There are a few things in the world one loves more than the smell of baking that fill a kitchen from the initial wafts that rise out of a warm oven to the delicious scents that can signal the 'done-ness', better than a stick-a-fork-in test. The weighing out of ingredients, the sifting of flour, the kneading, docking, filling - all of these give a sense of peace and sense of order. An elderberry pie might just yield that one thing that sets off a perfect fall meal, with the fresh fruit of the season, making the best use of these versatile berries. And what is a good recipe for this delectable pie? Take a look below.
The recipe below makes one 9 inch, double crust elderberry pie. Elderberries release a lot of juice that can leave you with a sticky mess, which is why the best way to deal with this is to either sprinkle some flour on the crust and filling to absorb the juice, or thicken the berries before you use them as a filling. This recipe uses cornstarch for thickening; however, you can replace this with tapioca if required.
- Pie crust (see recipe below), 1 portion
- Elderberries, 4 cups
- White sugar, 1 cup
- Cornstarch, 3 tbsp.
- Butter, 2 tbsp.
- Lemon juice, 1 tbsp.
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC, Gas Mark 5).
- Line a 9 inch pie dish with the pie crust, dock the pastry with a fork, and place in the refrigerator to chill. Reserve the remaining pastry for lattice or upper pie crust.
- Place the destemmed elderberries and sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan and stir over medium heat till the sugar dissolves. After that, lower the heat.
- Mix the cornstarch with a little water and then pour this mixture onto the elderberry-sugar mixture, stirring constantly while the mixture thickens. Take the pan off the heat and add the lemon juice. Cool it slightly.
- Pour this into the prepared crust pan and dot with butter. Top it with a pie crust or lattice work.
- Bake until golden brown or till the berries are bubbling. Then, remove from the oven and cool.
- Serve the elderberry pie warm from the oven with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
How to Make the Crust
- Egg, 1
- All-purpose flour, 3 cups
- Butter (chilled and cut into cubes), 1 cup
- Chilled water, 5 tbsp.
- Sugar, 3 tbsp.
- White vinegar, 1 tbsp.
- Salt, ½ tsp.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Add the butter and mix in the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs along with the vinegar and 4 tablespoons of water. Add this to the flour-butter mixture in a steady stream, stirring with a fork, until the dough begins to come together. Add the remaining water or more if necessary.
- Form into a ball, place in an oiled bag, and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before rolling out.
- This recipe yields 2 crusts.
Some things to remember about elderberries, especially if you're picking them fresh, is that the stems, twigs, and leaves of the elderberry bush contain toxins that can make you quite sick, as can unripe berries. So, make sure you only use the ripe, purple, black, or dark blue berries. Putting them into a pie is just one way to use them. They can also be added to tea and wine as well as syrups and jams. While your pie is baking, sit down with a cup of hot coffee and revel in the aromas of the season as they fill your kitchen. When it's done, cut a warm slice from the oven and let your senses take over. This pie recipe is sure to become a family favorite!