I have to tell you about the pie I made this past weekend. I’m kind of proud. The crust was buttery and rich, not too sweet or flaky, with a slight hint of cinnamon. It was beautiful, nontraditional, with tiny orbs instead of the typical grandma-inspired lattice. Inside, it overflowed with three different types of berries that had soaked in crème de cassis, sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice. It was awesome.

And here’s the secret: Most of the filling was made with crow berries.

By now we’ve all heard the bad news about this season’s blueberry crop. It’s a bust. But I love the tradition of hiking to my secret spot in the mountains, (everyone has one) and I wasn’t going to miss it this year either.

It left me with one choice. Look for a tiny, hidden patch of blueberries while picking crow berries as a backup.

Crow berries are much smaller, not as sweet as and tougher than our beautiful Alaska blueberries, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make something awesome with them.
You need to sweeten the mixture by adding raspberries and a few store bought blueberries for the filling.

Here’s a recipe I’ve been working on that I’ve tweaked from the most fabulous cookbook in the world: The Silver Palate. The crust is awesome, but the berry filling would be perfection served by itself over ice cream.

I’m going to infuse vodka with the leftover crow berries and use it as Christmas presents. A little reminder of summer when we’re deep in the heart of winter.

Filling

  • 1 quart of blueberries
  • 1 quart of raspberries and crow berries
  • 1 cup creme de cassis
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 freshly squeezed lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Making the filling

Combine the berries, creme de cassis, and grated lemon zest in a bowl. Cover and let stand several hours, or overnight. Later, drain the liquid from the berries into a small saucepan. Stir in the sugar, water, lemon juice and cornstarch. Cook over a medium heat, stirring until it thickens and is glossy. Pour over the blueberries and stir to combine. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Now you can either put the berries into a pie crust or bake by itself for an ice cream topping. Bake until the pie is crust is golden brown or until your berry mixture has thickened if you’re just making the berries by themselves. About 50 minutes. Serve warm.