Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blackberry-Apple Pie With Tapioca

Picking Apples

Picking Apples by Frederick Morgan

These are photos I took today, of my process of making this pie.

Even though the ground looks very dry, those bushes on the edge of the farm road are full of fruit.

Eaten right off the bush, they taste just right. There really is no need to make a pie. Just eat them plain, or add cream.

The apples, however, are very sour, so,  mixed with the berries, they make a perfect pie.

Apple-Blackberry Pie With Tapioca

(Tapioca is a natural product made from a fruit called tapioca, from South America, and it serves well to thicken pies which tend to have a lot of juice in them. It can be purchased by the box at the grocery store.)

3 c. fresh or frozen blackberries

3 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. butter

1 c. sliced apples

1 1/4 c. sugar

Combine blackberries and apples and place in a 9-inch pie pan lined with pastry shell. Combine sugar, tapioca, and cinnamon; stir well. Sprinkle sugar mixture over blackberries and apples. Dot with butter.

Cover with top crust. Cut several slits near center and seal edges. Bake at 350 degrees about one hour.

Sugar Substitutes: Use your preference regarding sweeteners: honey, frozen concentrate apple or white grape juice, beet sugar, date sugar, etc. Any fruit or berries that have been heated, will become less sweet and will need to be sweetened.

NOTE: Place foil or cookie sheet under pie while cooking should juices cook out.

This is how I prepare the filling: I first peel and slice the apples thinly and put them in a saucepan with a little water. Then I add sweetener such as honey or date sugar or whatever I have. I cook the apples until they are tender, and then I mix the berries and tapioca (which helps thicken the pie filling) right into that apple mixture and pour the whole thing into the prepared pie crust. I do not cook the berries, but only add them when the apples are tender.  You can get all kinds of pie crust recipes online and pick the one that works best for you.

 I quadrupled the recipe, as you can see, using a huge casserole dish.

Blackberries make a nice tea, too. Just put a few in the tea pot and add boiling water. Mash the berries with a spoon,

and pour through a strainer. Add honey to sweeten.

The apples from the tree taste good with the black berries. Around here, blackberry bushes are a nuisance, as they creep up around the foundations of the house, or come up everywhere that you don't want them. They are so common, and people are always trying to get rid of them, and yet, a small container of fresh blackberries in a store is very, very expensive!

Children Picking Blackberries

Children Picking Blackberries by Miles Foster

Picking Blackberries

Picking Blackberries by William McGeorge

Berry Pickers

Berry Pickers


Anonymous said...

What timely post. We just purchased blackberries at the store this morning with no real plan in mind. This will be perfect. :)

Linda C said...

Ohhh- your post hits "home" with me. Growing up, my grandpa would bring us (my parents and 7 children) a galvanized bucket full of wild blackberries in from around the fields he had been farming that day. Mom would freeze some, but we always knew a blackberry cobbler would be dessert that night after supper! --Blackberry bushes would never be a nuisance to me- hence, I am now a country girl in the city.

Thanks for the lovely memories and your wonderful recipe and tutorial!:)

Linda C

Anonymous said...

Oh, that looks scrumptous! I like the idea of the blackberry tea, too! I'll have to try this!

Anonymous said...

I too feel it's great to finally have a blackberry pastry recipe...and the tea looks lovely too. I will be making both ASAP!!
Lynn M

Anonymous said...

Lady Lydia,

My son and I just went blackberry picking again today. We do not have a garden or any fruit grown at home. There are blackberry bushes all over our county, and are considered a nuisence too. I have to tell you I love the berries. They are free, and generally organic. We have been picking them for the last month at least.
They are not far from home. We made jam with "Pomonas" pectin, that does not require sugar to set, just added sugar for taste, and froze some for the winter. We have been living richly; in the mornings we have them in big glass goblets topped with cream. I usually rinse the berries and put a little sugar on them, and let them sit in the fridge, and it makes a wonderful syrup. I use it to top plain yogurt, and we made blackberry shortcake.... when we needed to go pick again, I said to my husband it is hard to go with out berries knowing the whole county is covered in them...

Anonymous said...

That looks SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO....good.
L. Rose

Lydia said...

Letting the juice drain from the berries makes a syrup that is great for a drink in a small goblet, and it looks so pretty. You do have to add sweetener, and it is great to add whip cream. It truly is high living.

Gail said...

Foraging for wild food is one thing I really enjoy. Along with the blackberries, we used to pick black raspberries, found all about my home area. Exquisite! And my mother used to tell me about how she and her friends would get up before dawn and walk a few miles outside of town to go berry picking at the edge of the mountains (this was up in Vermont). They would pack their lunch and eat it out there in the country, then walk back and bring the berries home, even selling some of them door to door or to the restaurants. I am so amazed to think that children would be so industrious and enjoy it at the same time! This would have been in the 1920's.

Anonymous said...

Our blackberries are just starting to ripen and the really hot weather we've had lately has helped. Its going to be a great blackberry season because of the late spring rains.

I just picked the first bucketful Monday and got about 8 1/2 cups for my mom. I put them in the freezer for her so when she comes for a visit she'll get a surprise.

Love your recipe and the tutorial.
Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I use the Minute Tapioca for thickening my pies as well. I love tapioca pudding also.

Guess I'd better check and see how much is left. I'm sure after reading your post, I'm going to need more.
Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...



If you are looking at ways of using sour apples, apple jam/jelly is fabulous!! Crab apples make the best jam/jelly, but any wonderfully tart apple will do well. You've stolen my thunder re blackberry syrup as a drinks mixer; perfect with tonic water. the syrup could also be made into a granita, ice cream or sorbet.

for ladies who forrage for wild blackberry, be sure to check if your local council sprays the bushes; spraying is all too common in australia, so it is unwise to pick wild blackberries here, unfortunately, unless one is sure they haven't been 'treated' with herbicide. In our climate, they are a noxious weed and from what I gather, it is all but illegal to cultivate in one's home garden, due to the plant's weed status. Same goes for Privett; a fine enough hedging shrub in the Northern Hemisphere, but in aus, a rampant noxious weed that grows to the size of a large tree if kept unchecked, and virtually impossible to irradicate once it has gained a foothold.

Back to Blackberries, these are commercially cultivated here in Aus, have been for the past few years, and are available for around 3 weeks in late January, early February (the middle of our Summer). These make the best jam immaginable, or just eaten as they are, with cream, evapourated milk, custard, good vanilla ice cream...made into smoothies etc.

As for tapiocca, I adore it! tapiocca cream is delicious, and when cooked with coconut cream, rampae and palm sugar, it is heavenly! if you can get it, palm sugar (comes in a golden brown block you have to grate, from palm syrup) is full flavoured and fabulous, if you have a Sri Lankan or Southern Indian grocer in your area, ask for 'Jaggery' (the crystalized, dark palm sugar coal black) or syrup; very very very good, especially in coconut custard flavoured with rose water.

happy cooking!

Lydia said...

Looking at the 18th and 19th century paintings of people picking blackberries and seeing their expressions and enjoyment, connects me to my parents and grandparents and so forth, who did the same things. Being in a berry patch is more than just getting food: it is an artistic expression.It is sweetness itself to see the sun gleaming through those berries like stained glass windows, hear the birds and the wind in the leaves of nearby trees. Looking up in the blue sky as we walk home with buckets of berries is an all consuming experience. I hope everyone is teaching their children and grandchildren how to do this, every step of the way. When taking them on such adventures, I think it is important to tell them how to observe and listen and breathe the air. Raspberry patches smell wonderful. I used to take children in the stroller down the old path to the berries and sit them in the shade while I picked. I did not stay long, but they always looked forward to going. Breed the love of nature into your children and grandchildren and they will know where things come from and how to make things from raw materials. Think of all that could be made from these blackberries and apples: apple-berry juice, sauces, hot or iced tea. Just the sight of a bowl of apples of berries has inspired artists for centuries, and there are also arts and crafts that come from dried apples. You can make an ink for children to paint with from the berries, and you can use it for dyes. This is only a short list, as there is a multitude of things that surrounds the berry and apple picking activities; the kinds of things that occupied mothers and grandmothers and children, even grandfathers (our grandfather picks lots of berries!), for generations. Sometimes women think there is nothing to do at home, but even if you lived in a small area, you can plant a bush that will one day yield some fruit. After it is picked, there is the processing of the fruit, such as canning or freezing or drying. In the autumn or early spring you can prune the trees, and do all the things that need to be done to look after them. There is plenty to do at home!

Anonymous said...

The deer have been engorging themselves on the berries around our place this summer. Its fun to watch the fawns try everything their mothers are eating.

Bears also like berries. It might be wise to bang a wooden spoon on a pie pan as you walk along to pick. Its not fun to meet a bear in the berry patch especially when they have cubs with them. The noise should frighten them off before you get too close.

Happy berry picking.

Anonymous said...

After reading you post on berry picking my mother and step dad came by to pick berries with me. After we were done, we came into the house to have a tall glass of iced tea and a bit of homemade shortbread. Berries, iced tea and shortbread, now that's a cool treat for a hot day.

A Still Small Voice said...

Just to let you know, I have put your site under the "Sites to Visit" section of my blog.

Anonymous said...

Our blackberries are scrubby here in Tennessee, but where I used to live in WA state, we would bring them home from the roadside by the huge mixing-bowl full. Each berry was very large.

I am the reader who mentioned hedges a while back, and I am still looking at making a hedgerow out of crabapples. You can espelier them to form the shape of a wooden fence, growing out of the ground. I love crabapples in my cranberry sauce for thanksgiving - they are good to mix with other fruits, you are right.

Another good "wild" fruit is the dog-rose hip. High in vit. C, and good to mix in jellies. Elderberries, another traditional English hedge, prevent and/or shorten flus. Their fruit is prolific and hardy.

The pictures you put up this time are, I think, my favorites so far, they are so sweet.

Lydia said...

I wonder if elderberrries would grow in this region. Dewberries and marionberries are also some that I would like to plant here. Anyone who has any yard at all, however small, can plant berries that will thrive in their climate, and provide a little food for the table.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I wish they were growing wild around here! I bought frozen blackberries last year and made the most delicious jam!

The paintings are beautiful as well!

Mrs. V. said...

Lady Lydia, I love the canister set with the roses! Did you decorate them yourself or did you purchase them that way? So pretty~~

I *love* blackberry cobbler. It is my favorite kind.

Anonymous said...

To the ladies writing/enquiring about elderberries, elderflower is a traditional indgredient in English syrups and cordials, and this syrup is used as an ingredient in gooseberry desserts and sweets of all types; costs $$$ to buy commercially outside the UK, but if your elderberry plants are indeed true elderberry, you've got the resources at your fingertips; just do an internet search on elderflower preparations, recipes and useages.


Lydia said...

I prefer the pie without the cinnamon or any flavorings. It tastes better to me with just the sweetener.

The cannisters were sent to me from a friend, who got them online ... just type in "Pink cannisters." Although they come with the pictures to paste on yourself, I would recommend you go to The Decal Cottage online and get some of those, for a smoother finish.

Tonya Gunn said...

This is just what I am baking for our guests today! We have been picking both.

Anonymous said...

I'm under the impression that elderberry is pretty tough, and that your climate is similar in some ways to England.
The only problem I'm having is finding some of these plants for sale in the US, even with websearches.
I think it would be worth it to collect the tedious tiny berries of this plant. We have a large family and have used the berry syrup with good success whenever the kids have a fever-type sickness. It is very rare that it doesn't reverse the flu symptoms within a half a day. Giving fever-reducers like Tylenol gives temporary relief, but prolongs the period of time that you are sick, allowing ear infections, etc., to develop.

Right now we order dried berries, and quickly boil a dose of syrup from them whenever we need it - much cheaper than buying it bottled. We depend on it!

Lydia said...

Elderberries are found growing wild in the hilly and mountainous forests here, and are available in abundant clumps which you pick like grapes. If you have a hunters in your family, they can bring home huge amounts of them, as they often go into difficult terrain where these are growing. The fruit is delicious when made into jams and syrups.

Anonymous said...

That looks so delicious-love the tea idea too. I'll have to try that with my kids.