I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Blackberry Sugar Pie

If you scroll through the Sweets section on The Runaway Spoon, you may notice a host of very simple pie recipes.  Because I think pie is a perfect dessert, for the cook and the consumer.  The variety of wonderful things that can be packed into a pie crust is extraordinary.  And with little effort, you have a comforting treat that is sure to please.  Once you master a simple pie crust, you are ready for all eventualities.  But truthfully, I take no issue with a store-bought crust, though I prefer the pre-rolled kind to the already in a tin plate kind.

This particular recipe came to me by the circuitous route so many recipes seem to follow.  I bought a used community cookbook, in great condition, and as I leafed through the pages, a slip of slightly yellowed paper fell out.  On it was written: “Pie Put blkbrries in crust  Mix 2 c sugar 1 c flour 1 c milk  Bake. “ These are the culinary mysteries that intrigue me, suck me in until I am elbow deep in flour and sugar trying to figure out if this mystical scribbling can really be true.  Sometimes I find them on the pages of community cookbooks, sometimes I have to decipher my own back-of-napkin hieroglyphics, and sometimes they fall out of the sky, like this one.

So, as is my wont, I set out to decode this little gem.  It worked the very first time.  I fiddled a bit, with the amount of sugar and blackberries, and I added vanilla extract for a little depth.  But the mysterious scribbler had it right.  The filling is very sweet, but it balances perfectly with the tartness of the blackberries.  All tucked under a crackly, sugary carapace.  It is very much like one of my greatest childhood memories, blackberries fresh from the bramble, sprinkled with sugar and doused with cold milk, in convenient pie form.

Blackberry Sugar Pie

Gently rinse the blackberries, then lay them out on a tea towel to dry completely.  Discard any bruised or squished berries.

1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust (homemade or bought ready-rolled)

12 – 14 ounces fresh blackberries

1 cup flour

2 cups sugar

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat to oven to 350 degrees.  Fit the pie crust into a deep-dish pie plate.

Fill the prepared crust with blackberries, fitting in as many as you can.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, milk and vanilla.  Stir until the mixture is very well combined.  Slowly pour the sugar mixture over the berries in the pie, filling all the spaces in-between berries.  Roll the berries around gently so they all have a little of the filling clinging to them, and push as many under the filling as possible.

Carefully transfer the pie to the oven and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the pie is puffed up in the center and slightly golden.  It should only slightly wobble from side to side when you gently shake it, not jiggle all over.  Cool the pie on a wire rack.  The center will deflate, but that’s to be expected.  When the pie is cool, chill in the fridge until ready to serve.   The whole pie can be kept in the fridge for 2 days, but after it is cut, it will fall apart a bit.

Serves 6 – 8

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