I just returned home from a much needed trip out West to see my family and to feed my soul. Oh, and there may have been some blackberry pie eaten for breakfast.
First I flew out to Vancouver, British Columbia to crash Scott’s math conference. Okay, really it was just to visit Vancouver – but I did listen to a couple of math talks. Then we drove down to Olympia for a few days to play at the lake and welcome my new baby nephew, Lucas, to the world.
I can only describe Vancouver as cool. Cool, in a we-are-awesome-but-feel-no-need-to-overtly-state-how-awesome-we-are-because-if-we-did-then-we-wouldn’t-be-awesome-anymore kind of way. Perfectly welcoming and charming. An enchanting combination of European and American culture, with a large dose of Pacific Northwest ruggedness thrown in. Equal parts urban, residential and scenic. The buses apologize when they are out of service and the “walking man” seems to be strutting so jauntily. How could you not be utterly delighted by such a place?
I could continue to gush, but instead I’ll just share some photos.
The totem poles.
And the sunset.
Then we were off to Olympia. While gazing out over the sunset last Thursday evening, I received a phone call from my brother letting me know that Amber was in labor. Sure enough, when Scott and I got to Olympia there was a new baby nephew to fawn over. Perfectly happy and healthy, Amber and Lucas got to go home Saturday morning before we even got into town.
There was family. (You can see that I couldn’t keep my hands off that baby.)
And of course food (with lots of “help” from Kailey).
And perhaps most importantly, there was blackberry pie. Wild blackberry pie, the only kind that is really worthwhile to eat. I think that I have finally convinced Scott of the superiority of wild blackberries (small and intensely flavorful) to the things calling themselves “blackberries” in the store (large, seedy and tasteless).
Mom’s Blackberry Pie
one 9-inch pie********** Crust 2 1/4 cups flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons sugar 16 tablespoons (1 cup) butter, cut into pieces 6 tablespoons ice-cold water The filling 3 cups wild blackberries 2/3 cup sugar (more or less, depending on the tartness of the berries) 1/4 cup flour **********
In a food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar. Pulse a couple of times to mix together. Add all of the butter and process for about 30 seconds, it should resemble cornmeal. Transfer to a bowl and add water, mixing with your hands until dough comes together. Divide in half and shape into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Roll out one disk of dough 1/8 inch thick and transfer to pie pan.
Combine berries, sugar and flour in a medium pot over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved and the berries start to pop. Pour into pie shell.
Roll out remaining pie dough and cover berries with it. Fold over edges and pinch together both crusts. Cut slits into top crust and bake at 350º for about 45 minutes. It’s a good idea to bake pie on top of a cookie sheet to prevent any spillover mess. Let cool before cutting into.
Serve with vanilla ice cream. Nothing else will suffice. And feel the happiness spread through you.