We had a busy morning of mortgage renewal (with two kids in tow, hurray, ugh); the last of the epic two-weeks-of-swimming-lessons-every-day (level passed, yes!); and, then we headed en famille to the market to grab some celebratory pastries and a few extra fresh goods, including berries, of course. Yes, more berries. Which means pie. Another blackberry pie, because the one last week was so delicious, especially the next day. Pie for breakfast is healthy, right? Butter, fruit, and unrefined sugar sure helped me to start the day off on the right foot (along with my requisite two coffees)!
I grew up on the west coast of Canada, annually inundated with delicious Himalayan blackberries at this time of year. When picking got slim along the perimeter of these patches of delectable invasive species, creative solutions arose. We lived close to the beach and would haul up any suitable driftwood we could find, laying them down on the bush, squishing the plants, and then walking the plank, surrounded by thorns and… blackberries, and we would pick until we couldn’t. The pain was always worth it. With yogurt containers hung around our necks, we had two hands free to glean every berry in sight. Dumping the loaded container into an even bigger 4 L ice cream bucket waiting patiently on the grass. Four kids meant lots of hands for picking, resulting in a large batch of freezer jam for the year, as well as lots of blackberry pie.
I’ve modernized the recipe that I grew up on, swapping out the refined white sugar for some Grade B maple syrup, but feel free to use good ol’ white sugar – it’ll do the trick nicely, too. While I cringe to buy blackberries in Alberta, when they never (ever) taste as good as the sun-kissed, ocean-sprayed ones of my childhood, I’ve been transplanted in the prairies long enough now that I have to rely on my vivid memories to help mask the sub-standard taste of the cultivated varietals we get here. Thankfully, with a little sugar and spice, almost anything can be nice!
Now, for the pets de sœurs! Take the trimmings from your crust and scrunch them up into a ball. Roll this out into a rectangle. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. We like to add raisins some times, too. Roll up, cinnamon bun style. Cut into 1.5-2″ wide pieces. Pop these little “nun’s farts” into an oven proof pan and throw them in the oven with your pie for 25-35 minutes, depending on their size. This is our family’s way of making pets de sœurs: my mum’s mum grew up in Québec – where this curiously named little delicacy is from – and made these for her and my mum made them for us and now I make them (and my husband wonders where they’ve been all his life). These are perfect for snacking on while you wait for your blackberry pie!