Boysenberry Pie

Come late May and early June, my mother’s boysenberry vine comes alive with fruit. Boysenberries look like blackberries, but are actually a cross between blackberries, loganberries, and raspberries. As such they fruit much earlier in the season than blackberries, and they are more delicate in touch and taste. As a vine to cultivate, they aren’t nearly as thorny as blackberries and neither are they as invasive of a plant. I used to grow blackberries in San Francisco and it was a constant struggle to keep them from taking over the yard. (Trivia fact: the hybrid boysenberries were popularized by Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm.)

This berry pie recipe is easy to put together. The tricks are to let the whole berries macerate in sugar first, and to use instant tapioca as a thickener. You can use corn starch instead of the instant tapioca, but we found that it is harder to gauge the correct amount and tapioca has a nice consistency that works well with berries.

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Boysenberry Pie Recipe

Ingredients

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  • 1 pie dough recipe for top and bottom crust
  • 5 cups boysenberries (can substitute blackberries or marionberries), rinsed, picked clean, lightly patted dry (if you use frozen berries, first defrost them and then drain them of excess moisture)
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want your pie)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp quick cooking instant tapioca (you can find it in the baking aisle of your supermarket)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten, for egg wash

Method

1 Put berries, sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg, and quick tapioca in a large bowl. Gently fold so that the berries are all coated with some sugar. Let sit for 30 minutes.

2 Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out one ball of pie dough on a lightly floured surface to 12-inch diameter. Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with the dough. Chill in refrigerator while you roll out the bottom crust.

3 Roll out second ball of pie dough. If you plan to do a lattice top, as pictured, prepare the dough strips as described in How to Make a Lattice Top for a Pie Crust.

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4 Scoop berry mixture into dough-lined pie dish. If you would like your pie to have a lattice top, weave strips of pie dough over the top of the fruit-filled pie dish. If you would like your pie to have a solid top, place the second rolled-out pie dough crust on top of the pie. Press ends of strips into the rim of the bottom crust. Trim the edges to 1/2-inch. Fold the edges back over themselves and crimp to seal. If you are using a solid top crust, score the top to create air vents.

Gently brush the top with beaten egg.

5 Place pie on middle rack of the oven, on a baking sheet to catch any juices that might bubble over. Bake at 400°F for 30 minutes. Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pie to protect the edges and tops from getting burnt. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 30 minutes, until crust is browned and filling is bubbly.

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Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Cool completely before serving (or the filling will be runny).

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26 Comments

  1. Amy

    This looks so wonderful! It makes my mouth water just looking at those pictures. In the central coast, we have similar berries called olallieberries. My mom most often uses them in cobbler. No one anywhere else seems to have heard of them, but they are quite delicious warm right off the vine on vanilla ice cream! Come to think of it, the season starts right around now. U-pick, here we come!

  2. Liza

    Wow, that looks wonderful. I can’t wait to try it with some fresh blackberries. I never thought to use tapioca as a thickener but it makes total sense.

  3. Katie

    To get that photo I would have had to shoot it the exact second the slice was lifted from the pie- a second before the walls of filling caved in like the red seas collapsing back.

  4. Mary

    This looks wonderful. Berry pies are delicious, but they tend to be so expensive in the grocery store that I never want to buy enough for a pie. I love the idea of growing them though. How difficult are they to keep happy (other than making sure they don’t take over the yard)?

    Once a year, after the season has ended, they need to be severely cut back, which can be somewhat of a task. But my mom seems to manage. In the spring they should be mulched and fertilized. ~Elise

  5. Laura

    I’m pretty sure that is one of the most delicious looking pies I have ever seen and it’s just a photo! Looks delicious, I love boysenberries and really, any type of berry! I wish berries weren’t so expensive here!

  6. Amanda

    Such a pretty pie. It reminds me of summer, with the rich purplish colors. Hopefully I can find some boysenberries at the local farmers market soon so I can test this recipe out. If not, I will substitute blackberries or blueberries.

  7. Mike

    That looks delicious and such a nice lattice! I’ve never found fresh boysenberries, but I’ve always had a thing for just about any boysenberry-based item I can find (jelly, jam, syrup, etc). One of these days I’ll try this pie!

  8. Julie O'Hara

    That’s a ridiculously beautiful pie. I’m thinking of making a cobler today with all the nice berries that are finally around. I’d love my own crop, though!

  9. Whitney

    Can you make fruit pies with frozen berries? It seems like if you are going to mascerate them anyway they would get to the consistency of thawed. Or perhaps cooking while still frozen? Obviously I have no experience with this.

    Yes you can make pies with frozen berries. Defrost them first and let the excess moisture drain off, before adding the sugar. ~Elise

  10. Donna Bennett Australia

    How good does this pie look? I cannot wait to make it, I am having a dinner party next week and with the lattice top it looks ever so fancy.

  11. subharati

    I don’t think I can make a pie crust by myself, therefore I am wondering whether you have any suugestions for a good brand of pre- prepared pie crust? I really want to make one but its the crust that makes me loose all enthusiasm.

    Trader Joe’s has a decent frozen crust that comes folded, in a box. ~Elise

  12. Patricia Scarpin

    I have got to try making a beauty like this sometime!

  13. Lyndsay

    When I have attempted to make berry pies in the past, my bottom crust is soggy. Is there any methods to consider so that the bottom crust cooks and doesn’t just turn to mush?! I love your site – keep the deliciousness coming, Elise!

  14. Carly

    I have NEVER made a pie before, but this actually seems quite simple. I am going to make it tonight. I hope it turns out as pretty as the picture!!!

  15. Susan from Food Blogga

    Your mom has a boysenberry vine? What’s her address again? That pie is just beautiful.

  16. Richard Lambert

    I remember the occasional boysenberry treat when I was a kid..so when I saw some starter vines at my local Art Knapps, I bought a couple, not expecting much. A year later and they have taken over a 30 foot span along a brick wall…and do I mind? Not at all! The berries are big a sassy and taste wonderful. A pie? I admire your self restraint it getting as far as the bush to the kitchen. We dumped about 3 cubic yards of mushroom manure and compost on them last year – made them grow like weeds..

    Good luck to you all – enjoy your berries!

    – Rich.

  17. Bev

    I used this recipe. I appreciated the picture of what boysenberries looked liked and the health infor. I used prepared frozen pie shells,I pricked the bottom crust and bake it @ 350 degrees with aluminum foil around the crust(to prevent burning once the fruit is added). The pie was simply delicious. The quick cooking tapioca made the pie look like the photo. There are instructions on the tapioca box .

  18. Emily

    How many servings does one pie have for a 9 inch pan?

    6 to 8, depending on how large the slices. ~Elise

  19. Brandi

    Looking forward to making this! Quick question, in step 5, should the foil go on at the start or after the first 30 min of baking?

    After the first 30 minutes of baking. The edges should get browned first, then you need to protect them so that they don’t get burnt. ~Elise

  20. Hillary

    Umm…. *teleports pie to my house*
    It looks absolutely perfect!!!! I wish I could have it right now!

  21. Megan

    Can I substitute cornstarch for the tapioca?

    Yes, you should be able to do a one-to-one substitution with cornstarch. ~Elise

  22. Eliza

    Wow… thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! The pie crust recipe and tips were the most valuable to me. I didn’t have enough boysenberries so I bulked the pie out with slices of apple, it was truly divine and looked a million dollars. My boyfriend couldn’t believe the lattice top and now thinks I’m amazing ;) Thanks so much!

  23. Jill

    Hi Elise,

    I just made this pie! Not quite as pretty as yours, but a big hit with the husband.

    Blackberries are in season here in Northern California. This was the perfect seasonal treat.

    An extra thank you for the tips and tricks making the lattice. I would not have had the guts to try it without your help.

    One question – Whole Foods carries Tapioca starch (which I used) but not instant Tapioca. Does it matter much??

    Warm regards,

    Jill

    Tapioca starch should work fine. ~Elise

  24. Ed

    Is it possible to construct and then freeze the pie before cooking?
    I’m looking to make 5-6 for a weekend event and I’d like to have them ready to bake and serve from the oven on the day.
    Thank you.

    Yes, though I haven’t done it. I’m guessing that all you have to do is put the pie together, as if it were going in the oven, wrap it in plastic and then foil, and then freeze. Just go straight from freezer to oven and cook a bit longer. If anyone has a different way of doing this, or can confirm that this method works, please let us know in the comments. ~Elise

  25. Benjie Randall

    Elise,

    This may be a very stupid question. But do I make the instant tapioca with the milk in the microwave and add that to the mixture? Or just add the dry tapioca mix in with the berries and sugar? I’ve never baked a thing in my life but this is my fathers favorite pie and I want to make him one for Christmas
    Thank you
    Benjie

    Just add the dry instant tapioca to the filling ingredients. ~Elise

  26. Mary M

    Hi! I’m a bit of a baking newbie. For the instant tapioca, do we just put it in, in powdered form? So like, not pudding form? Thank you!

    Yes, use the powdered (or granular as it is more aptly described) form. Not cooked. ~Elise

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