Himalayan Blackberry Pie

By • September 4, 2010 • 108 Comments


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Author Notes: We have a variety of blackberries on our property and the last to ripen are the Himalayan which start mid to late summer and continue through early autumn. These berries have large seeds that are undesirable to some, but we don’t mind a little extra crunch and fiber, after all, they are good enough for the wild critters so why not for us? After picking the juiciest, whether on your property, the side of the road or from the farmers market, nothing beats an "early autumn" homemade blackberry pie. - lapadialapadia

Food52 Review: Though we just rounded the corner into fall, we found some plump blackberries at the Greenmarket and were thrilled to have one last fling with summer in Lapadia's excellent honey-sweetened pie. If you can't find blackberries near you, any kind of berry would work well here, even frozen ones -- you might just need to add a bit more tapioca to make up for the extra juice. Lapadia's all-butter, food processor crust method is as easy as you-know-what and produces some of the tenderest pie crust we've ever tasted -- as light as puff pastry, without the fuss of folding. - A&MA&M

Serves filling for one 10 inch pie

  • FILLING INGREDIENTS
  • 4 cups blackberries
  • 3/4 cup honey (blackberry honey if you can find)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons instant tapioca
  • Optional – 1/4 cup super fine sugar, or to your taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • --------------------------------------------
  • CRUST INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8-10 tablespoons ice water
  1. MAKE THE CRUST: Put the butter, flour and salt in the food processor, pulse lightly until the mixture resembles wet looking particles (some recipes say pea sized). Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing a couple times after each tablespoon. Keep adding water until the dough just starts to gather into larger clumps. Split the dough in half and place each into a re-sealable plastic bag, pat each into a disk. Let the dough sit in the refrigerator 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and drain the berries.
  3. In a large bowl; add the berries, honey, lemon or lime juice and tapioca. Taste test before adding optional superfine sugar. Stir the mixture and let sit for 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  4. Line a 10 inch pie dish with a rolled out bottom layer of pastry crust. Fill with the blackberry mixture and dot with butter.
  5. Roll out the remaining pastry crust and cover the top of the pie. Seal and crimp the edges together. Brush with milk or cream. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Cut a few slits, with a sharp knife, to create steam vents.
  6. Cook for 45 to 55 minutes, until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbling.
  7. Note: I like to cover a baking sheet with foil and bake the pie on top of that; it seems that whenever I don’t, filling spills over....and I don’t like the sticky cleanup, but the choice is yours.

Comments (108) Questions (3)

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5 months ago Chocolate Be

Made this today and put it unbaked in the freezer. It's going to be super-tasty, I can already tell. A word about using tapioca as a thickener in fruit pies: You will save yourself a lot of potential pie-failure heartache if you pulverize the tapioca pearls in a spice grinder almost to a powder. If your fruit doesn't give up much juice, sometimes the tapioca will stay in its hard, pellet-y state. Ask me how I know! Pulverizing the pearls eliminates this possibility. H/t to Cooks Illustrated for this advice, which I have taken for many years now.

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5 months ago lapadia

Hi CB! Great advise about pulverizing tapioca and CI is a favorite of mine. I've always used the instant tapioca (breaks down better) and then let it sit (step 3), this helps soften the pearls. Happy TG!

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8 months ago sarah

I made this with blueberries and peaches and it turned out perfectly. I will probably throw instant tapioca in more pies in the future. Thanks for the recipe.

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8 months ago lapadia

Thanks for your feedback sarah, I have been partial to using instant tapioca for a long time. Glad it works for you, to!

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9 months ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Lovely, lovely! And blackberry honey- such a great touch!

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9 months ago lapadia

Love blackberry honey, it is easy to find around here, not sure about elsewhere in the country.

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9 months ago dymnyno

Perfect recipe for today! I noticed blackberries ripening everywhere...and in our vineyard I really mean everywhere. It's a battle to keep them at bay, but the ones that we save are delicious.

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9 months ago lapadia

Right now the little wild mountain blackberries, very fragrant, little seeds are ripe, they are my favorite but the critters usually get to most of them first. The Himalayan in our area are half blossoms, half green little berries.

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about 2 years ago Lorenza

Greetings Lapadia, many thanks for your kind reply. I neglected to mention that the Marionberries that I purchase are IQF (individually quick frozen), packaged in 2 1/2 pound bags. They are beauties that are as large as your thumb. I thought that the freeze / thaw process and subsequent release of juices might call for additional tapioca. Apparently not. I do follow your practice of letting the berries sit with the sugar and tapioca until their juices start flowing before proceeding. Thanks for your insights.

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about 2 years ago lapadia

Oh, that sounds great, Lorenza! PS - I quickly transfer my berries over to the pie shell with a slotted spoon and leave some of the juice behind...but that is just my preference. Enjoy!

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about 2 years ago Lorenza

Having been born in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, I was introduced to the Marionberry at an early age. I was transplanted to the Midwest many years ago and have only been able to enjoy fresh Marionberries when visiting the Pacific NW. I have been successful in locating a source for frozen Marionberries in Michigan and I have 20 lbs. of them tucked away in my freezer. Lapadia, I would be very interested in learning how you would modify your recipe when using frozen berries. I typically make a cobbler with a pastry crust as I find that cobblers are much more forgiving than double crusted pies. Please advise and Buon appetito!

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about 2 years ago lapadia

Hi Lorenza!

Wow, 20 lbs, lucky you, and btw, I love cobblers! :) First let me say, I have never used berries that are frozen and stuck together (don’t know if yours are), but, I have used single pre-frozen berries. Please read on, I hope it is what you are looking for!

When making a pie with the single pre-frozen, I pour the berries into a bowl and start with step #3, adding the ingredients it calls for. In this case, because the berries start out frozen, let them sit a bit longer…what you will be looking for is the berries to start releasing its juices so that you can give a stir, allowing the flavors to blend and the tapioca to become moistened. Then continue to the next step.

If your berries are frozen together, the extra step needed would be to unfreeze them enough to measure out the 4 cups needed. From there I would continue @ step #3.

Here is a step by step link to the pie crust I make:

http://lapadia.wordpress...

FYI - Single frozen berries = placing each berry in the freezer – singly, allowing the berry to freeze up a bit before measuring out the four cups needed; this pre-freezing method stops the berries from sticking together once contained and placed in the freezer. I add 4 cups of the pre-frozen berries into a sturdy airtight container…from there I use my sealer meal to vacuum pack the container (if the container is sturdy enough the sealing won’t smash it together). The berries stay frost free for many months and work beautifully for the pie.

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over 2 years ago GloriousGarlic

I have had the pleasure of indulging in Lapadia's cooking & baking for over 25 years. I know that the picture associated with her receipe is not a picture of her actual pie!. She would never in a million years make a pie that looked like this. It had to have been made by a total novice. Her pies ALWAYS look as good as they taste. Too bad the site can't show how truly incredible the pie REALLY looks when made by Lapadia.

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Wow and thanks GloriousGarlic, how timely this is in more ways than you can imagine; your eyes are not deceiving you! I must say that to my dismay the first photo shown above is not a pie I actually made; it is from Food52’s slide show. They take a lot of time and resources to make, bake and then photograph our recipes, it's important to have consistency in the finalists’ photos across their site…I have been told. PS – if you look at the additional photos above you will be brought back to memories from my kitchen :)

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over 2 years ago vrunka

I made this pie for Thanksgiving and I am now told that I am required to bring it next year, too! Needless to say, it was a huge hit. The recipe is deceptively simple. Looking at the ingredients, it didn't really look all that different from other pie recipes, but the flavors and texture are really superb. Thanks for this recipe, lapadia!

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Thanks! Loved your feedback Vrunka, so happy it was enjoyed by all…Happy Holidays!

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over 2 years ago Abra Bennett

Lapadia - I couldn't find any other way to contact you since your nice invitation came from a no-reply address. I'd love, love, love to participate, but I'll be in Barcelona while you all are partying. Have a great time!

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Hi Abra! I used the Food52 messaging, we will have a fun party, as I am sure you will be doing the same in Barcelona! Will message you my email.

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over 2 years ago dymnyno

I think that Himalayan blackberries are most often called Oregon blackberries, even though they grow like super voracious weeds all over California (we had one that grew to be about 7 feet high by about 40 feet in length and 20 feet wide).

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Agree, dymnyno, my husband trims and trains the ones we use, they are in a specific area of our property, we have two varieties (I think one is the marion berry - popular in Oregon, see the link in the comment below. We have to pull the rest of the berries as best we can...or else, Yikes! Here is an interesting link on the Himalayan, a noxious weed:
http://www.co.cowlitz.wa...

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over 2 years ago lapadia

oops! so much for that link :( was interesting, though I am sure you have found a few yourself.

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over 2 years ago drkate

Made this pie with marionberries (I'd never heard of Himalayan blackberries, so substituted marionberries) over the weekend. Even made the crust! It was delish. Thank you!

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over 2 years ago lapadia

Hi drkate! I am delighted you enjoyed this recipe, I have heard of Marionberries, I think we have a little growing on our property, but most are the Himalayan - the Marion leaf looks a little different as well as the shape of the berry. Here is an interesting link about both, paragraph on the Himalayan is towards the end of the article. http://www.salemhistory...

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about 3 years ago lapadia

@sygyzy - oops the link in my comment below did not work, but you can Google the Tapioca product mentioned to find it :)

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about 3 years ago sygyzy

What is instant tapioca? Can I use tapioca flour?

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about 3 years ago lapadia

Hi!
Instant (or quick-cooking) tapioca is a mixture of tapioca flour and water that is cooked, dried, and then ground again to make small little beads. Minute® tapioca is a well-known brand; to maximize thickening it needs to be mixed with the pie ingredients and sit for at least 5 minutes to allow the beads to soften and start to absorb the juices, and then, when heated in the liquid, the beads swell and become transparent…ending with a filling that is not too runny or thick with a beautiful glossy sheen. Some time back, I used tapioca flour for my apple pies; it dissolved into the juices nicely and rendered a smooth, clear sauce - I think it could be a good substitute, but I am not sure whether it would be a 1 to 1 substitution with the juicy berries. Personally I much prefer the texture of a pie made with tapioca and now use it for most of my pies. Minute® tapioca is widely available. Note: don’t confuse instant with regular tapioca…see the link:
http://www.meijer.com/assets...

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about 3 years ago La Panadera

I just baked this today and it was great. My husband, who never eats fruit pie, went for seconds. ;) I grow fresh blackberries in my garden and so I imagine I will have this recipe memorized by the end of summer. Thanks for the great recipe.

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about 3 years ago lapadia

Thanks, La Panaders! So glad you and your husband liked it. Here it is the middle of cold PacificNW weather...I can't wait for blackberry "pie season".

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over 3 years ago ptcook

Congratulations Linda! Is this going to be at the class reunion?

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Hey thanks ptcook; class reunion...hmmm, good question, email me, we can talk!

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over 3 years ago betty burner

Congrats! Well deserved! This pie is on my to make list this weekend, tho as you know we don't have Himalyans here in TX., the market did have pints of blackberries....will just have to wait till I get up your way to have the "real deal"! I'll even struggle thru making my own pie crust!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Thanks betty burner, let me know how it comes out!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Thanks-You everyone for your congratulatory words!

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over 3 years ago Midge

Bravo lapadia! Congrats!

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over 3 years ago lapadia

Midge, what an exciting few days this has been and shared with you and your delicious pie which I definitely look forward to trying very soon, seriously honey crisps are my favorite and I believe from my state! My offer still stands; look me up if you come back out to the PacNW, so that we can cook something up!

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over 3 years ago Bevi

Congrats Lapadia! I love your pie!

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over 3 years ago gingerroot

Woo-Hoo! Congratulations, lapadia!! I am so thrilled for you!