Boxwood Avenue

How to Make Elderberry Pie

dessertChloe | Boxwood Ave.1 Comment

If you happen to find enough elderberries to make an elderberry pie, consider yourself lucky. Elderberry pie is a delicious treat that is really only possible to make fresh once a year!

Flaky elderberry pie & all butter crust! (food photography) - boxwoodavenue.com

As you may know, elderberries hold a very close place in my heart. After Greg decided to name one of the goats Elderberry (which at the time, I thought was a very stupid name), I have fallen in love with all things elderberry. All things goat too, but that's besides the point. 

Come to find out (via a lot of instagram comments), elderberries are great for your immune system. I thought they just made great cocktail syrup, but turns out, the berries are healthy. Two birds. One stone. 

When I first made elderberry syrup, it was with the measly 3/4 cup of berries that my cousin hustled off of a lone tree on the side of the road. I was disappointed that I couldn't make a pie, because apparently elderberry pie is the best pie in. the. world. 

But the elderberry cocktail I made from the syrup helped ease the sting of the lack of elderberry pie. 

Flaky elderberry pie & all butter crust! (food photography) - boxwoodavenue.com
Flaky elderberry pie & all butter crust! (food photography) - boxwoodavenue.com
Flaky elderberry pie & all butter crust! (food photography) - boxwoodavenue.com

About a week after the disappointing elderberry hunt, I came home from a football game to find a bag full of elderberries. Coincidently, I was covered in goat hair because I had just been out snuggling Elderberry the goat. I could have cried with happiness, Greg had carried a massive amount of berries home in his saddle bags after he came across a ripe bush on a ride in the mountains. All of the guys at the ranch make fun of his saddle bags (the equivalent of a fanny pack for a cowboy), but this treasure trove of berries was proof that those saddle bags were good for something other than carrying snacks and other cowboy stuff. 

I immediately got to stripping the branches of their berries, placing the little golden nuggets in a colander to be rinsed. I had 4 cups of berries when all was said and done. FOUR CUPS! Which is a lot of elderberries. Enough to make a pie, surely. 

PS: If you have a goat named Elderberry, I think it's mandatory to add a goat & hearts to the pie. ;) 

Flaky elderberry pie & all butter crust! (food photography) - boxwoodavenue.com

Flaky All-Butter Pie Crust

  • 2  1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks of butter, cut up into small bits slightly smaller than sugar cubes, chilled
  • 1/2 a cup very very cold water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Step 1: In a food processor, combine flour, butter, salt, and sugar. Pulse until the butter breaks down into pea size bits. 

Step 2: Slowly add 1/4 cup of ice cold water. Pulse the ingredients. Add more water as needed until the mixture becomes dough-like. 

Step 3: Remove the dough from the food processor. Divide the dough into two equal parts, and wrap each part in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes. 

Note: If you don't have a food processor (or are being lazy - me), you can use your hands. But work quickly! Flaky crust comes from cold butter melting in the oven, not in your hands.

Elderberry Pie 

Filling:

  • 3-4 cups elderberries, stripped from the branches and rinsed 
  • 1 cup sugar - this amount depends on how you like your pie, if you like a sweet pie, keep it at one cup, if you don't like a sweet pie, you can decrease the sugar...elderberries are very tart and need the help of sugar! 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (if your berries seem to be extra juicy, you can add a bit more cornstarch, it's not going to hurt)

For pie:

  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar

Step 1: Combine berries, sugar, and cornstarch in a medium sized bowl. Stir until combined. 

Assembling the pie

Step 1: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a cookie sheet in the oven at this time. 

Step 2: Take one of the crusts out of the refrigerator. Working quickly, roll the dough slightly larger than the size of the pie pan (about 1/8" thick), use flour as needed. Gently place the dough in a pie pan, letting the dough exceed the rim of the pan by 1/2", careful not to tear. 

*If you do see a tear, get your finger wet with water and use your finger to rub the hole closed. 

Step 3: Fill the pie pan with the berry mixture. Add a few pea-size pieces of butter on top (optional). Place the whole thing back into the refrigerator while you roll out the second crust. 

Step 4: Remove the other crust from the refrigerator. Roll the crust 1/8" thick, slightly larger than the size of the pie pan, use flour as needed. 

Step 5: Take the pie pan out of the refrigerator. You can opt to lattice your crust, simply cut the top crust into strips and place on the pie - I like an organic look. Or, place the second crust over the top of the pie pan. 

Step 6: For either method, fold the 1/2" excess dough from the bottom crust over the top crust to form a seal. Use your fingers or a fork to pinch it together. If you did not lattice the crust, use a knife to cut a few vent holes in the top of the pie. 

Step 7: Brush the top crust with the egg white, and sprinkle with a little coarse sugar. 

Step 8: Place the pie directly on the cookie sheet that is already in the oven - this tip will give you extra flakey crust, and prevent the bottom crust from being mushy. Allow to cook for about 30 minutes - keep a close eye after 20 minutes to prevent burning. Check to see if the fruit is bubbling - if it is, your pie is done. If it is not, reduce the heat to 375, cover the pie with aluminum foil, and let it cook for an additional 15 minutes. 

*If the crust is cooking too quickly, you can cover it with aluminum foil to prevent it from burning while the filling comes to a "bubble". 

Flaky elderberry pie & all butter crust! (food photography) - boxwoodavenue.com

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