Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wineberry pie

aving the recipe is only half the battle. It took several pies for me to get the pie crust to behave in such a way that I could roll it out, instead of trying to piece something together out of the fragments that never became a whole. Your only hope in this matter is to start with a good recipe and figure it out for yourself. The very best book ever is "The Pie and Pastry Bible" by Rose Levy Beranbaum. I've gotten so many recipes out of this book, if you know me, you've probably had one. In my mind, the best kind of cookbook isn't just recipes but philosophy and information, so that you actually have some clue why things need to be just so. Absolutely essential for the baker. Go get it. shoo.

This past weekend I had the good fortune to spend a night atop a mountain in the Shenandoah region, and came back (thanks to Wortklauberlein) with a pound of fresh berries from the bazillions of vines lining the roads. The local population informed us that they are wineberries, a particularly sweet variety of raspberry. There's nothing so satisfying as baking or cooking with food you've picked yourself. er, or that someone has thoughtfully picked for you.
pie, berries, fresh, handpicked, appalachians, shenandoah, wineberries, blackberries

"Deluxe flaky pie crust" 21 oz
    14 tbl unsalted butter, cold.
    2.25 cups flour (pref. pastry)
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    7.5 tbl ice water
    1 tbl cider vinegar
0.5 cup sugar (I only had brown)
2.5 tbl cornstarch
pinch salt
1 lb berries, washed and picked over for passengers.

  1. Pick a pound of wineberries and a few blackberries from Flattop Mountain. Or your backyard. Or somebody else's backyard. I don't think you can buy wineberries in the store, but this recipe will likely work with whatever berries you have handy.
  2. Make pie crust:
    • cut butter into small cubes, freeze for 30 min +
    • put flour, salt, baking powder in gallon size ziplock bag, shake to mix thoroughly.
    • add frozen butter, expel air and use rolling pin to (patiently) roll butter into flat flakes. Shake bag to redistribute when mix gets bunched up at one end. Freeze for 10 min.
    • sprinkle water and vinegar into bag, toss to mix.
    • keeping the bag open, knead from the outside of the bag until dough forms a single lump. To do this, you'll need to use the bag to fold the dough onto itself (don't touch it directly). About halfway through you'll get frustrated because it's not holding together yet. Put it in the fridge for a few minutes and come back to it. Once it's a lump, divide into two pieces, one for the top and one for the bottom crust. 
    • Refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight. 
  3. Roll out bottom crust on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Lay in pie pan, cover and refrigerate at least 30 min, no more than 3 hours.
  4. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt, whisk together. Toss berries gently in this mixture and let sit for 15 minutes. 
  5. Toss gently again and pour into bottom crust.
  6. Roll out top crust to 1/8 inch. I used a lattice pattern, but you could do a full top crust and cut a hole in the middle for steam to escape. Lay top crust over berries, use water to glue and fold edges under (or over) and crimp using a fork or your fingers.
  7. Refrigerate pie, covered loosely in plastic wrap, for about an hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 425 at least 20 minutes before baking. Use a baking stone if you have one and put it on the lower rack. Bake pie for 30 minutes or until juices are bubbling and crust is browned. Put a baking sheet or foil underneath the pie plate to catch drips.
  9. Let cool for at least 2 hours before serving, probably more like 4 if you have the patience.


  1. Good doof! It looks beautiful, and seductively yummy. Good thing you're an hour's drive away. And the pie is safely behind a locked door.


  2. Very nice latticework. And the berries look even better than in real life. Wineberries are sooo much easier to pick than those nasty blackberries in the backyard. Shall see if I can get another quart out of the patch before the heat gets to them...