When my sister, Anna, was younger, she was pretty much the cutest child in the entire world. I, on the other hand, struggled with adorability, as is evidenced by this photo of my little sister and
Cousin It me getting our cat from The Humane Society.
Fortunately for me, as the older sister, she was as dumb then as she is pretty, and often took the fall for my misdeeds.
Right before Christmas photos one year, I cut Anna’s bangs à la Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted . Surely realizing that my handiwork would not go over well with the grownups in the next room, I coached my doe-eyed sister to claim responsibility. Soon thereafter, she emerged from the hall bathroom, exclaiming, “I did it myself!”
Countless times during our childhood, my mother would find boogers smeared on the walls. Not wanting to admit to this disgusting crime, I always kept my mouth shut, because I knew if I just waited it out, Anna would admit that she was the booger-smearer and hang her tiny head in shame.
I always thought this was an act of fierce loyalty on her part, that she was a sisterly sacrificial lamb of sorts. Turns out, we were both discarding our nose-trash in this inappropriate manner, and she just couldn’t tell which remnants were hers and which were mine.
Sadly, this trend continued well into our teens, when I ratted out the absent Anna for eating all of the ice cream, cookies, or bread, when I was really the one who had finished them off moments before.
So really, she probably saved me numerous spankings and talkings-to throughout the years. The least I can do is make her a birthday pie.
Sure, birthday cake is the standard, but birthday pie is way more delicious when your birthday is at the peak of summer, two days after Independence Day. Especially when that pie is made with blackberries. With some candied ginger thrown in.
If I know my sister—and I’d like to think that I do, considering we were teammates in the Booger Hiding Championship of ’94—she’s a sucker for pies and ginger. I think I nailed it.
- 3 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1¼ cups (282 grams) unsalted butter, thinly sliced and chilled
- 6 tablespoons ice water
- 6 cups (850 grams) blackberries
- ¼ cup (40 grams) chopped crystallized ginger
- ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar
- 3 tablespoons (24 grams) cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
- Combine 2 cups (240 grams) of flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to mix. Lay butter slices evenly over the surface of the flour mixture and pulse until fully incorporated and the dough starts to clump up, about 25 pulses. Redistribute dough evenly in the food processor bowl and sprinkle remaining 1 cup (120 grams) of flour over the surface. Pulse another 5 times, then pour out into a large mixing bowl.
- Sprinkle cold water over the dough. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dough until it comes together and forms a ball. Divide evenly and form two disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°F. Roll dough disks out into two 12-inch rounds. Lay one dough round into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan and place in the refrigerator. Carefully fold and refrigerate the other dough round.
- In a large bowl, toss the blackberries, chopped crystallized ginger, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Let stand for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove pie pan from the refrigerator and pour blackberry filling into the crust. Cut remaining dough round into strips and weave the strips on top of the pie filling to create a lattice top. Trim the dough so there is about ½-inch of overhang, then fold the bottom crust over the lattice edges and crimp to seal the crust.
- Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush on top of lattice pieces and edges of the pie crust. Place small cubes of butter in the lattice holes.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Let cool before serving.