Thursday, 30 July 2015

ElderBlueberry Pie

Elderberries. Ever heard of them? No? You're not alone. They're the berries that sort the sheep from the goats in a group of berry afficionados*.

Many people will have heard of elderflowers, and elderflower cordial (was that one of Marilla's specialities in Anne of Green Gables?). It's made a bit of a come back in recent times although, not, I have to say, amongst Darwinites particularly (although I'm sure there's a couple of token hipsters somewhere in Darwin sipping elderflower cordial with vodka as they sit stroking their beards). But this week's project for the Alpha Bakers is ElderBlueberry Pie, which calls for a half/half mix of blueberries and elderberries (not flowers).

After I saw the recipe, the process went like this: step one - google elderberries (and discover, logically enough, that they are the berries produced by the same tree that produces elderflowers); step two - accept there is little likelihood of getting any elderberries, fresh or frozen, for my pie.
*What is the collective noun for a group of berry enthusiasts? A squish or a smoothie maybe?

I'll cut to the chase here and spare you my ruminations on possible alternatives. I found some jam in the supermarket which had elderflower (that's right, flower not berry) as an ingredient. Sometimes you just have to work with what you've got. It also included blackcurrants which look a lot like the pictures I've seen of elderberries. So, elderberries sorted...!?

I decided to make a couple of small pies (a vote of un-confidence in the potential of the filling) and to treat it as more practice in pastry making (which I need). There are no photos of making the pastry as it's the same cream cheese pastry recipe we've made for all the other pies.

The berry filling doesn't vary much in ingredients from the other fillings we've made. I adapted it to suit my jam/berry combination. I made half the recipe and used a ratio of about 3/4 blueberries, 1/4 jam. I reduced the cornflour as usual to my taste. I didn't reduce the sugar which was a mistake because the jam is already very sugary. It made the filling very sweet but not inedible - you just need to add more cream to cut the sweetness a bit. How terrible.

I like lattice and I'd seen a picture somewhere (Food52?) of a pie with very fat strips which I wanted to try. Of course, when I came to cut them I realised a really fat strip would cover my teeny pie completely. So I ended up with some fattish, charmingly crooked strips. Who couldn't be happy with that?

I do like the way lattice looks so neat and tidy before it's baked.

Well they didn't look too bad cooked either. I was happy with the way the pastry puffed up this time. I made them reasonably late last night and with the cooler weather it was much easier to handle the pastry. I did wonder when I cut them this afternoon whether the pastry could have done with a bit more baking.

And the elderberryflower flavour? As I munched on a slice of the pie this afternoon I think, I might have just detected a faint hint of something that maybe..wasn't..blueberry. Or maybe I just imagined it.

Next week is 100% Whole Wheat Walnut Loaf.


  1. Ha ha I love your posts :D lol, rumoured there might be a beard stroking hipster stepson in Melbourne that has been known to indulge in an elderflower/vodka concoction. Elderflower cordial is my favourite… didn't know didn't about that jam. Pies look lovely, and a bit extra cream sounds good :)

  2. LOL! You are hilarious Catherine! Your 2 mini pies look wonderful. So how? What did you eat with? Lots of cream to cut down the sugar?

  3. Great improvisation! I like the lattice design very much. BTW, loved Anne of Green Gables.

  4. Hi Catherine--such a poetic post!! Your dainty pies look great with the fat lattice strips. I am so glad you manage to find a way to cut the sugar--more cream! That's my kind of compromise. BTW, my daughter (age 25) has a canoe that she christened "Green Gables." (I'll bet you can guess what color it is!)

  5. Love your pies and your post!! Lol