pie start to darken too much, cover just the edges with a piece of foil or a pie shield for the last 15 minutes of baking.