Welcome to The Basil & Cinnamon Sagas! I'm Alexa, and I am a food and travel blogger who loves cooking, baking, eating, and storytelling. Enjoy reading and eating your way through the Sagas found here!

Bruise Berry Pie

Bruise Berry Pie

I have something very exciting to share with you all: IT'S PI DAY!!! 3.14, 03/14, March 13th, the day of the mathematical number (and Greek letter) of pi: π. 

My excitement for this day is not rooted in a profound love for the numerical, nor a secret desire to drop-kick writing and become a professional mathematician. Truth is, I care little for anything more than simple math. Math was never a friend to me growing up, and we've remained respectfully distant in recent times. The only time where we've met cordially was in my accounting classes these past two years, where math was rather limited in its ability to badger me.

But there is definitely one day of the year where I welcome math with open arms and party hats, and that is on the day we celebrate π!

Sadly for math, this is not because I like determining the circumference of a circle. Rather, it is because I've had enough math teachers in my past who have their stuff together and realize that pi really just means pie, and sometimes even pizza pie, and we have a party + circle shaped FOOD, which (naturally) = much happiness.

Now that's an equation I can get behind.

So yes, clearly I've made a pie here to share with you guys in honor of pi(e) day--the pics should have clued you in to that, and if not the pics, than certainly the title of this post. However, before we get to the pie, let's talk spring break and the American South for a hot second.

I am now four days into my spring break trip (shoot, time flies). The first day I went back to the homeland and spent a lovely afternoon/evening in Colorado, and it was surprisingly warm (60°!) and sunshiney. My dogs were almost as happy to see me as I was to see them, but it was a competition to see whether my mom or I were more excited to see each other. We had a great talk about food and sustainable/organic agriculture vs. conventional/industrial agriculture. Super interesting and IMPORTANT stuff--shoot me an email or comment if you're intrigued because I could gab about this all day, but that's not the point of this post so we gonna scoot off to a new topic.

The next morning, Dad and I got up at the wee hour of 3am to boogie off to the airport, and we were shooting across the sky to Florida by 6:15am. 

GUYS. FLORIDA. In the words of the illustrious Buddy the Elf (who is hero to us all): "I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!"

Everything about Sarasota is wonderful to me (Disclaimer: except the mosquitos who bit my arm and my calf, but they got what they deserved. Also: not a huge fan of the 7-foot gator that decided to hang out some 30 feet from where I slept the other night). I love it all: the giant live oak trees with draping Spanish moss floating softly in the breeze; street names like Crape Myrtle and Mauna Loa and Pineapple and Lemon; morning bike rides, looking at beautiful houses painted in bright, beachy colors; flowers in shades so vivid they pop like candy from planters and shrubs and even bougainvillea vines; fresh fruit for breakfast and fresh veggies for dinner; laying on Siesta Beach (#1 in the USA) and letting the sun soak into my skin and the 99% pure quartz sand run like sugar through my fingertips. 

Shockingly enough, that list could go on and on, because I have so much more I love about Sarasota and Florida. We haven't even breached discussing the seafood (Mahi Mahi, Caribbean grouper, SHRIMP), or the fact that the humidity is quickly healing my poor cracked skin, or the key lime pie that was waiting for us upon arrival.

Did you catch my segue back to pie day there? The first night in Sarasota, there were key lime pie and razzleberry pie at my aunt and uncle's house in preparation for the family's arrival. As they had not a clue that pie day was quickly approaching, this was merely a happy coincidence. This brought my pie day celebrations up to a perfect trifecta of pies in my near vicinity: key lime pie, razzleberry pie, and my Bruise Berry Pie.

Bruise Berry Pie is a recipe (and name) of my own concoction, made specifically to share here on The Sagas for Pie Day 2017. It's a spiced blackberry and blueberry pie, and black and blue is how you describe a bruise (i.e. "beaten black-and-blue"). So naturally, bruise berry pie came to be how I referred to my pie (for transparency purposes: no berries were harmed in the making of this pie. I cannot guarantee the same about the eating of it). 

This is seriously good pie. I'd recommend using this pie crust recipe; I haven't gotten around to making my own pie crust recipe, and honestly I'm not very tempted to because Libby's is so good: buttery and flaky, basically everything I want a pie crust to be. I always adapt it very slightly by using butter instead of vegetable shortening, and I also double it so as to have both a top and bottom pie crust. I've gotten good reviews across the board about it (though I will admit, college students and my pie-loving family and friends are not known to be the harshest food critics in the world).

The pie filling itself is delectable. The blueberries are gushy, while the blackberry adds a richer flavor and a little bit of crunch with the seeds. The lemon juice and cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves add zest and vibrancy, and when mixed together, the brown sugar and vanilla extract create a little caramel glaze that really seals in all those sugary, fruity flavors. Sweet-tooths rejoice!

Here's an idea: let's change the phrase "I'll beat you black-and-blue" to mean serving someone a heaping slice of bruise berry pie. Sounds like a better thing to do, right? So with that decided, happy pie day, people! Measure the circumference of your very own bruise berry pie--or don't. Maybe you'll make like me and my family, and just chow down. :)

xoxo Alexa

Bruise Berry Pie

Makes: 8 servings

Takes: 1 hour & 50 minutes (45 mins. prep, 65 mins. cook)

The Characters:

  • 2 pie crusts (store-bought, or I suggest this recipe, but doubling it and using butter instead of vegetable shortening)
  • 4 cups blueberries
  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 3 Tbsp. tapioca
  • 1 & 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 sprinkle cloves
  • 3/4 cup white sugar + white sugar to sprinkle
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 egg

The Saga:

  1. Rinse and drain blueberries and blackberries. You can use fresh or frozen fruit. If using frozen, thaw and drain the excess water before beginning.
  2. Put berries in a large bowl and add tapioca, lemon juice, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and 3/4 cup of the white sugar. Mix together gently (so as not to break the berries) until all the fruit is covered. Note: I would recommend mixing the brown sugar and vanilla together in a small bowl before adding to the big bowl. This way, they make a nice caramel-like spread to pour over the fruit.
  3. Cover the bowl, and put in the refrigerator to chill and thicken for one half hour.
  4. While the berry filling is thickening, if you want to make homemade pie crust, do so at this point.
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  6. Cover the base of a pie pan with one of the pie crusts.
  7. Pour thickened berry mixture into the pie pan on top of the bottom pie crust. Dice 3 Tbsp. of butter into small cubes and place throughout the filling.
  8. Cover with the second pie crust and seal the edges closed. Note: If you are leaving your top crust whole, make sure to cut four slits in the center (like a disconnected x) so that air can escape while the pie is baking. If you are making a lattice or other open top, the pie will already be properly ventilated.
  9. Lightly beat an egg and use a pastry brush or fork to paint it over the top of the pie crust. Then, sprinkle the top crust with a little bit of white sugar. 
  10. Cover pie with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes at 400°.
  11. Turn oven down to 350° and bake for another 40 minutes. 
  12. Remove aluminum foil, and bake for another 15 minutes, or until crust has turned a golden brown, checking every five minutes. 

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