Now that fall is upon us, I find myself reminiscing on all the great parts about the summertime. SIGH.
Ah, those long glorious days of sunshine, wearing little floral sundresses and flip flops, getting a nice, sun-kissed glow at the beach. And let’s not forget the very best part about summer: the delicious berries that come into season. Specifically, the endless supply of fresh blackberries, ready to pick, wherever you go.
Picking blackberries out in BC is huge for us because we wait for them all year.
When I stroll through the forest along my walks and see those beautiful soft pink blackberry flowers blooming, I get so excited. This year, the season came slightly early, around July, and I spent an entire day seeking blackberry brambles with a giant bucket in hand.
The highlight of this summer was definitely blackberry picking for me, and baking my first ever vegan blackberry pie with my lovely friend, Forrest. It turned out so incredibly well, and easily became my new summer dessert. A new tradition has begun!
Although I go crazy for a good strawberry rhubarb, it turns out that blackberry pie is actually my favourite of all the pies! Shocker eh?
There’s honestly something so rewarding about spending all day in the hot sun picking berries, and then taking them home to bake your very own pie from scratch, and then waiting anxiously for it to cool on the windowsill. It was a lot of work and took hours and hours of our day (we were baking until very late that night), but it was so very worth it when I had one bite of that fresh, warm pie.
The filling was absolutely wonderful (just the right amount of sweetness, with a tiny tartness from a cup of fresh blueberries we added into the mix), but the crust was the best part. It was flaky, buttery, and delicious – complementing the sweet filling perfectly. It was honestly hard to tell it was vegan! That’s when you know you’ve made a good pie. For the vegan butter, I used EarthBalance butter since the consistency is quite hard to begin with. I also used a bit of vegetable shortening, but this is optional.
Now, how to get that flaky pie crust? My friend taught me that a homemade pie crust really is quite simple, so long as you follow these important steps:
1- Always keep your butter COLD.
Your dough should have tiny bits of cold butter in it, that – when baked in the oven – release steam and create little air pockets, resulting in that light, flaky, buttery crust we all love and cherish so much. If you let the butter melt in the dough while handling it and rolling it out, the crust becomes too soft, and you lose that flakiness.
2- Use ICE COLD water for the pie dough.
This step goes with the above rule about keeping your butter cold. You will want to put actual ice cubes in a small bowl of water to have ready to go when you make your pie dough. This will ensure that your butter and dough stay cold while you are handling/preparing it.
3- Use your time wisely.
As soon as you prepare your dough, let it sit in the fridge as you prepare your pie filling. The oven should already be preset and ready to go by the time your filling is prepared and your dough is rolled out. Timing is everything! Make sure the dough stays cold throughout this process, and minimize the time it takes between leaving the fridge and entering the oven.
That’s it, folks! Hopefully it’s summer wherever you are, and you can bake some delicious pies with freshly picked blackberries. If not, feel free to use store-bought berries for this recipe. Although fresh berries are best, you could also use frozen (but I don’t recommend it as the consistency just won’t be the same). Happy pie baking! 🙂
For the crust: For the filling:
Vegan Blackberry Pie
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. organic white sugar
Dash of cinnamon + nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
2/4 cup cold, unsalted vegan butter, cut into cubes (or omit the shortening and use 3/4 cup butter)
1/4 cup cold vegan shortening, cut into cubes
1 small bowl of ice cold water
3 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup organic white sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
For the crust:
For the filling: