Nailed it or Failed It: Apple-blackberry pie

By Sarah Condley

When I decided to make this pie, I was in the mood for something sweet.

A few days earlier I’d been looking through my stack of dessert recipes and had pulled out a few.

I went through that small stack and decided this one would do the trick.

We had apples; blackberries were in the freezer, and a single pie crust is easy to make. This apple-blackberry pie recipe comes from the Woman’s Day magazine April 2011 issue.

On an early Saturday morning, I set out a bag of frozen berries to thaw.

After I made the pie crust and set it aside, I covered it so it would not dry out.

I placed the cornstarch, salt and 1/4 cup of sugar in a bowl.

As I peeled and sliced the apples, I put them in three bowls on top of the dry ingredients.

Once the apples were all sliced, I tossed them in the bowl. In hindsight I wished I’d peeled the apples first and then sprinkled the dry ingredients over them; I think that would have made it easier to get the apples covered in the mixture.

Now that the apples were ready I got one of my Granny Tavie’s old iron skillets out and melted the butter on top of the stove.

A while back I got a good deal on fresh ginger, and I’d placed it in the freezer for the next time I would need it. I didn’t need to let it thaw; it peeled easily with a paring knife.

I tried using a spoon to scrape the skin off, but since it was frozen, it didn’t work well. I used the fine side of my grater, and in no time I had a tablespoon.

Then I just put the ginger back in the freezer for the next recipe. I added the grated ginger to the melted butter and stirred it until I could smell it.

Now it was time to add the blackberries. When I opened the package, I realized I’d goofed.

Earlier, when I’d gotten them out of the freezer, I didn’t have my glasses on and saw the word “black” written on them and assumed they were blackberries.

We have wild blackberries on our property and pick them every year and place them in the freezer. What I’d thawed were black raspberries, which we have a few of these wild plants on our property too.

Oh, well, I figured they would have to do. I poured them into the melted butter mixture and stirred everything.

I move the skillet off the stove and poured in the apples and gently mixed. After placing the crust on top, it didn’t look pretty, but it doesn’t have to because this is a rustic pie, which seems to be the thing right now, from what I’ve seen on the internet.

I brushed the crust with egg then sprinkled the sugar and cinnamon on top. It went into the oven, and it was done 40 minutes later.

Instead of trying a piece of the pie right away, while it was hot, I wanted to wait until after supper. Brad had made reservations at Loma’s at the Opera House, and I didn’t want to spoil my appetite. That evening, after a delicious meal I asked our waiter what their desserts were. They didn’t have crème brûlée, which is my all time absolute favorite dessert that I can never resist, so I told Brad we had a pie waiting at home.

When we got back home, I sliced into the pie and put my piece in the microwave to heat a bit.

I put a scoop of ice cream on top. What’s fruit pie without ice cream?

It was good. Brad is trying to stay away from sweets right now, but he did take a couple of bites, and he kept saying it had a good flavor and wasn’t too sweet.

Though the pie wasn’t thick, it had a good ratio of crust to fruit.

I felt like the apples got lost in the filling because I mostly tasted the black raspberries.

I knew if this pie stayed home I’d eat the entire thing so the next day I took a piece to my brother, Alan, whose favorite pie is apple.

When I talked to him later, he asked what was in the pie. He said he tasted a strong flavor.

I told him it had ginger in it and he said it was way too much ginger for him, but I didn’t taste the ginger.

I also took some pie to our neighbors, Chris and Rachel. Chris said he put whipped cream on it and it was the perfect balance of tart and sweet. Rachel said it was “so good” and she loved the freshness of the center, not too sweet, especially since the new year has them eating less sugar.

She liked the sprinkle of sugar on top of the crust, which was just enough.

This pie is a “Nailed It” and will go into my self-made cookbook. It didn’t take a lot of effort to make; it didn’t dirty a lot of dishes, and it got good reviews. Next time I make it, I wouldn’t hesitate to use black raspberries again if I had them, but I might add a few more apples.

Sarah Condley is an amateur baker and chef who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes.

Apple-Blackberry Pie


2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar

2 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon grated ginger

1 10-ounce bag frozen blackberries, thawed

1 refrigerated rolled pie crust

1 large egg, beaten

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, salt and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Add the apples and toss to coat.

Melt the butter in a large (10 to 12 inch) cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger and cook, stirring until fragrant, one to two minutes. Add the blackberries and stir to combine.

Remove from heat and add the apple mixture, mixing until combined. Lay the pie crust over the fruit, brush with the egg, and sprinkle with the cinnamon and remaining two tablespoons sugar. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling 35 to 40 minutes.