BLACK AND BLUEBERRY PIE

BLACK AND BLUEBERRY PIE
December 18, 2015 Kimberlie

BLACK AND BLUEBERRY PIE

The only intact slice. Black and Blue Berry Pie The Finer Cookie.

Of the two "Bruised" Berry Pies I made, this is the only slice that was photo worthy. Hands down though, they were both delicious. We ate them with soup spoons and our fingers (the fork is just for show). The second pie made a great breakfast, lunch and yes, dinner too. If you read between the lines, I have just told you the whole story.

PERFECT FLAKY AND TENDER CREAM CHEESE PIE CRUST

  • Thank you Rose for this perfect pie crust. I’ve been making it for years, and it always delivers a flaky, tender and faultless texture.
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    Dough made with frozen butter.

  • Typically, I don’t freeze the butter because I lose the feeling of the dough in my fingers. With frozen butter, the pastry doesn’t come together, and I can’t estimate the moisture level, especially this time of year when the humidity level in the house is very low. Still, for this recipe, I chose to follow the frozen butter method to see if there was any difference. I found the experience of working with the frozen butter frustrating because I worked so hard to get it to come together, feeling unsure about it the whole way.
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    Dough is finally together and ready for the fridge.

  • For me, I enjoy working with pastry that moves in my hands, so I’m going back to working with cold ingredients, rather than frozen ingredients.
  • I also want to thank Rose for her suggestion to cut the dough with a 12” disc before placing it in the pie plate.
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    Ready to roll the pastry.

  • The symmetry of it is beautiful and makes for a better finished product.
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    Set the pastry into the plate.

FILLING THE PIE

  • I used frozen fruit because it’s the wrong time of year for fresh (too expensive and less tasty). But frozen fruit comes with its concerns.
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    The frozen blackberries are in very good shape.

  • In other recipes for purees and fruit pies, Rose suggests defrosting the frozen fruit, or macerating the fresh, draining the juice, reducing it, and adding the reduction back into the pie (I’m thinking of one of Rose’s wonderful apple pies I made in this way). Defrosting and draining the juice with these two berries would have completely destroyed their shape, so if I did that, I would probably have gotten a berry jam pie, rather than a whole-berry pie. I chose to treat the frozen berries as though they were fresh. So I set about the making the filling. Lemon, check!
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    Grate lemon zest.

  • The frozen filling mixture looked good and I felt hopeful.
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    It looks ready for the oven.

BAKE THE PIE

  • 20 minutes in the oven I turned it around, and set the timer for another 25 minutes. It was at this moment, everything went to hell in a hand basket. There was so much juice in the pie that it sloshed out of the top crust. I started to panic because my top crust was over browning and soggy at the same time, while the liquid was a long way from thickening. Save the crust? Save the filling? Save the crust? Save the filling? I saved the crust and hoped that when the pie cooled, the liquid would thicken. WRONG
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    This picture doesn’t show the liquid inside. Pie soup.

  • How do I solve this? My husband (bless his heart) inserted a straw in one of the vents, and sucked the liquid out. He drank and drank, and the liquid just kept coming up the straw! There was an incredible amount. As pride would dictate, I couldn't show you the picture of him with straw in the pie--too embarrassing.
  • Finally, with almost no liquid left, I cut the pie and see what was inside. I found cornstarch residue lying on the bottom of the dish. This said two things: 1) the corn starch sank to the bottom and never would have thickened the juice because it wasn’t fully engaged with the fruit and 2) the cornstarch hadn’t activated and wasn’t in the oven long enough. Bottom line, the pie was a complete mess.
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    This picture is misrepresenting reality. I took it after Rick employed the straw method to extract the juice.

  • I called my neighbor who has three young, enthusiastic boys and asked if I could share my pie soup. They very happily said YES!
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    My adorable neighbour, Jai.

  • This failed pie bothered me. I talked myself out of making a second pie. Forget it, Kim…just let it go, but it’s not who I am. I want to learn and I knew that I had to try again. This time I was going to make some changes. First, I’d make more vents in the top crust to allow for maximum evaporation. Second, I’d make a foil ring to protect the crust because I expected it would be in the oven for quite a while, given the fruit was frozen, and given my expectation of too much juice. Third, I’d preheat the oven for a very long time to ensure the stone was fully heated.

TAKE TWO

  • I set the second pie in the oven. At about 40 minutes, the juices released just like before. Now, I’m looking for thick bubbles. At about 50 minutes, I still have thin bubbling juice. At about 55 minutes the liquid spit and spattered (maybe exploded) all over my oven (I’m not exaggerating) and the house started to smell of burning sugar. I still didn’t see thick bubbles. At about 60 minutes, the liquid got underneath the pastry and bled all over the pie plate. I still don’t see thick bubbles. 65 minutes. No thick bubbles yet. 70 minutes. Okay, I see thick bubbles. What a disaster. OMG!
  • Getting the pie out of the plate was impossible because the sugar had fused the pastry to the plate. Admittedly, the consistency of the filling was much better and enjoyable. Generally, the juice was thicker and the cornstarch had done it's work, but there was still too much liquid overall. So, the second pie failed for essentially the same reason, but there was one small section of the pie that stayed intact where the liquid didn’t penetrate the bottom crust. This slice I used to take the picture below.
    black and blueberry pie the finer cookie

    The only intact slice. Black and Blue Berry Pie The Finer Cookie.

  • Conclusion: I think it was the frozen fruit that did me in. When liquid freezes it expands and breaks down the cellular structure; thus, whatever is frozen gives off more liquid than it would have if it were fresh—this includes meat. Maybe blackberries have too much water, more than blueberries, or peaches, or rhubarb. If I had used fresh blackberries, I doubt I would have had this amount of liquid. This is just an amateur guess. Maybe someone can shed some light on why there was so much liquid.
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26 Comments

  1. Mendy 5 months ago

    I used fresh blackberries (and frozen blueberries) and still had a bit of soupiness. Admittedly, the next day it had congealed a great deal.

    There must be an easy solution to this we are not thinking of…

    That last picture ala mode looks great!

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      Maybe the problem starts at the fruit itself. Could it be possible that the blackberry crops were given too much water ? Seems to be a trend these days.

  2. Catherine 5 months ago

    It sounds like Sophie’s Choice – to save the filling or the crust! What drama in your kitchen and the heroics of your husband! At least you had some willing eaters.

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      It’s important to make the most out of the drama. Straws and children help alot.

  3. evilcakelady 5 months ago

    oh my! i can’t believe you made two pies! and like everyone else, the thought of your husband sucking out the juice with a straw is priceless. it’s moments like that that i think, “well, this will be a good story for the blog.” a picture would have been awesome 🙂 speaking of pictures, the one pie slice you did choose to shoot came out so pretty.

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      Hi Jen, Rick with the straw was a moment that went by me.

  4. Jenn 5 months ago

    Kim, your husband is so supportive and creative to take out the straw. I bet the juice taste yummy! You are so good to make this twice. It must be something to do with the frozen berries since almost everyone has this issue (except Marie). The piece that was photographed looks delicious.

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      Hi Jenn, I too suspect it had something to do with the frozen berries, though Rose said (see her post below) that “it’s true that frozen berries give off more of their liquid when thawed, [but] baking is equivalent to thawing, i.e. my experience indicates that once baked frozen and fresh berries release the same amount of liquid.” Marie said she thawed her berries before baking them. Thanks for your response Jenn

  5. Diane 5 months ago

    Bonjour Kim, The pie looks very good! And the same comment as Glori, the holes in the top crust are perfect for a straw. Ne lache pas!

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      Hi Diane, thanks for your response! Trust me, I won’t give up. I rarely do.

  6. Glori 5 months ago

    What a great post. Crust, filling, what to save? The holes in the top crust are perfect for a straw. Really impressed you tried another pie though.

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      Thanks for your unending support. You had great success. Congrats!

  7. Rose Levy Beranbaum 5 months ago

    In all honesty, i have not made this pie with frozen berries though i have made 100% blackberry pie with frozen berries and found no difference. and i use frozen cherries all the time. my reasoning is that even though it’s true that frozen berries give off more of their liquid when thawed, baking is equivalent to thawing, i.e. my experience indicates that once baked frozen and fresh berries release the same amount of liquid. i think the greater problem is the thickening of the cornstarch. i do thaw the cherries first. i’m wondering if it wouldn’t be safer to thaw the berries and thicken the juices with the cornstarch and THEN fold it into the berries. otherwise it’s surely necessary to bake the pie much longer. the only way the juices would get under the crust is if there were gaps in the crust–at least i think that’s the case. it almost sounds like it escaped through the sides and worked its way down. maybe all this goes to prove that fruit is not always the same, either in sweetness or in water content and not 100% controllable like cakes. and just maybe that’s part of the charm. i’ll be making peach pie with frozen peaches this week and yes i plan to thaw them. i have done this before but stay tuned!

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      Rose, it seems to be a hit and miss with the frozen blackberries. Marie used them too and her pie looks perfect. I’ve noticed that many fruits come to market with too much water in them, so that the fruit will taste juicy, but has little flavour. Having my own vegetable garden, I know that when I water my tomatoes too much, this is what happens. So rather than letting the fruits get juicy on the vine, farmers over water their fruit crop, which gives the impression of vine ripened juicy fruit, but in the end, it just has too much water. I’m thinking out loud here. And about the juice getting under the crust, I probably didn’t seal the edges well enough. I’m sure of it now that I think about it. Thanks for taking the time to read my post. It’s great!

  8. faithy 5 months ago

    I had the same issue too! I had soupy pie too..but after overnight, the pie dried up. I think the frozen berries…maybe has more liquid.. I added 10g more of cornflour but still soupy. I laughed when you said your husband used a straw drink the extra juices! 😀 BTW, your crust is the most perfect I’ve ever seen! Like you rolled your crust to perfection! SOO SMOOTH!

  9. Rosa Maggie 5 months ago

    Oppss I meant to say that your pie looks nice.

  10. Rosa Maggie 5 months ago

    I think we almost all of us had the same problem too much juice what I think is that we should have just drained out the juice out of the fruits before we put it in the pie and closed it up but your hair looks nice Kim and you’re right.

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      As long as my hair looks good, nothing else matters!

  11. Vicki 5 months ago

    Your husband is a gem! Have a look at Raymond’s pie. He thawed the berries and drained them first but looks like they were still juicy when added to the pie shell in the photo. His pie turned out perfectly.

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      My husband is a gem! We both laughed heartily at the straw routine.

  12. inthekitchen 5 months ago

    Seems that a lot of us had the same problem with the “too much juice in the filling” dilemma. I certainly did :/ I used mostly frozen berries too, and didn’t defrost, thinking that defrosting would lead to more juice. I ended up pouring my excess juice out and making a cocktail with it…yum! Your straw method sounds hilarious though…hope hubby didn’t get a tummy ache!

    http://bakedtoorder.blogspot.com/2015/01/roses-alpha-bakers-black-blueberry-pie.html

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      If I only had the presence of mind to save the juice for a cocktail, because I really needed one throughout this process.

  13. Monica Caretto 5 months ago

    Kim.. we seem to had the same issue (and as I read the other’s post, we were not the only ones with soupy pies)… Rose mention I should have cooked it more as well, but frankly by the time I took it out of the oven, all sign were there that my liquid was just fine – sadly it was not. And like you I had the same convo – save the crust? save the filling? Obviously, I saved the crust. 🙂

    However, I do have to give you high fives for your creativity of having your husband suck the juice out of the pie with a straw – that is PRICELESS! You should have taken that picture. LOL

    Like you I’m going to do this again, not so soon, my ego is still bruise up and I have to make sure its all nice and comfy going into the Panettone round – because THAT one has all types of places that could totally go wrong on me.

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      Monica, your response to my post was very validating. I appreciate it. There is something about the frozen blackberry I think. I’m sure the discussion will be fast and furious.

  14. Patricia Reitz 5 months ago

    Oh no… I’m making my frozen fruit pie tonight and now I’m having second thoughts. I really appreciate your post – time for me to start thinking about how to proceed. Oh boy. PS – had to laugh at your thoughts of whether to save the filling, or the crust, or the filling, or the crust. LOL. I’ve had that conversation with myself.

    • Author
      Kimberlie 5 months ago

      I have confidence that you will make this work.

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