Blackberry Buttermilk Pie

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It’s officially Spring!  Which means it’s officially time for blackberries.  They have been harder to find lately (thanks again Harvey and winter ice days) but Will and I love to find a good berry spot, pick a bucket-full and then find tasty ways to use them.  Many of mine go towards jelly-making and Will tends to choose cobblers for his stash.  However, this time we wanted something different from the usual and this pie completely satisfied.

This recipe stemmed from two key factors – we had a small amount of blackberries to use and some buttermilk leftover from another cooking venture.  The results were delicious! It looks a lot more complicated that it really is and I love the homemade crust here to play into the rustic, homey look of the pie.  This pie is so tasty warm from the oven as well as ice cold the next day.  I think we came up with a keeper!

So… anyone have any berry patches that need picking???


Blackberry Buttermilk Pie

For the pie crust (this recipe makes 2 pie crusts):

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

For the filling:

  • 6 oz blackberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ c sugar
  • ½ c butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Rinse and dry the blackberries. Place the berries in a large bowl and cover with ¼ cup sugar. Toss them up a little then press and mash the blackberries with a fork or small masher so they begin to release the juices.  You are macerating the berries to  bring out their full sweetness.  You can also add a shot of liquor here in the macerating process – rum or whiskey would probably be nice here – I won’t tell if you add it in!

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Let the berries sit, stirring and mashing them occasionally, until the berries are to your desired consistency and sweetness.  This will take typically 45 minutes up to an hour.

Preheat oven to 400.

It’s time to mix up the pie dough!  You can absolutely slide in a premade refrigerated crust here, this is just an opportunity to be a little fancy in our pie-making with a simple homemade pie crust.  The only big trick is to use ice-cold butter when you are mixing up the dough.  The “pebbles” of butter then melt when baking and make for a flaky pie crust. This recipe makes two pie crusts – freeze one, or bake two pies!

Combine the flour and salt in a food processor.  I like using the food processor here, it works the flour and butter together nicely without softening the butter.

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Gradually pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles.

Move the dough to a large bowl.  Lightly beat one egg with a fork, and then add it to the mixture. Add in the cold water and vinegar. Mix the mixture together until it’s just combined, and then remove half the dough from the bowl.  Again, you want to keep the butter cold so work it at little as possible so that the heat from your hands doesn’t melt the butter.

To freeze half the pie dough, place one half of the dough in a large plastic bag (do not seal it) and slightly flatten the dough with a rolling pin. This makes it much easier to thaw and roll out the crust later.  After flattening, seal the bag tightly and freeze.

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To bake one pie crust, place half the dough on a lightly floured surface. With a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough from the center, outward.

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Place in a lightly-sprayed pie pan and pinch or crimp the edges.  I kinda like a rustic-looking pie crust.  That may be that I lack the patience to perfectly roll out, trim and crimp the edges but I heartily accept that about me.  So, you do you on the crust here 🙂

Lightly cover the dough with foil so the edges don’t burn while baking. Press the foil gently down into the pan and fill with pie weights, or dried beans. This holds the pie crust down a bit as it bakes so that it doesn’t form air pockets that bubble up then shrink back down as baking.

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Bake until golden, about 10-12 minutes.

Remove pie weights, or dried beans, and the foil from the pie crust.  Let the crust sit while you mix up the filling. (Save those beans – they will still make a great pot!)

Decrease oven temperature to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk together three eggs and 1 ½ cups sugar until the mix is a pale yellow color. Whisk in the butter, buttermilk, lemon juice and vanilla.

Whisk in the flour, ground nutmeg and salt until smooth.

Pour the macerated blackberries into the cooked pie crust.

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Pour the buttermilk filling on top of the blackberries.  Some of the berries or juice may mix or float up to the top a little and that’s okay!  It’s nice to see a few berries at the top after it bakes.

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Bake for 45-50 minutes. The center of the pie will still be a little jiggly, but it should hold it’s crust on top as you transfer it out of the oven.  Let the pie cool on the counter for a few minutes before serving to set up all the way.

This pie is delicious warm from the oven with whipped cream or ice cream.  It’s equally lovely the next day cold from the fridge.  So basically, this pie is a win-win!

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Full Recipe

Blackberry  Buttermilk Pie

For the pie crust (this recipe makes 2 pie crusts):

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold butter
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

For the filling:

  • 6 oz blackberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ c sugar
  • ½ c butter, melted and cooled
  • 3 T flour
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Place blackberries in a large bowl and cover with ¼ cup sugar.

Press and mash the blackberries with a fork or small masher so they begin to release the juices.

Let sit, stirring and mashing now and then, until berries are to desired consistency and sweetness, 45 minutes to an hour.

Preheat oven to 400.

Make the pie crust:

Combine the flour and salt in a food processor.

Gradually pulse in the butter until the mixture resembles tiny pebbles.

Move the dough to a large bowl.

Lightly beat one egg with a fork, and then add it to the mixture.

Next, add in the cold water and vinegar.

Mix the mixture together until it’s just combined, and then remove half the dough from the bowl.

To freeze half the dough:

Place one half of the dough in a large plastic bag (do not seal) and slightly flatten with a rolling pin. This makes it much easier to roll out the crust later.

After flattening, seal the bag tightly.

To bake half the dough:

Place half the dough on a lightly floured surface.

With a rolling pin, begin rolling the dough from the center, outward.

Place in a lightly-sprayed pie pan and pinch the edges.

Cover the dough with foil.

Fill with pie weights, or dried beans,and bake until golden, about 10-12 minutes. 

Remove crust from the oven and remove pie weights, or dried beans, and the foil from the crust.

Decrease oven temperature to 350.

Make the filling:

In a large bowl, whisk together three eggs and 1 ½ cups sugar until a light yellow color.

Whisk in the butter, buttermilk, lemon juice and vanilla.

Whisk in the flour, ground nutmeg and salt until smooth.

Pour macerated blackberries into cooked pie crust.

Pour buttermilk filling on top of blackberries.

Bake for 45-50 minutes.

Center will still be a little jiggly, let cool on counter for a few minutes before serving.

Freezer Meal: Make Ahead Mini Chicken Pot Pies

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I love to have ready-to-go meals in the freezer for a few reasons: they are easy to share with friends and family, they are great food gifts when someone needs a night or two free from dinner planning and prepping, and there is always a time or two when you just want to grab something out of the freezer, warm it up and relax for the night.  These Make Ahead Mini Chicken Pot Pies are perfect for all of these reasons.

Chicken Pot Pie is such a classic comfort food.  The crust, the veggies, the gravy… it all just makes for a warm, tummy-filling dinner.  This recipe makes 6 mini CPPs – and while they may look small, one CPP is a pretty filling dinner!  Will and I are pretty adamant about the double-crust on a good CPP so these have a layer of premade pie dough on both the bottom and top.   You can be fancy and make your own pie dough for these… but if I am looking for a quick, easy freezer meal I’m going to reach in the cold case for the premade version.

Plan ahead and pick up 6-7 mini aluminum loaf pans when you plan on making this recipe.  I find them in the baking aisle with all the other disposable aluminum baking pans.  These also add to the no-fuss, individualized gift-giving option of the CPP – who wants to worry about giving/getting back a dish?! 😉  I’ve also easily doubled this recipe and made up to 15 CPPs to freeze at a time.  Heads up if you double – I usually feel that the gravy doesn’t thicken as much as I like it to in the doubled version and add a little cornstarch slurry as it cooks to help it out.  We’ll talk about that more down in the recipe.

Did a new neighbor just move in? Do you have a friend with a busy week that could use a go-to dinner? Try these Make Ahead Mini Chicken Pot Pies out and share!  I won’t tell though if you make a batch just for your own freezer… 🙂


Make Ahead Mini Chicken Pot Pies

 Yield: six pot pies per recipe

  • 1 ½ -2 lbs. chicken – breast, thigh, tenders – boneless and diced
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 48 oz. chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/3 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1 shallot or onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas
  • 15 oz. box refrigerated pie crust (two pie crusts)
  • Disposable aluminum mini loaf pans (at least 6 per recipe)

Remove the pie crusts from their box and set on the the counter to warm to room temperature.  Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  If I am making one recipe, I tend to use chicken tenders or breasts, whichever is on sale at the store when I shop for groceries.  If I am doubling the recipe, I’ll grab one package of white meat and a package of chicken thighs.  Thighs are incredibly tasty, and inexpensive, and they work well in this dish.  Use whatever you like or have on hand!

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Brown the chicken until cooked through, about 7-8 minutes – work in batches if you are doubling the recipe so that you don’t crowd and cool the pan.  Remove the cooked chicken to a plate and set aside.

Melt the butter in the now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the carrots, celery and shallot or onion.  Don’t forget when you are chopping up your celery:  there is a ton of great flavor in the leaves of the celery stalks.  Use the bright green, tender leaves in the center of your bunch (on the left of the picture below) and avoid the darker, larger leaves on the outside (top-right of the picture below) for best taste.

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Stir occasionally and cook the veggies until lightly browned and softened.

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Add the flour to the veggies and whisk for about 1 minute, making a light roux.

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Add the broth and milk and whisk until it thickens, about 5 minutes or so.  Remove from heat.

This is where we need to talk about the cornstarch slurry.  As you can see from the picture above, when I make a double batch of these CPPs, as was the case in these photos, I start the gravy in a separate pot.  This is just because in a double batch there are a TON of veggies to incorporate.  It does take longer to thicken in a double batch and in this instance it wasn’t getting as thick as I liked.  Think about what you want – the sauce will thicken a little as it cools, but you want a sort of biscuits-and-gravy, custardy consistency to this so that it is scoopable to place into the pie crusts and so that it freezes well.  As the gravy was cooking, I ended up adding a slurry of about 1/4 cup of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water.  That definitely helped to get things going!

Add the cooked chicken (and veggies if using a separate pot to make the gravy) to the thickened gravy.  Taste and adjust your seasoning if needed.  Set this aside or in the fridge to cool completely.  I have even made the CPP filling the night before and let the whole batch chill in the fridge overnight until ready to scoop into CPPs.  (I know you see peas in that picture below… don’t worry, they are coming.  My picture-taking timing was a little off here!)

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Spray each mini aluminum loaf pan with a nonstick cooking spray.  **THIS IS IMPORTANT!**

Unwrap one pie crust and roll it out on a flour dusted counter. Using the mini loaf pan as a guide/template, cut a bottom layer of dough for each mini loaf pan.  Place it in the bottom of each mini loaf pan.

Unwrap the other pie crust, unroll it onto your floured counter, and cut a top crust for each mini loaf pan.   Cut a few slits into each top crust to vent the crust. At this point, I sometimes get a little creative with the dough scraps.  I use them to cover the top, leaving little vents here and there where the dough scraps don’t exactly meet up.  You could also cut the dough into strips and make a weaving pattern across the top ala a dessert pie if you wanted to be super fancy.  You do you when it comes to CPP top crusts.

Grab the filling mixture from it’s chilling location and stir in the frozen peas.  Spoon the filling evenly into each mini loaf pan on top of the bottom layer of dough. Top each loaf with a pie crust – remembering to have some slits or places for steam to escape when baking.

From here, it’s either cook or freeze!

To cook now: 

Brush the top crust with an egg wash (whisk one egg with about a tablespoon of water in a small bowl). Place on a sheet tray and in a 400 degree oven, covered with foil, for about 20 minutes, then uncover and bake another 20-30 until crusts are golden brown.  Let sit a few minutes before serving.

To freeze: 

Wrap each CPP well with plastic wrap and aluminum foil.  I like to then put two CPPs in a gallon freezer bag or vacuum storage bag and seal them up in pairs.

Freeze up to 2 months.

To cook from frozen:

No need to thaw out the CPP!  Unwrap the pot pies and place on a sheet pan.  Brush the top of the frozen CPP with egg wash (whisk one egg with about a tablespoon of water in a small bowl) and replace just the foil on top of the CPP.  Cook at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.  Uncover and cook for another 30 minutes.  Let the pies sit a few minutes before serving.

Want a handy tag for printing the cooking instructions?  Click here!

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What’s your favorite freezer meal?  Let me know what you like and how these super delicious Make Ahead Mini Chicken Pot Pies work out for you!


Full Recipe

Make Ahead Mini Chicken Pot Pies

  • 1 ½ -2 lbs. chicken – breast, thigh, tenders – boneless and diced
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 48 oz. chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/3 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1 shallot or onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas
  • 15 oz. box refrigerated pie crust (two pie crusts)
  • Disposable aluminum mini loaf pans – at least 6 per recipe

Remove pie crusts from box and set on counter to thaw/warm to room temp.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Brown the chicken until cooked through, about 7-8 minutes.

Remove the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Melt the butter in the empty Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add the carrots, celery, and shallot/onion.

Stir occasionally and cook until lightly browned.

Add the flour to the vegetables and whisk for 1 minute.

Add the broth and milk and whisk until it thickens, about 5 minutes or so.

Remove from heat.

Add the chicken to the sauce, season with salt and pepper, and mix well.

Cover and refrigerate until completely cooled.

Spray each mini loaf pan with cooking spray.

Unwrap one pie crust, unroll it on a flour dusted counter.

Cut a bottom crust for each loaf pan, place in the bottom of each mini loaf pan.

Unwrap the second pie crust. Cut a top crust, or use the scraps, for each mini loaf pan.

Cut 3 steam vents in each top crust.

Remove the vegetable/sauce mixture from the refrigerator. Uncover the bowl and mix in the frozen peas.

Spoon the mixture into 6 mini loaf tins evenly.

Top each with a pie crust.

 

Wrap well in plastic wrap and aluminum foil.

Freeze up to 2 months.

 

To cook from frozen:

Unwrap the pot pies and place on a sheet pan.  Brush the top of the frozen pot pie with egg wash and replace just the foil on top of the CPP.  Cook at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.  Uncover and cook for another 30 minutes.  Let the pies sit a few minutes before serving.