Category Archives: Pies

Blackberry Pie Recipe

blackberry pie recipeBig drops of sweat ran down my face as I gently pulled the briars away from my skirt. I gingerly stomped at the base of the brambles ahead of me, trying to mash them down away from me, so they wouldn’t grab my clothes and skin. I steadied the plastic ice-cream bucket with my other hand, careful not to allow any berries to spill.

I picked all the ripe blackberries within reach, then carefully reached through the briars to pick a few more. I reached as far as I could without spilling my bucket of berries, or falling face-first into the briars. No matter how careful I was, I would get my arm caught on a thorn, then I’d grit my teeth as I unhooked my skin. Sweat ran down my face and down my back and down my legs.

The bees buzzed lazily around the sweet blossoms, and crawled over the ripe, juicy berries. Ants scurried over the berries, too, getting their fill of the sweetness. Every so often, I’d have to pick a tick off my arms or my dress. But they were less annoying than the chiggers that I would certainly find the following day. We’d rub Avon ‘Skin-So-Soft’ oil all over our arms and legs before we began, but it didn’t work that great. We still came home loaded with ticks and chiggers.

After several hours of picking wild blackberries in the soggy, stifling heat, Mom would finally sigh and say: “Well, I guess that’s as much as we can get today. We better go home.”

Sweeter words were never spoken.

We’d untie the scarves from our waists, carefully pouring our buckets of berries into the huge, stainless steel bowls. We’d climb wearily into the van, picking off the last few briars and sticks and other debris from hours trampling around in brambles higher than our heads.

If mom had a bit of extra money, she’d stop at the Little Red Barn on the way home, and buy us an ice cream cone. It didn’t make up for picking blackberries, but it sure was delicious! I would lick the ice cream as fast as I could, trying to get every drop of cool sweetness before it dripped and was wasted. The hot summer sun burned down and the wind from the open windows felt hot, not cooling at all. But with no AC, moving air seemed better than still air, somehow.

When we arrived at home, mom carefully washed the berries, and spread them on a clean towel to dry. Then she would put them in bags and into the freezer. They would make many delicious pies all year long.

But she didn’t freeze all of them – she made pie, too. And jam. But the pie was my favorite! We’d have blackberry pie for dessert, Saturday evening, then we would have a slice for breakfast Sunday morning. It was the most delicious thing I ever ate! It tasted like hot sun and sweet summertime and mom’s love.blackberry pie-3

Here is my personal recipe for blackberry pie. Mom never measured, and I don’t either. We add and taste! But just for you, I measured. I measured several times, over several weeks, trying to perfect the taste. I think I have it!

Now, I don’t live in the blackberry mecca of the Midwest, anymore. There aren’t any blackberry bushes out here, that I have found. So, I start with frozen blackberries from the grocery store.

Put them in a kettle, add some water, and let them simmer. You don’t want too much water or you will end up with a lot of sauce and not much fruit. The berries really cook down! Also, I buy Clear Jell from Amazon. You can substitute corn starch, but I do not know the ratio.
When the berries come to a simmer, add sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Stir occasionally till it boils.

Add the clear jell mixture, and stir quickly because it begins to thicken almost immediately. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. You can fill your crust immediately, or let the filling cool. Either way works.

–Cornstarch thickens more as it cools. Clear Jell reaches its full thickening when it boils.

–This recipe is crafted for tame, store-bought blackberries. if you use wild berries, they will definitely need more sugar! They make better pies, in my opinion, but they are much more tart. :) Fresh berries work great, too. 

–This goes well with my Pie Crust Recipe. 😉

5.0 from 1 reviews
Blackberry Pie Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 1 16 oz bag frozen blackberries (or 3 cups)
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 TBLS butter
  • juice from ½ lemon (about 2 TBLS)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 TBLS clear jell
  • 2 9-inch pie crust
  1. Put berries in large saucepan, add water. Bring to a simmer, add sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Simmer till sugar is dissolved, and butter is melted, stirring occasionally.
  2. Mix Clear Jell and ¼ cup water in a cup. Stir with spoon till dissolved.
  3. Taste the blackberry mix to see if it tastes ok. Add more sugar or lemon juice, if needed.
  4. Stir in the clear jell and bring to a boil. Caution! At this point it will bubble and splash, and the filling is quite hot!
  5. Once it is at a boil and the filling is no longer cloudy, remove from heat and let cool. Fill one pie crust and top with second crust. Pinch edges closed, and bake at 350* for 1 hour.


Zucchini Pie

zucchinipieThe legend of the multiplying zucchini is everywhere… don’t leave your door unlocked in summer, or you will find boxes of zucchini piled high! 😉
Well, if that’s the case for you – I have a recipe that will make you want more!

Zucchini pie.


OK, it’s basically pumpkin pie, but who cares? 😀  Zucchini needs used, and here’s a good way to use it, right?

First, you wash the zucchini, and cut it into chunks. Big chunks are fine. If there’s big seeds, maybe scrape them into the trash. No need to peel.
Then you plop them in a big ‘ole kettle, and put some water with them, and let them cook till tender.
Drain off the water, dump them in a blender, and give ’em a whirl. Actually, give them several whirls – you really want the puree smooth.
Then it’s ready to use.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! It is my favorite way of using zucchini, and my family’s favorite way of eating it! :)

Zucchini pie

Zucchini Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 pieces
  • 1 pie crust, unbaked
  • 1 cup zucchini puree
  • 1¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 TBS flour
  • ¼ tsp. cloves (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg (optional)
  1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend well.
  2. Pour into a 9 inch pie shell.
  3. Bake at 350* for 1 hour.


Cooking For The Ranch Crew ~ Part 2: Cooking

When you are cooking for the ranch crew, it is most important that you think ahead to how you will be serving. Will you be serving in the field or at the house? And what time will they be coming in to eat? In my experience, they don’t usually know exactly when they will be in, so you need to make sure it’s ready at noon, but be able to hold it warm till 2 pm or even later if necessary! :)

Some of the cowboys I feed regularly.

Some of the cowboys I feed regularly.

cooking for the ranch crew


Think about how much oven space you will need, and how much time stuff will take to cook. You don’t want to have 3 pans of dinner rolls and a pan of baked beans and a dessert, all needing to go into the oven at the same time! :) So think about what can be baked earlier in the morning.
I like to bake my dessert first, and then my rolls, and then stick in the beans, corn, or whatever other hot dish I may have. Pies, cobblers, and breads can be served cool. They will still be delicious, since they are fresh. But you don’t want lukewarm beans!

If I am doing a roast, I like to stick it in the crockpot or oven the night before. Then it will be super-tender by lunch.  If I am doing a smoked brisket, I will put it in the oven (or electric roaster) in the morning, and let it heat slowly. Those come pre-cooked. 



So my cooking day looks something like this:
1. Mix up dinner rolls.
2. While the rolls are rising, I make my pies. When the pies are ready for the oven, so are the rolls. I stick the rolls in the oven. After the rolls come out, I bake the pies. NOTE: I really try to bake my pies the day before, because that makes cooking day so much easier! But sometimes life happens, and I don’t get it done till the day of.
3. I make my salad. If I am also having a jello salad, I like to make that a day ahead, too. But sometimes it doesn’t happen till day of, either! 😉
4. Next, I make my potatoes, and start my veggies. By now it will be getting close to noon. I start checking off things, mentally. Bread? Dessert? Salad? Veggie? Potatoes? Meat? I may put some butter out to soften, for the bread, and get a fresh jar of jam out. Fill the salt&pepper shakers… just make sure things are there.
5. By noon, or shortly thereafter, you should have all your food ready. If everything is done, just turn the oven as low as you can, and set stuff in there to keep warm. They may be late, but if it’s all ready, then you can relax. It’s better to keep stuff warm for awhile, than to be unprepared! :) Once they showed up at 11:30, and that was a bit nerve-wracking, as I wasn’t ready. (Of course, they expect to wait if they are early, but I still don’t like it.)

Baked corn

Baked corn


cheddar and chive mashed potatoes.

cheddar and chive mashed potatoes.

I am thankful to have several kids I can call on to make a last minute sweep of toys, shoes, and other junk that needs put away. Put a large towel and plenty of soap by the bathroom sink. It’s the little things, you know?

Set the table, (make sure you have large glasses for water!) put out the jam, butter, napkins, toothpicks. Get a jug of ice-water ready to pour. You want to be as ready as you can get before they come in. Well, OK, that’s kinda my thing. I hate waiting on a meal, so I try to not make others wait! 😉

Pumpkin pie. They look brown-er because I used home cooked pumpkin, and lots of cinnamon. :)

Pumpkin pie. They look brown-er because I used home cooked pumpkin, and lots of cinnamon. :)

Here is the menu I used in Part 1:
(some are linked to recipes)
Beef Roast
Mashed Potatoes

Green Beans (Drizzle with a bit of browned butter for a tasty flavor!)
Broccoli Salad
Jello Salad
Dinner Rolls
Homemade Pies
with ice cream.

Tom Wilson and Don Berry.

Tom Wilson and Don Berry.



Old-Fashioned Custard Apple Pie

custard apple pie


Apple pie is delicious anyway you make it, I believe. This is an old recipe from a Mennonite Cookbook that my mom had when I was a kid. I made it first when I was about 15, and have loved it ever since. It is an open-faced pie, and it has a yummy custard layer under the apples.

First, mix the flour and sugar and spread in an unbaked pie shell.
custard apple pie

Then place the apple slices on top, and carefully pour the milk mixture over the apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and dot with butter.custard apple pie

Bake at 350 for an hour. Serve warm or cool. A scoop of ice cream on the side pushes it over the top! :)

custard apple pie


Pie-baking tip: Most pies can be baked at 350º for one hour. The edges never burn, and the bottom crust is sure to be done. Yes, sometimes it ‘cooks out’ a bit, but don’t overfill your pies, and it will be fine. I bake every pie like this. 

Old-Fashioned Custard Apple Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 6 tart apples
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 TBL
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ cups milk
  • Pastry for one 9 inch pan
  1. Mix sugar and flour together and spread in pastry shell.
  2. Pare apples and cut in quarters; fit tightly together in shell, on op of flour mix.
  3. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon and dot with butter.
  4. Pour milk over the mixture.
  5. Bake at 350 for one hour.


How about you? Do you have a standard baking time for pies? Or do you just follow the recipe?

Home-made Apple Pie Filling

apple pie filling

What says comfort and down-home cookin’ like a warm apple pie?!  Like many people, I think my mom makes the best pies! :) So of course I learned from her, and make them ‘like mom does’.

When I was 12, my parents bought a bakery from our Preacher’s wife. I worked in that bakery every summer from age 12 till I married. (at age 19!) I hated it, quite frankly. But it definitely gave me experience in baking. :) I soon realized that I enjoyed making pies more than most other things, so I was the pie-maker for the last 3-4 summers that I worked there. We made anywhere from 20-40 pies a week, depending on the market.

I have had several requests for my apple pie filling recipe, so today I thought I would share mine with you all.

First you peel the apples. Core them, slice or dice, as you desire. Put them in a big kettle – with enough room to do some serious stirring. This filling can splatter! Add sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, and water. Simmer for 5-10 min, depending on how soft you like your apples.

apple pie fillingMeanwhile, mix water and Clear-Jell in a small bowl. It will seem thick at first, just keep stirring, and it will dissolve nicely. Clear-jell does not get lumpy! So nice…

clear jell/water mixture

clear jell/water mixture

When the apples are softened, pour the Clear-jell mixture into the apples in a thin stream, stirring the apples quickly. The Clear-jell starts to set very quickly, so keep stirring and stirring as you slowly pour the Clear-jell in. As the filling starts to thicken, it will start to bubble up and splatter. These splatters are hot! I recommend using an oven mitt on the hand you are stirring with. You can turn the heat to low, too.

apple pie fillingKeep stirring constantly till the Clear-jell is all mixed in, and the filling is thick. It will set up and thicken a bit more as it cools, but not much.

apple pie filling

When the Clear-jell is all mixed in, and the filling has returned to a boil, (bubbling) remove from heat and cool.

Pour into prepared pie crust and bake.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

Having trouble finding Clear-Jell? I buy mine from Amazon:
Hoosier Hill Farm Clear Jel, 1.5 Lbs.  It lasts a long time.

Here is a post on how I make the pie crust: Easy, Flaky Pie Crust
I am sharing this recipe over at one of my favorite blogs:Nancherrow.


Home-made Apple Pie Filling
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2 pies
  • 3 lbs apples, peel, core, slice
  • Water to nearly cover apples in pan
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 3 TBL butter
  • Juice of one lemon, or 3 TBL ReaLemon(can omit if apples are very tart.)
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 3 TBL Clear-Jell
  • ½ cup cold water
  1. Peel, core and slice apples.
  2. Place apples in a large pan and add water till apples are nearly covered.
  3. Add butter, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.
  4. Cook 5-10 minutes, or till apples are softened. (not mushy!)
  5. Mix ½ cup cold water and Clear-JEll.
  6. Pour Clear-Jell slowly into the apples, while stirring apples quickly.
  7. Bring apple filling mix to a boil, (bubbling slowly) and remove from heat.
  8. Cool. Pour into prepared pie crusts and bake at 350* for one hour.


French Rhubarb Pie

Rhubarb… mmm! Anyone else as crazy about rhubarb as I am?! I love the tangy taste, the unique flavor it brings to any recipe. Rhubarb is one of my favorite jams, and certainly one of my favorite pies!

I am thankful that there are a few plants growing here on the ranch, although – granted, they have been neglected for years and therefore don’t produce much. But with time and care, I am hoping to eventually get some growth going. This year there was enough for this one pie. I treasured every bite! 😀

Here’s how I made it:

Mix the chopped rhubarb with the egg, sugar, vanilla and flour. Mix well and place in prepared pie crust.rhubarb pie

Using a pastry blender, mix the butter, oats, flour, and brown sugar together. Sprinkle it on top of the rhubarb mixture.
rhubarb pie

Bake at 350* for one hour.

rhubarb piefrench rhubarb pie

4.0 from 1 reviews
French Rhubarb Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 TBLS flour
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb, chopped
  • ¾ cups flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 prepared pie crust
  1. Beat together the first 4 ingredients.
  2. Stir in rhubarb.
  3. Pour into unbaked pie crust.
  4. Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, and butter, sprinkle on top of teh rhubarb mixture.
  5. Bake for 1 hour at 350*.
  6. Cool and serve.


Do you enjoy rhubarb?

Do you have any tips to help me grow my plants? :) I would much appreciate it.

Amish-Style Shoo-Fly Pie

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You are probably wondering what Shoo-Fly pie is, right? I mean, it has never made the big time – at least outside of Amish country. But I do enjoy a delicious piece of shoo-fly pie! So I thought, “why not?” Maybe you would enjoy it as well!



For those of you unfamiliar with shoo-fly pie, it is a molasses crumb pie. The bottom layer is gooey and sweet, and the top is a crumble. As usual, there are many variations and style. Some people make a style with no gooey bottom layer – but frankly, that is the best part! :) As I mentioned before, my mom was an amazing pie-baker… she often made this pie, along with apple, cherry, pumpkin, and more. I loved it.

Start with a prepared pie crust. You can use this recipe: Easy, Flaky Pie Crust


Mix the crumble ingredients together with a pastry blender. Set aside 3/4 cup crumbs for topping. To the remaining crumbs, add the Karo, molasses, egg, and water.



Mix the soda with an additional 1/4 cup hot water, and stir into mixture.




Pour wet mixture into pie crust, sprinkle with reserved crumbs.


Please ignore the lumps in this mix. While I normally use a blender to mix this part – I used a whip this time, and it left lumps. But no worries – they ‘bake out’. :)









Bake at 350º for 45 minutes. Eat with a dollop of ice cream and some hot coffee! :)

How about you? Have you ever heard of Shoo-Fly pie? Ever eaten it?

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Amish-Style Shoo-Fly Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Amish
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup flour
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ¾ cup dark Karo
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 cup hot water, divided
  • 1 tsp soda
  1. Combine flour, butter, and brown sugar..
  2. Save ¾ cup crumbs for topping. to the rest, add:
  3. Karo, molasses, egg, and water. Mix well.
  4. Mix ¼ cup additional hot water with soda, add to mixture.
  5. Pour into unbaked pie shell.
  6. Sprinkle crumbs on top.
  7. Bake for 45 min at 350.