Homemade Blackberry Pie is my favorite pie! Plump, juicy blackberries in a warm, sweet syrup, oozing out of flaky crusts… I am picky about my pies, but when it’s made right, a juicy blackberry pie with a dollop of vanilla ice cream is just the ticket.
How to make homemade blackberry pie
I start with a bag of frozen blackberries, because blackberries don’t grow wild out here, like they did back in the Midwest. But if you want to use fresh berries, that works exactly the same. Just rinse them well and begin.
Put the berries in a kettle, add just enough water to almost cover the berries, 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.
When the berries come to a simmer, add sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Stir occasionally till it boils.
While the berries are cooking, stir together the Clear-Jell and cold water in a small dish. I buy Clear Jell from Amazon. (affiliate link) Note: You can substitute Cornstarch for the clear jel, just check the recipe notes for changed amount.
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.
Tips for blackberry pie
Cornstarch thickens more as it cools, but Clear Jell reaches its full thickening when it comes to a boil.
This recipe is developed for domestic, store-bought blackberries. If you use wild blackberries, they will definitely need more sugar! They make better pies, in my opinion, but they are more tart. Fresh berries work great in this recipe, too. This goes well with my Pie Crust Recipe.
How many blackberries in a cup?
There are about 25 blackberries in a standard measuring cup. This is assuming that you are using store-boughten or domestic blackberries. If you are using wild blackberries, they are much smaller and a cup may hold as many as 50-60 berries.
Can I use frozen blackberries for pie?
Yes! Absolutely! I usually use frozen berries because they are readily available and taste just the same as fresh from the produce aisle.
Can I freeze blackberry pie filling?
Yes, but only if you use Clear Gel. If you thicken it with cornstarch, it may ‘break’ or become watery when you thaw it. Place in a freezer bag or container, label and place in freezer til ready to use. To defrost, place bag in fridge for several days, til thawed, then use in pies, cobblers, etc.
Midwest summer heat and picking wild blackberries
Now I have a little story for you about blackberry-picking in the Midwest, something you can read while waiting for the pie to bake…
Big 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.
Homemade Blackberry Pie Recipe
- 1 16 oz bag frozen blackberries or 3 cups
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- juice from 1/2 lemon about 2 Tablespoons
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tablespoons clear jell Check recipe notes for substitute
- 2 pie crust
- 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.
- Mix Clear Jell and 1/4 cup water in a cup. Stir with spoon till dissolved.
- Taste the blackberry mix to see if it tastes ok. Add more sugar or lemon juice, if needed.
- 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!
- 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.