Briarpatch Pie – Blue Ridge Cookery the L-C Way 2

since losing my original post when publishing this post from “Local Drafts” on my phone, I am redoing and finishing it up directly to published status. the other post seems permanently hung trying to publish from the WordPress app for iPhone

my dear friend Lleslie wanted the recipe for my Briarpatch Pie after seeing a pic or two on Facebook.

This recipe owes much to one of my fave recipes for Atlantic Beach pie, , itself a riff off Key Lime pie, this time with a Blue Ridge mountain berry patch spin. It also is a nod to the classic French fruit tart, delightful tasty bites of fruit on a yummy custard with tasty glaze. A great summer dessert recipe as it is best on the second day, served after being fully refrigerated. And BTW, this recipe is good for keeping in mind for using up all those egg yolks leftover from angel food cakes and meringues.

Every summer, the berry bushes proffer their bounty in copious amounts over an all-to-brief few weeks. There we are awash with more berries than one can possibly eat up. the fragile luscious juicy lovely fruits certainly don’t keep well, not even flash frozen. Ergo, one needs lots of recipes. Here is my contribution to the conservation of fresh berries for maximum consumption.

Blue Ridge Briarpatch Pie ( Tart )

quantities indicated will yield a smallish pie ( 7 or so inches)

Set butter out to soften at room temperature. Put eggs out to acclimate to room temperature as well if you are making custard same day as crusts.
Preheat oven to 350 degF.

Cracker Crust
Forget that cutting shortening into flour, rolling with chilled pins, etc. Nice cracker crusts are perfect for summer pies and oh-so-easy. Also, quite the perfect task to enlist the assistance of young junior chefs to help. How much fun can be had crushing up crackers into bits?

60 ct. saltine crackers
3 or so Tbsp sugar
organic sugar, turbinado sugar, or even good old white granulated sugar
1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) + 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) butter
real artery clogging butter. none of that healthy almost butter stuff. and I don’t recommend organic butter- some of it won’t soften up properly

1. Crush crackers into fine crumbs.
I am told this can be done with a food processor but that would mean giving up all that therapeutic time crushing things to bits with your bare hands.
2. Mix sugar in thoroughly.
3. Cream in 1/2 cup butter by hand mixing. Keep the remainder in reserve, to use if needed.
I throw the butter in a few large dollops at a time and just squish them into the crumb mixture until no more will stick. Keep on until 1/2 cup butter is thoroughly mixed in. if the mix is still a little crumbly, add dollops of remaining softened butter as needed. The “dough” should stick well together and be easy to smush around without being sticky or crumbly. And BTW, a food processor is likely to whip the butter up ( not needed ) and you will lose a lot of your mixture from clinging to sides and surfaces of the machine. Besides, you will feel so much more relaxed after you’ve smushed all that stuff together into a lovely squishy clump of gunk.
4. Prepare pan(s) to make a non stick surface.
Old schoolers will break out the Crisco. Some will enlist their friend PAM or one of her cousins and spray away. Some fortunate one will have marvelous non- stick bakeware. I’m getting very fond of cardboard bakeware and parchment paper. this step is insurance against some over baked bit of crust refusing to let go of the pan and crumbling the entire pie as a result.
5. Press mixture into pan (s) with backside of spoon.
Another great therapeutic step in cookery. I won’t mention what I imagine while pressing all that stuff into submission into even, regular surfaces. Also, another great task for the junior sous chefs. Their work can be tidied up a bit after if needed, or just baked as-is as long as there
are no bare spots. The custard always bakes up even on the topside! Who is going to compare its depths after baking?
6. Chill 15 minutes before baking. VERY IMPORTANT.
I’ve never tried baking the pie shell the next day but I imagine it could be done with a wee longer baking time.
7. Bake in oven until crust shell begins to get a little color.
15 minutes or so for small pie pan. Tart shells will take less as they are smaller. Mini-muffin pan size shells may only take 5 or so minutes. The pie is going to be baked again when filled, so over-browning crust now means scorched crust later.
7. Remove from oven. Cool at room temperature first. Pie shells can then be refrigerated ( or frozen ) for later use if needed.

Custard and Fruit Topping
This custard is not your simmer on the stove, stirring under an ever watchful eye, hyperventilating if something minutely lumpish threatens to appear. It is easy enough the junior sous chefs can be trusted with the task and be proud of the result. My chef hat’s off in a grand hurrah to whomever discovered this. Custard can be begun while cracker shells are cooling.

14 oz. evaporated milk
4 egg yolks
This task is one the junior sous chef may need help with or close training and supervision. Room temperature eggs are easier to separate, but if you forgot, oh well. No biggie, cook on.
1/2 cup lime juice
the juice is for flavor. I’m going to try mango pineapple next. the flavor chosen should complement. the fruit to be used on topping.
2 cups or so fresh vine-ripened berries – blackberries are my favorite
Polaner All-Fruit jelly – same flavor as berries.
this is my secret ingredient for fruit pie glazes. I only trust Polaner brand. I might hazard a try with some good English jelly like Crosse & Blackwell, Wilkins & Son, or even Bonne Maman.

1. Thoroughly wash, prep, and drain berries ( or other fruit)
2. Beat egg yolks into evaporated milk.
C’mon just get out a big spoon and beat it away. (cue up Michael Jackson for getting in the mood or rhythm if needed). If you have to break out the electric mixer, oh well, go ahead but don’t complain to me when you realize it will take 3x longer to clean up than you needed to spend mixing.
3. Add lime juice and beat in thoroughly.
That’s it for mixing up custard. Oh yeah- time for happy dance all around kitchen. Or a Moonwalk.
4. Fill up pie shell (s) but not over fill. custard does not rise.
5. Bake custard 10 minutes ( or two-thirds of total baking time for smaller tarts ). Custard is getting done when the shiny wet surface keeps shrinking smaller toward center and disappears. It only needs a few minutes after that. Custard is entering disaster zone of over baking if it bubbles like boiling or surface is drying out and browning. Sorry to say, this is the psychic part of baking custards- there is little visual evidence of the transition from the zone of slightly under baked and the zone of slightly over baked.
6. While custard is partially baking to set up bottom, microwave about 4 Tbsp fruit jelly until it softens into thick spoonable liquid. Key word is THICK. Thinning it it out by melting too much isn’t fatal error but will be runny instead of gooey when spooned over berries.
7. Keep pie (s) on rack in oven for next steps. Put berries in one closely packed layer on top of partly baked custard. Take some care- you don’t get do-overs in placing. Custard will clump if you try to nudge the berries around on top. It is partly baked so berries can sit up on top, rather than falling to bottom if put in when custard was a liquid when baking started.
8. Spoon softened jelly over, around, and in cracks between berries to glaze surface. My secret pie glaze- high quality jelly softened up to spoonable consistency. Forget that making sugar reductions with boiled fruit, straining and gosh knows what else requiring a half a dozen expensive chef tools. Use technology ( the microwave ) to reverse engineer the jelly to a softer state, aka fruit glaze. Major American brand jellies are too soft to start with. Stick with Polaner, or pony up a bit more for the jelly from those who invented high tea – England. ( cue music: Hail Brittania).
9. Bake 5 or so minutes more to finish for small pie. Tarts will take less time. Mini -tarts might only take 1 minute or so.
10. Remove from oven and cool thoroughly at room temperature.


I like this pie best after I’ve refrigerated it overnight and then served deliciously cold after a hot summer afternoon. For the most decadent luxuriation in berry heaven, I add whipped topping.

Whipped Topping
For those who still have a tolerable cholesterol count, go ahead and whip up some genuine whipping cream with a little sugar. This is the task the mini-bowl of your Cuisinart was meant for. For those who are already treading way over their dietary regulations with all that butter and egg yolks, use some other product. Just don’t tell me when you serve it and I may be none the wiser.

enjoy- Salud y pesetas- y tiempo para gozarlas.

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