Boozy blueberry, blackberry & rye pie

Boozy blueberry, blackberry & rye pie

The Desserts of New York
Alicia Taylor

If there was a dessert that traced the passage of time, it would be sweet pie. Eaten year round, it’s the one truly seasonal sweet, its fillings changing with the next crop of fruit and vegetables, the warmth or coolness of the weather, or an upcoming American holiday. Pie, you’re cool like that. In summer, it’s all about pies bursting with luscious fruit: peaches, nectarines, sour cherries and the rainbow of berries. I’d never thought much of blueberries until I had them fresh, plump, firm and juicy in New York. It was a revelation really.

I ate them in pies too, with their crisp, flaky pastry and beautiful lattice tops. The best are found in Brooklyn – Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Butter & Scotch and The Blue Stove – where artisan pie shops channel the grandmas of America’s south and keep them fruit forward. It’s in this vein that I’ve made this nutty rye crust pie with a mix of blueberries and blackberries, and a generous splash of rye whisky to bring it all together.


Quantity Ingredient
1 small granny smith apple
350g blueberries 
400g blackberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons rye whisky or bourbon
110g caster sugar
55g light brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
raw sugar, to scatter
whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, to serve

Butter & lard pastry

Quantity Ingredient
180g unsalted butter
70g lard
180ml iced water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
185g plain flour
185g rye flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon fine salt


  1. To make the rye pastry, cut the butter and lard into 1 cm pieces and freeze for 30 minutes to firm. Combine the water and vinegar in a small jug and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Place the flours, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and lard, then process until pea-sized bits of fat remain. With the motor running, add the chilled water mixture and process until the pastry just comes together (there will be chunks of fat visible – this is a good thing!). Shape into two discs, one slightly larger than the other, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 220°C and grease a 23 cm pie dish.
  4. Roll out the larger dough disc on a lightly floured work surface until 3 mm thick, then use to line the pie dish. Trim the pastry to 3 cm beyond the rim of the dish, then refrigerate the pie shell until needed.
  5. Roll out the remaining dough disc on a lightly floured surface until 3 mm thick. Using a fluted pastry wheel, cut out 4 cm wide strips. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking paper and refrigerate until needed.
  6. Place the apple, blueberries, blackberries, lemon juice, whisky or bourbon, sugars, arrowroot and salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Pour into the pie shell. Using the pastry strips, cover the top in a lattice pattern. Trim the pastry strips to align with the pastry base, then roll the pastry under itself to sit against the rim of the dish. Flute the edge with your fingers or crimp with a fork. Brush the pastry with eggwash, then scatter generously with the raw sugar.
  7. Place the pie dish on a baking tray and bake, rotating the dish halfway through, for 20 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C and bake for a further 30–40 minutes or until the pastry is golden and cooked through, and the juices are bubbling (cover the top with baking paper to prevent the edge over-browning if necessary).
  8. Remove the pie from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 2 hours to give the juices time to settle. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


  • If you’re using a metal pie dish, decrease the temperature by 15°C; if it’s ceramic, increase it by the same amount. Fresh berries are best, but you can use frozen if they are out of season. Just thaw them first, and add an extra 2 tablespoons of arrowroot.
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