It was the Blackberry Pie recipe from What a Cook Ought to Know about Corn Starch (1909) that inspired mine. I love the bare-bones filling instructions: “Wash blackberries, drain and fill plate quite full. Sprinkle well with sugar. Sift over all, one generous tablespoon . . . [cornstarch].” Done and done. I added lime juice and zest (for a little zing), a bit of butter atop my filling (for richness), and arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch (for a less cloudy filling), and tucked it all into a tender and flaky cream cheese crust.
Cream Cheese Piecrust
2 cups plus 6 Tbsp [335 g] all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 oz [230 g] cream cheese, chilled, cubed
1 cup [220 g] unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, chilled
1 Tbsp ice water
1 1/3 cups [265 g] granulated sugar
1 Tbsp grated lime zest
6 Tbsp [50 g] arrowroot powder
6 cups [720 g] fresh blackberries (do not use frozen)
2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
Splash of heavy cream
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving
For the crust Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processer fitted with the metal blade and process briefly to combine. Add the cream cheese and butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add the vinegar and ice water slowly, pulsing the machine as you do. Once a bit of dough can be pinched together between two fingers and hold its shape, dump it into a medium bowl and, using your hands, bring the dough together into 2 disks. Wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
Preheat the oven to 425°F [220°C]. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Remove one disk from the refrigerator, lightly flour a work surface, and roll it into a 10- or 11-in [25- or 28-cm] circle. Place it in the pie plate and transfer to the refrigerator.
For the filling In a large bowl, combine the sugar and the zest and, using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar. Add the arrowroot, the blackberries, and the lime juice. Toss with your hands to combine. Transfer the filling to the pie plate and dot the top with the butter.
Roll out the other half of dough into an 11-in [28-cm] circle. Using a pastry cutter or paring knife, cut the circle into 1-in [2.5-cm] strips. Transfer the strips to the prepared baking sheet, and, if your kitchen is warm, refrigerate briefly. If not, proceed with assembly.
Drape 6 or 7 strips of dough across the pie horizontally, leaving a little space between each one. Fold back every other strip halfway across the pie and place a strip across vertically at the halfway point. Fold the horizontal strips back over the vertical one. Fold back every other horizontal strip (different strips than you folded the last time), and place down another strip vertically. Continue doing so until you have latticed half the pie, and then do the other half. Trim the excess dough before decoratively crimping the edges.
For the egg wash Combine the egg and cream in a small bowl, and brush it on the latticed dough. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for15 minutes, decrease the heat to 375°F [190°C], and bake for an additional 55 to 60 minutes, until the pie filling bubbles in the center of the pie. Tent the crust with aluminum foil after 30 minutes.
Let cool to room temperature, 4 hours, before serving with ice cream or whipped cream. The pie will keep loosely wrapped in plastic wrap on the counter for up to 3 days.
Reprinted from The Vintage Baker by Jessie Sheehan with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018
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