We are fortunate to live in an area where wild blackberries flourish and are free for the picking, so a good blackberry pie recipe is essential. It takes a little extra work to make your own crust, but I think it's fun to do, when time permits. It is so very gratifying when you remove a beautiful homemade pie from the oven and everyone asks, "How long do we have to wait?"
1In mixing bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1/3 teaspoon salt.
2Add shortening and cut into flour with a pastry blender or 2 knives until it resembles coarse meal.
3Using a fork, stir the ice water in until it just starts to come together.
4Turn out onto lightly floured work surface and knead 3 to 5 times (don't over-knead.)
5Form into ball and cut in half.
6Shape each half into a disk about 3/4"-1" thick.
7Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. (May be done a day ahead.)
8Place oven rack in middle position, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and remove dough from refrigerator (allow to sit at room temperature 10-15 minutes before rolling out.)
9Put blackberries in mixing bowl and sprinkle with 3 tablespoons flour, 2/3 cup sugar, lemon juice and zest (if using) and mix very well (a few smashed blackberries is a good thing!) Set aside.
10Place 1 disk of dough on lightly floured surface and, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 12 inch circle.
11Using a bench scraper or long, straight edge chef's knife, go around and under the edge of the dough, releasing it from the surface.
12Place rolling pin on dough, slightly off-center, and using bench scraper, lift dough up and roll over rolling pin, until all dough is released.
13Unroll over metal, glass or ceramic pie plate, then center and lightly press into plate.
14Roll out 2nd crust.
15Pour berries into plated crust and dot with small pieces of the butter.
16Cover with 2nd crust and trim any excessive crust (any that is more than 3/4 inch from edge of pan.)
17Fold edge under, crimp and flute.
18Cut several slits in top and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15-20 minutes, checking browning of edge at about 50 minutes. (If becoming too brown, cover edge of pie with foil, see note.)
19When ready, filling should be bubbling, but not overflowing. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 4 hours. (For faster cooling, may be placed in refrigerator after an hour or so.)
20NOTE: To prevent over-browning of edge of piecrust, try this easy trick: Place an empty pie pan, upside down, on flat surface. Tear a square of foil from roll and fold in half. Place over half of the pan and smooth the foil down over the edge of the bottom of pan to create a half moon imprint on foil. Remove foil and use kitchen shears to cut out the "moon." Unfold and place over pie.