Saturday, August 29, 2009

Making The Perfect Blackberry Pie

Anybody who really knows me looked at the title of this post and thought, "What the hell? What is Beth doing writing about pie?!!! She only knows how to cook the same 5 things over and over and over again, and she never bakes unless it's cookies made out of that cookie dough that comes already mixed up in the grocery store or a birthday cake from a box! Something is not right here..." All true, I'm afraid. Part of the reason my blog is called Chicken Nugget Mama, in fact. In my house, cereal is a legitimate dinner entree. So are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. (And, not just legitimate entrees, but frequent ones.) For more details about my endless inadequacies when it comes to feeding my kids, you might want to check out: "Don't tell ME ketchup doesn't count as a vegetable!" So, what could I ever possibly have to say about making a blackberry pie that would actually benefit someone trying to bake one? A lot, actually. If you follow the recipe, below, you are guaranteed to eat the best pie you've ever eaten...My promise to you.

1) 2 little boys who really, really, really want to pick wild blackberries on a hot, late-summer day -- "For a pie, Mommy, for a pie!"
2) A husband who loves blackberries, loves pie, and who happens to have seen a bunch of wild blackberry bushes loaded with berries just the other day.
3) A blackberry pie recipe found by googling "Easy blackberry pie" that calls for pre-made pie dough, flour, sugar, butter, blackberries, a little bit of milk, and tapioca for thickening. That's it. 7 ingredients. Totally doable, even for someone as inept in a kitchen as myself.

1) Pack juice boxes, snacks, and toys in the car, because the boys are going to get sick of picking blackberries looooong before you have come close to having enough for a pie.
2) Dress your family in long sleeves and long pants, because wild blackberry bushes are extremely thorny. Note: Do NOT wear those flimsy pants made out of waterproof material that act as a kind of a rain/wind guard you can wear over your shorts or sweats. Guess what? The thorns go RIGHT through them! I have the scars to prove it, and my blackberry picking sounded a lot like this: "Ooooooh, I found the motherlode! Ow! Ouch! Owie! Ouch!" "Hey, sweetie, this bush is loaded with 'em. Bet I'm gonna fill up my container faster than you! Woohoo! Ouch! Ow! Ow! Crap! Ouch!" "Honey, do you think all this blood will make the pie taste funny?" "OUCH!"
3) Spend a good hour or so picking blackberries together. Throw in some singing, some tickling, lots of laughing, some kissing and hugging with your hubby, and make sure to eat almost as many blackberries as you pick, until your lips and tongue are bright purple and berry juice is dripping down your chin.
4) Stop at the store on the way home to get the pie crust and tapioca. Since you don't actually know what tapioca really is (it is not pudding, by the way) spend a long time cruising the isles too embarrassed to ask anyone for help, until you stumble upon it on a top shelf in the baking section, next to a variety of other items you've never heard of. Being somewhat loopy already, from picking berries in the hot sun and consuming all that natural sugar, have a mini giggling fit in the store. Always good for the amusement (or derision) of the other shoppers...
5) Arrive home and get all of the ingredients together and ready to go.
6) Realize that you forgot to get vanilla ice cream to put on the freshly-made pie. Offer to take one of the boys to get the ice cream if hubby and boy #2 will do the actual baking. (SCORE!) Spend an extra 20 minutes in the store, grabbing all the other general grocieries you need, thereby assuring that the pie will be almost ready by the time you return with the ice cream.
7) Return home to the smell of freshly-baked blackberry pie wafting throughout the house.
8) Sit down with the 3 people you love most in the world, each with a heaping helping of freshly made blackberry pie, loaded with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, and a glass of fresh, cold milk.
9) Participate in an all-around family high-five complete with a loud group cheer. "Woo Hoo!"
10) Dig in to a pie that was truly a family project. A pie that, while a teeny bit runny (probably needed a little more of that tapioca stuff), was quite gorgeous and very, very tasty. And a pie, in which the most important ingredients of all, were laughter and love.

Best. Damn. Pie. Ever.


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