“Holy Moly!*” That’s what Andrew exclaimed upon his first bite of this pie, and I think it’s a pretty apt expression of my thoughts on it as well. (*He didn’t say moly…) This pie will be the gold standard against which I judge all my other pies. And professional’s pies, for that matter. This has been my favorite crust for a while, because, c’mon. Gruyere + buttery, flaky layers of pie crust? What’s not to love? Gruyere is less greasy than cheddar cheese, the more popular cheese for pie crust, and lends such a nice savory element to balance out sweet-tart pie filling. But the filling was new, and man, holy moly is right. Previously I’d only made apple pies with the crust, which were great, but the crust far outshone the filling. But this blackberry lime filling is different. It is a star in its own right–I literally licked the leftover filling off my place after every slice. And I’m not using literally figuratively. This filling is the perfect compliment to the crust, with each bringing out the best of the other.
I would first like to give a couple shout outs to the people without whom this pie would not exist. First is Tisha of The Rice and Spice Cupboard. The crust is her recipe, and it is perfect (although I do go the butter route over the lard route, against her advice). I found it after googling “Pushing Daisies apple gruyere pie.” Luckily it was good, because it was the only recipe I found. I guess Pushing Daisies (the TV show) wasn’t as popular as I thought? Truly a life-changing crust though. I don’t even want to make a normal pie crust anymore, because why go through all that work if it’s not going to be as magical as this crust?
My second inspiration came from Bang Bang Pie Shop, which I highly recommend to anyone in the Chicago area (as if any one in the Chicago area isn’t already aware this place is awesome). On our first visit, we stopped in and got some pie, pot pie, and biscuits to take home for dinner (did I mention this place is awesome?). Everything was fantastic, but I just could not get over the blackberry jam that came with the biscuits. If they had just given me a bowl of that jam, I would have happily eaten it with a spoon for dinner. There was something else in it besides blackberries that was making it just shockingly good and, after numerous tastes tests, I decided that was lime. I guess I’m not entirely sure that’s true, but my pie filling has the same “shockingly good” characteristic to it, so I’m going to say I was correct.
Then, when brainstorming recipe ideas for this blog, I thought, “why not take these two mind blowing food and combine them into something even more mind blowing?” And this pie was born. And my mind has never been more blown.
I know what you’re thinking. “But Tricia, making a pie crust is so much work! Can’t I just buy a pre-made crust?” NO. Just trust me. This crust is special, and it is worth it. The admiration you get when you tell people you made the crust from scratch is also worth it. I’ve included my tips for pie crust novices below the recipe, so just read everything through carefully and then get at it.
I will also note that this pie requires time. You have to chill the dough over night, the pie takes a full hour to bake, and then you need to let the pie cool for at least two hours. As you can probably surmise from the photos, I was too impatient and did not let mine cool and ended up with a very juicy pie. I figured twenty minutes in the fridge was basically the same as cooling for 2 hours, right? So at first I thought this was a problem with a recipe and was trying to figure out ways to fix it. Less sugar? More cornstarch? Less butter? More blackberries? But the filling was so perfect, I didn’t want to change the taste by throwing off the proportions. I decided it would just be a juicy pie and it was worth the blackberry stains. Then, a few hours later when Andrew got home and I went to cut him a slice, I noticed that the pie had set. So just give it time if you want a less messy pie. (It was just as delicious all juicy though, so no worries if you can’t wait. Just be prepared with extra napkins!)
I have posted the full recipe below, but I also suggest checking out Tisha’s recipe for the crust (especially if you are inclined to use lard), as she has additional tips. Her blog hasn’t been updated in a few years, so I am posting my take on the recipe here for posterity in case the blog disappears. Ok, enough of my blabbing. Go make this pie!
This recipe makes one standard 9-inch pie with a double crust. (Pro tip: do a lattice top, and use the leftover crust to make a second mini-pie for when you inhale this one and realize you need another. Yes, I made this pie twice in less than a week. Yes, I wish I had another.)
Gruyere Pie Crust
2½ c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
20 tbsp. (2.5 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, very cold
2 oz. Gruyere
6 tbsp. ice water
- Using a microplane rasp grater, finely grate the Gruyere and place in a large bowl.
- Add the flour, salt, and sugar and gently toss to mix until the cheese is no longer clumping together.
- Using a pastry blender if you have one, or a fork or your hands if not, cut the butter into the flour mixture. You will want to cut the butter until the larger pieces look like peas. (For the pie crust novice, there are photos below.I have done this both ways and strongly prefer the pastry blender for ease, but a fork and some pinching gets the job done.)
- Sprinkle the ice water over the flour, 3 tablespoons at at time, tossing to mix between additions.
- The dough should now clump together when you squeeze it. If not, add one more tablespoon of water. Form the dough into 2 discs, one slightly larger than other. I aim to make the bigger disc roughly a third bigger than the smaller disc. Wrap the discs tightly in cling wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Blackberry Lime Pie
18 oz. blackberries
1 c. sugar
1 tbsp. loosely packed lime zest (roughy the zest of 1 medium lime)
1½ tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. corn starch
4 tbsp. (½ stick) melted butter
1 recipe Gruyere Pie Dough (above)
1 egg for egg wash (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Wash and dry the fruit. Be sure to check blackberries for any loose stems/leaves.
- Combine 12 oz of the blackberries with all of the other other ingredients (but not the egg–that’s for the egg wash) and stir. Set aside.
- Take the large pie dough disc out of the fridge and roll it out until it is large enough to cover the pie pan. Line the pie pan with the rolled out dough and place it back in the fridge. (See below for more tips on this if you aren’t used to working with pie dough or if you pie dough often turns out chewy.)
- Stir the blackberry mixture a few times. The mixture should be turning a nice purple color at this point. (If you are ignoring my advice and using a pre-made crust, you should stir the mixture every 10-15 minutes for about 30 minutes)
- Take the smaller disc out of the fridge and roll it out until it is large enough to cover the top of the pie. If doing a lattice top, cut the dough into strips with a pastry wheel (or pizza cutter).
- Stir the blackberry mixture one more time. It should now be a vibrant purple color.
- Take the pie pan out of the fridge and fill the crust with the blueberry mixture. Take the remaining blueberries and arrange them evenly across the top.
- Cover the pie with either the rolled out pie top or the lattice strips and seal the edges by pinching them together.
- Beat the egg in a small bowl and lightly brush the top of the pie. (This is optional, but makes the pie top a little shinier.)
- Place the pie in the oven, on some aluminum foil to catch the drips. (There will be a lot of drips, and if you forget the aluminum foil they will pool on the bottom of your oven and burn and make it smell like you caught your house on fire and you’ll have to clean your oven. Not that I did this or anything.)
- Bake for 1 hour. After about 40 minutes, place some foil on top of the pie to prevent the crust from getting too brown.
- Take the pie out of the oven and let cool for at least two hours.
Tricia’s Tips on Pie Crust
1. Be careful not to over mix the butter. Pockets of butter melting is what makes pie crust flakey. If you cut the butter in too much, or the butter gets too soft, your crust is likely to turn out chewy. This is why the butter is cold, and why you need to keep it in the refrigerator when you don’t need to have it out. The first picture below is what my dough looked like before I added the water. The second is after I added the water and shows that it doesn’t necessarily look like dough before you squeeze it into the discs.
2. You don’t want to roll the dough out too much right after you make it, for you risk melting all those little butter peas. At the same time, you don’t want to just form balls, as they will take forever to roll out, and again, you risk the butter getting too melty. Here’s what my discs look like all wrapped up and ready for the fridge. (Can you see all those delightful butter pockets?)
3. Roll your pie out on parchment paper! I always forget to do this because I have a marble slab and I get all excited about using it. But then I end up spending 10 minutes gently peeling the crust off the slab, no matter how much I flour the surface. Parchment paper is your friend. If you roll it out on parchment paper, you can just flip the whole thing over and let gravity do it’s thing. MUCH easier.
4. Stop and re-flour your rolling pin at the first sign of sticking. It only gets worse. If you see a little piece of crust on your rolling pin, stop, remove the stuck dough, and re-flour. Otherwise that little piece of crust will pick up more and more.
5. If your dough rolls out into a weird shape, don’t fret! And don’t attempt to re-roll it out. I have never rolled a pie crust into a perfect circle. Most of the time my crust isn’t even vaguely circular. But it’s much easier to just roll it out and trim one section of the pie crust more than another, and then use that trimming to patch any holes, than to try to roll out the perfect circle of crust. And re-rolling means more melty butter. This is the most perfect circle I’ve ever rolled, and it tasted delicious. This is also why I do the lattice topping, because it’s so much easier to just cut strips than to try to roll out another circle.
6. Use a guide when cutting your dough for a lattice top. This will help you end up with even, pretty strips of dough for the top. You can also score the dough to give yourself a guide if you don’t have something the right width.
7. Be very gentle! The dough might stick, so just go slow and don’t rush it. Find something flat (like the icing spatula pictured above) and use it to help peel up any stuck bits of dough without stretching them out or ripping them.