Enough Berries for a Pie
He came to the door with a gallon bag filled one quarter of the way with red huckleberries and asked, “Is this enough for a pie?” Enough? Oh my gosh. It must have taken him hours to pick that many. He told me that it’s really hard to get enough berries for a pie because…well, you know it’s just too easy to snack on them when you are hiking in the wild. Remember reading Blueberries for Sal when you were little?
It’s more common to see blue huckleberries– the ones that look like the small cousins of blueberries. These little red jewels are found in the coastal mountain forests from Washington to Alaska and ripen in late August through early September. When they are ready, their tart flavor just cries out for a pie making session but whether red or blue, it takes a lot of dedication and hours in the mountains to pick enough for a filling. I know this for a fact because one night around the family table after supper we figured it out. Through a combination of sight, weight, volume, and counting the last of the season’s blue huckleberries picked a few hours earlier, we found that it takes approximately three thousand blue hucks to fill one 9- inch shallow pie-pan and four thousand to fill one deep dish pan.
There was a bush of red hucks growing out of a tree stump in front of my cabin in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains and somewhere I have a photo of my 2-year-old son eating them with not much else on him except sticky hands and red berry juice dripping down his tummy.
Enough for a pie?
“Absolutely there’s enough!“
So the very next day I made this one…
with a ruffly lattice top.
He showed up just as it was coming out of the oven and I asked if I could take a picture of him holding it. His dog Zoë had her eye on the pie, too.
Thanks for the berries, Kevin. I’m glad you liked the pie.
If you go to pick your own berries be sure that you can identify what you have. You might find fresh blue huckleberries (and red if you are lucky) at a farmers market in season. I’ve also seen blue huckleberries in the freezer section at some grocery stores.
Red Huckleberry Pie
- 1 double crust pie dough of your choice
- 4 cups red huckleberries
- 3/4 cups sugar plus a bit extra for sprinkling on top
- A very small grating of nutmeg
- A small pinch of salt
- 2.5 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
- 1 egg white
- Make the a double crust pie dough of your choice.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- Put berries, sugar, nutmeg, salt and tapioca into a bowl, mix and set aside.
- Roll out one dough and place in pie pan. Pour filling into dough and set aside.
- Beat egg white and 1 tablespoon water together in a bowl and set aside.
- Roll out remaining dough and cut into 3/4"-wide strips. Arrange strips over pie in a lattice pattern. Trim off the excess dough and crimp edges of pie.
- Brush the crust with egg white mixture and sprinkle with an extra teaspoon or two of sugar.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 425F then reduce heat to 350F. Bake about 30-35 minutes more or until the top is golden brown and there is steady bubbling coming through the vents.
- Let cool before serving.