Pies and Tarts

Blackberry Cobbler

by Shawnda on April 7, 2011

in Desserts,Fruit,Pies and Tarts

Blackberry Cobbler

Next to banana pudding, there might be no other dessert that says, “It’s summer in Texas,” like Blackberry Cobbler. Where I grew up, blackberries grew the entire length of our fence line and in the wooded lot across the road. We’d come in with a bowl full of berries and mom would make cobbler for dessert. We’d sit on the front porch and eat our cobbler with melty scoops of vanilla ice cream. And then we’d run around the yard trying to catch “lightning bugs.”

This Blackberry Cobbler is the final dish in our recipe feature of Big Bowl of Love, by Cristina Ferrare. The filling is a simple mixture of fresh blackberries paired with lemon zest. Blackberry and lemon is a wonderful combination. Lemon really brighten the flavors. There aren’t many times when a blackberry dish doesn’t benefit from some fresh lemon juice or zest.

Blackberry Cobbler

Serve a scoop of your favorite vanilla ice cream over top of a bowl of warm cobbler.


  • For the filling:
  • 6 cups blackberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • For the topping:
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg yolk, beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Fresh mint, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a glass pie plate.
  2. To make the filling, gently toss the blackberries with the sugar, flour, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl until blended. Pour in to the prepared baking dish and set aside.
  3. For the topping, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolk, buttermilk, butter, and vanilla, blending well.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold gently until the flour is moistened and the mixture forms a soft dough.
  5. Drop heaping spoonfuls of the topping onto the fruit filling, spacing them evenly over the surface. Don't worry if the topping doesn't cover all of the fruit.
  6. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean, about 45 minutes. The fruit should be bubbling and the topping browned.
  7. Serve with a sprinkling of fresh mint.


Yields: 6-8 servings

Adapted from Big Bowl of Love

Estimated time: 1 hour

Reprinted from Cristina Ferrare’s Big Bowl of Love © 2011 by Cristina Ferrare. Permission granted from Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc



… with Hot Fudge Sauce and Bourbon-Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream. It’s a mouthful. On all accounts.

Josie‘s choice for this week’s Project Pastry Queen challenge was a reminder of one of the main reasons that I love this cookbook so much: big, over-the-top, show-stopping desserts. And this banana cream pie doesn’t disappoint.

There’s the flakey crust, a thin layer of chocolate, a thin layer of peanut butter, a killer banana custard filling, and fresh bananas. And that’s just he pie. Then there’s a bourbon chocolate sauce and fresh whipped cream. And let’s not forget the chopped peanuts!

I’m not a huge banana pie fan – I like them – but I thought this pie was insanely good. The custard filling, with a few changes, is going to make a killer banana pudding – I can’t wait to make it again!

I made a handful of minor detail changes to the recipe based on what I had in the pantry:
– I put the fresh banana slices on top (not on top of the peanut butter layer). I knew there’d be no way that I could cut a clean slice with bananas on the top and bottom.
– I bypassed the heating milk/vanilla bean pod step in favor of just using vanilla bean paste in the filling – because everything looks better with pretty flakes of vanilla bean. And it saved a pot.
– I substituted half of the flour in the crust with whole wheat pastry flour.
– I replaced 2/3 of the milk in the custard with yogurt.
– I put bourbon and vanilla bean paste in the whipped cream. Because everything is better with bourbon and vanilla bean flecks.
– I shoved the finished pie in the freezer for 20 minutes and then in the fridge. Because I was really bummed when I realized that there was an overnight step when I had my heart set on pie for dessert Thursday night. It was a late dessert, but we still had dessert!

A big, stretchy waist pants thank you to Josie for picking such a fabulous dessert! Check out the other Project Pastry Queen members to see their take on the banana pie.

Next week will be lighter, we promise, with a Texas twist on Crab Cakes.



Mince Pie

My momma used to always say, “Christmas ain’t Christmas ’til somebody cries!” – Donkey, Shrek the Halls

That somebody was me. Last year. I could probably blame some wacky 3rd trimester hormone cocktail but that’s just taking the easy way out. I was so looking forward to Mincemeat Pie for Christmas. Mom assured me it was taken care of. The night of the 23rd, mom called to break the bad news. Dad was apparently also looking forward to Mincemeat Pie. So much so that he couldn’t wait. He and an accomplice polished off the entire pie.

It was after 9pm. I was not happy and I had very few options. I could have Christmas without mincemeat pie or I could run to the grocery store along with all the other last-minute shoppers. I was that desperate. There was no time to cook the filling for a new pie so I was looking for the jarred stuff. Nope. Or even a pre-made pie from the freezer. Double nope.

I scored a jar at the third and final store we checked. The cashier looked at the pregnant chick with the red, puffy eyes with pity. She grabbed my wrist, looked me in the eye, and very kindly wished me a Merry Christmas. There is no telling what was running through her mind!

Mince Pie

To protect Dad from temptation, I handled Mincemeat Pie duties this year. I did not have the luxury of being able to babysit a bubbling pot of pie filling for 3+ hours (I had to babysit a real baby!) so I cooked it in the crockpot. (I used the crockpot for something other than sandwiches – add that to your list of Christmas Miracles!). I did end up with about a cup of extra liquid at the end, so I dumped it in a pot on the stove and cooked it for 7-10 minutes over medium high to reduce the liquid. It was perfect!

There’s no meat in this pie! It’s a spicy, clovey, citrusy, Christmasy blend of finely chopped fruits and berries. And Christmas wouldn’t have been Christmas with out it.

Homemade Mincemeat Pie (Crockpot)

A spicy, clovey, citrusy, Christmasy blend of finely chopped fruits and berries


  • For the filling
  • 2 oranges*
  • 2/3 cup sugar*
  • 1.5 lb Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1.5 lb McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed (I actually used light brown sugar + 3 Tbsp molasses)
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup apple juice (unfiltered like Simply Apple) or apple cider
  • 1/3 cup rum
  • For the pie
  • 1 recipe double pie crust
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1Tbsp water


  1. * You can use already candied orange peel or... Peel the oranges with a vegetable peeler - this will leave the pith behind. Place the peel in a small saucepan with 1 cup water and white sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the orange syrup. Chop the peel into small pieces. Juice one of the oranges and add the juice to the reserved syrup. Reserve the second orange for another use (I removed the pith and ate it!).
  2. Place all ingredients for the filling (including the candied orange peel, juice, and reserved syrup) in your crockpot. Stir to mix. Cook 8-10 hours on low until darkened and thickened to a jam-like consistency. (If you feel your filling is too liquidy, put it on the stove and reduce it 'til it gets thicker).
  3. Place the oven rack in the middle and preheat to 400. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any drips. Roll out your pie crust into two rounds. Transfer one dough round to a deep-dish, 9-inch pie plate, you should have some overhang (leave that in place). Spoon filling into pie shell and cover with the second dough round. Flute edge and cut 3-4 slits in the top of the pie. Brush with egg wash.
  4. Bake until crust is light golden brown, 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until crust is deep golden brown. Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature before serving.


Yields: 8 Servings

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Estimated time: 12 hours



We interrupt the 12 Days of Homemade Christmas to bring you heavy cream, butter, chocolate, and cranberries.

Josie selected this week’s Project Pastry Queen recipe: Black and White Cranberry Tarts. Three delicious ingredients rolled onto a single dessert: Oreo crusts and a white chocolate-cranberry filling.

I made a couple of changes out of necessity… Because I’ll do anything to get out of making an extra trip to HEB this time of year.
– I made Faux-reos and ground those up for the crust. The cookies were fresh so after pressing them into the tart pan, I baked the crust at 350 for 10 minutes because I wanted to ensure that the crust held together when I unmolded the tart.
– I used fat-free half and half instead of heavy cream.

My filling was a tad soft… I imagine that had something to do with me making 1/8th the recipe. The crust was Oreo-y, the filling a smooth rich white chocolate with a burst of slightly tart cranberry with each bite. I plan on making the full scale version as Christmas dessert. Head on over to Pink Parsley for the full recipe and check out the Project Pastry Queen blogroll to see how the other members fared on their tarts.