Heda's Mostly Blackberry Pie with Hazelnut Crumb Crust

July 22, 2014
2 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes one 9-inch pie
Author Notes

This pie is inspired by the seventeenth century Dutch Old Master, Willem Claeszoon Heda, who frequently included hazelnut pies in his still lifes. The pie was added to the otherwise stuffy grouping of objects to serve as a warning to the painting's patrons: This pie, a perishable luxury, will keep well until you cut it open (after which the contents will rot), just like the soul when corrupted by outside influences. Who knew that taking a bite of pie could be so complicated! But don't worry, this pie is much more easy-going, and I am sure your soul will thank you when you go in for that extra piece!

The pie dough recipe is adapted from The Flour & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book's All-Butter Crust. —primarycookies

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Primarycookies is a new Food52er who we hope will stick around!
WHAT: A nutty crust encasing a barely-sweet filling studded with blackberries.
HOW: Enhance an all-butter pie dough with ground hazelnuts. Use half of it as the bottom layer of your pie, then process the rest with oats and more nuts for the crumble top. Fill the pie with black and blueberries, bake until brown and bubbling, and then try your hardest to wait a couple of hours before slicing the pie open.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Sometimes we want a light-as-air mousse pie, but most of the time, we want a pie that’s more hearty than wimpy -- the kind that will hold its own next to a scoop of ice cream at dessert and a bowl of yogurt at breakfast. This one puts the under-appreciated blackberry to use, plus it uses the same pie dough as a crust and a crumble. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the hazelnut all-butter crust (for a double crust pie) and pie topping:
  • 1 cup blanched, skinned hazelnuts, toasted and ground, divided into 1/2 cups
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup (two sticks) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • For the berry filling:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  1. For the hazelnut all-butter crust (for a double crust pie) and pie topping:
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts, 2 cups of flour, salt, and sugar, and pulse until mixed. Add in the cold butter and pulse 20 times.
  3. In a separate, smaller bowl, combine the cold water, apple cider vinegar, and ice.
  4. Add this cold water mixture to the dough a couple of tablespoons at a time, pulsing until combined after each addition. [Editors' note: We used about 4 tablespoons of liquid total.]
  5. Once the dough in uniform, divide into two equal portions and wrap each in plastic. Chill dough for at least 3 hours, or even up to a month. When you are ready to use the dough, keep it in the fridge until you are ready to roll it out.
  1. For the berry filling:
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter into the berries over low heat. When the butter is completely melted, add the honey and the lemon juice, and let the saucepan sit over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring ever few. Add in the lemon zest and remove from heat. Let cool for 30 minutes, and prepare your bottom crust as you wait.
  3. Remove one of the dough halves from the fridge and carefully roll it out on a floured countertop until it's about 12 to 13 inches in diameter. (Because of the hazelnuts in the dough, the fat content is even higher than usual, and therefore the dough gets very soft, very quickly. If you find that your dough is getting too soft, re-wrap it in plastic, chill it for another hour, and try again.) After you have rolled the dough out for your bottom pie shell, carefully move this disc into your 9-inch pie pan. Smooth it into the pan and trim it around the top edges.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375° F. When the berry mixture is cool, stir in the cornstarch so that it's completely dissolved, and then pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell.
  5. For the top crust of the pie, combine 1/2 cup of the remaining prepared dough from the fridge with the 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, the remaining 1/2 cup of the toasted, ground hazelnuts, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.
  6. Pulse in a food processor until combined and the consistency of green peas. Carefully pour the oat-dough mixture over the top of the pie in a large circle, adding a layer of the mixture around the outer layer of the pan.
  7. Bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes, and then let it cool completely, about 2 hours. Slice and enjoy with ice cream or by itself.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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  • Laurie in Petaluma
    Laurie in Petaluma

14 Reviews

Gina H. September 4, 2020
I make this every summer and it is *** literally *** my favorite pie. It's not sweetest, if you want sweetness either a. add vanilla ice cream or b. make another pie. I love it because of the hazelnut crust (don't skip it!) and the simple combo of blackberries, blueberries, honey and lemon. It's unadulterated, with no gimmicks.
Katie H. September 9, 2017
I agree with some of the reviewers that this needs just a bit more sugar, even though I'm a person who usually prefers desserts that aren't too sweet. I added two tablespoons of sugar to the dough (instead of just one), added about a tablespoon of brown sugar to the topping, and added a little extra to the filling. I also used slightly more ground nuts (almonds and hazelnuts) than the recipe called for and it was delicious! This is a keeper.
Emily L. July 3, 2016
I just made this and it was delicious! I did make a couple changes - I used almonds instead of hazlenuts in the dough flour (it's what I had on hand). I added a dash of cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg to the topping, and I added about a tablespoon of brown sugar to the topping as well!
loubaby September 7, 2014
I made this for our company dessert on Friday night and we all loved it (with ice cream on top).....the next time I would use more crust for the bottom crust because there was so much topping for the top ....
Josie M. August 29, 2014
This was very good. Instead of the hazel nuts, I used almond meal in the crust and toasted almonds slivers in the topping. Since this recipe leaves you with about an extra 2/3 of one pie crust, I would recommend reducing the amount of crust in the total recipe by 2/3 (unless you want extra crust). I also don't understand why the recipe says to make 1.25 cups of the vinegar-water mixture when you only need a few tablespoons (I used 6).
regina W. August 24, 2014
To make this gluten-free, I would love to replace white flour with a nut flour or something else. Any suggestions????
Kt4 August 24, 2014
I have the same question. I have a housemate who's quite gluten sensitive and I don't want to be the only one eating an entire pie! ;)
Laura415 August 24, 2014
Absolutely do this GF with GF flour as a sub for regular although you may not get a crispy flaky crust without gluten. Instead I would go the nut route and use ground nuts and butter (you won't need 2 sticks) and sugar whizzed in the food processor. Take a pinch in between your fingers to see if it holds together and then just press into the pie pan. Prebake to crisp it up a bit and then put the filing in and bake as normal. This is a very different crust than the one above. It is more like a cheesecake style crust made from nuts. It tastes great tho. I would also sub out cornstarch with granulated tapioca to thicken.
primarycookies August 27, 2014
Hi Regina, Kt4 and Laura,
While I am no expert in gluten-free baking, I think that the addition of the hazelnuts adds a high fat content to the pie crust already, so adding a nut flour might not yield the best results (or it may!)--so I would try to use a GF flour such as Bob's Red Mill or Cup4Cup, which should result in a flaky crust. Good luck, and please let me know how they turn out!
Laura415 August 27, 2014
Sure but I advised that you would need less butter in the nut crust which would compensate for the oil in the nuts. Also the ground nut crust is more like a graham cracker crust not a pastry crust at all. That is why I suggest using ground nuts and melted butter until it holds together when pinched and sugar to taste.

If one uses GF flour (I have used C4C) you will have to experiment because it really does not come out the same as when using flour with gluten. C4C is mostly low protein starch and will act more like cake flour. C4C is great tasting and works well for cakes and cookies, but the standard pie crusts I made with it do not result in crisp or flaky pie crust. The crust comes out soft and fragile. It tastes fine. To each his own. GF baking is compromise and experimentation. I find that I can tolerate spelt so I use spelt flour in things like pie crust, bread and pizza dough.
Karin April 30, 2017
Laura, It's been a long time since you wrote this, but I am a gluten free baker 4 children are celiac. My mix is equal parts tapioca and brown rice flour with about a third of a cup of a mix, (such as cup for cup). salt, sugar a pinch of xanthan gum, dr oketer's vanilla powder, using coconut fat (adding as much as it takes to hold it together). SOUR CREAM (about two tablespoons)and an egg yolk! Rolled between two pieces of plastic wrap. Be sure to make your counter barely damp. I think you could insert your hazelnuts just fine in the flour mixture. Just watch the wet content as you add the sour cream/egg yolk
Laurie I. August 22, 2014
I made this pie last night and thought it worthy of its "Best Berry Winner" award. I picked some wonderful blackberries behind my office and they were small, juicy and very sweet. I loved the hazelnut crumb crust. It might just be why I like this pie so much. I even learned a new way to get the skins off hazelnuts which made the job both easier and more productive. Google blanch hazelnuts Alice Medrich.
primarycookies August 27, 2014
Hi Laurie,
Thank you so much! Great find on the Alice Medrich blanching tips--my local bodega only stocks skinned hazelnuts (convenient, yet strange!), but I will definitely file this away for a later time. Happy baking!
Lkbixby August 20, 2014
Made this pie this weekend and followed recipe exactly. To be honest, it was a bit too lacking in sweetness for my family (though we generally prefer desserts on the less-sweet side) -- my mom said it tasted "healthy" haha. Perhaps my berries, from the supermarket, were just not as sweet as wonderful farmer's market ones. If I make again, I will modify the crumb topping to add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar, and probably sub chopped hazelnuts rather than more ground and keep the oats whole so the topping is a bit more chunky.