wild Ophelia's triple berry pie

May 17, 2015

wild Ophelia's triple berry pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine

"When I start to think, I freeze. And when I freeze I write like a lady who came from a clean, honorable, intelligent and quiet home. And what sort of writing is that?" 
                                                                                             ~ Martha Gellhorn, from Selected Letters
I've spent too many costly sympathies on an ill fated Ophelia and spun too many broken, unfulfilled yearnings into The Lady of Shalott's loom. For once, I would like to live, to write...to be uninhibited. Mornings & spring are heavy with promise, and something far more dangerous, hope. There's a fleeting, blissful moment when I first wake up; the tree outside my window is lush with foliage, the sun is bathing my no-longer-flannel sheets and, best of all, the worries & burdens & what ifs have not yet burst through the confines of my tranquil mind. If only I could hold onto that serenity and wear it like a bee-sting necklace, infusing frozen, distraught veins with a doses of halcyon weather, as needed.

This post & its photos have been waiting for me to (re)find myself; my own authenticity. I'm too easily disappointed. When lofty plans & far-fetched wishes tumble to the ground, I tend to retreat inward and wallow a bit too long in a state of melancholy. This blog is not immune to my occasional bouts of despondency. But that part of me IS a part of me. After 30 + years, I'm beginning to accept that I'll always be 'sometimes' moody, but maybe I can tap into the depths and turn a sorrow that's sprung from lost grasps at imagined perfections, into an untamed savage beauty. (My mother is half Irish, after all.)  I'm still organically lost and hunting through the overgrown moss-green forest of my (as of late) unkempt mind, but I this site is my child and it's been neglected far too long. And however fanciful, I'm still holding a candle for Tom Hiddleston (even through choppy, rumor-filled waters). There are perks to the idiosyncrasies of being a practical idealist.

wild Ophelia's triple berry pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine

Oh, the patience of this pie. Really, it was selfish of me to keep it from the universe for such a long time. My apologies to lustful Venus and hungry Jupiter.

When I made the crust, I wasn't certain where it would take me, or what kind of filling would fill its walnutted cobblestone shell. I firmly believe that berries, especially when they arrive in a mischief of three, will charm just about any accompaniment. Aside from the hearty texture of walnuts, the crust is also infused with espresso and whole wheat flour. It was a tad difficult to roll out (hence the broken hearted cut outs), but with a little bit of pressing & pleading, it came together beautifully. On a side note; I would not recommend tackling this crust on a humid day. ;)

The filling is a simple mix of blueberries, blackberries, raspberries + a splash of orange juice and almond extract. Feel free to mix and match with various forms of berryhood. As you can see from the photos, it's quite the juicy pie. A generous scoop of soft vanilla ice cream is highly recommended, as it mingles seductively with meandering berry juice.

Thank you, everyone, for sticking with me through my sporadic posts. Hopefully I'll be able to forage for scattered ideas & thoughts, and things will slowly return to normal. xoxo

wild Ophelia's triple berry pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine

walnut espresso whole wheat crust
makes enough for a double pie crust (can easily be cut in half for a single)

1 1/2 cups whole walnuts
1/2 cup + 4 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder (King Arthur Flour's powder is excellent; not too overbearing) If you don't have espresso powder on hand, try tossing in 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.
4 Tablespoons dark brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold & cut into cubes
about 3 Tablespoons very cold half & half cream (or milk)

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar 

In large food processor, pulse walnuts until coarsely chopped. Place chopped into a separate bowl.
Process both flours, espresso powder, and sugar; just to combine. Add cold butter cubes and pulse until butter bits are the size of oatmeal & peas (don't pulse too much, the butter chunks should not be uniform). Add chopped walnuts and pulse briefly about 2-3 times. Add 1 Tablespoon of cold cream and pulse a few times. Slowly add another Tablespoon whilst pulsing. The dough should hold together when pinched but you should still be able to see butter bits. If the dough isn't coming holding together, slowly add remaining cream; you probably won't need all 3 Tablespoons.

Divide dough into two equal parts. Form each one into a disc, wrap with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least five hours or overnight.{Note: well-wrapped, the dough can be refrigerated for about 5 days.}

Flour a large work surface. Remove one disc from refrigerator and, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll disc into a 12" circle. Carefully transfer to a 9" pie plate, trimming the overhang and crimping edges as desired.  {My dough broke apart as it was rolled out; if this happens, gently press it back together once it's in the pan.} Refrigerate crust as you roll out second disc.

Have a flat, parchment paper lined sheet on hand. Repeat rolling process with second dough disc. You can either stamp out various shapes using cookie cutters or, if you're feeling ambitious, go ahead and roll out the second dough into another 12" circle. Place cut outs (or crust) onto parchment lined sheet and chill whilst filling is prepared.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

2 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries
2 cups blackberries
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar (depending on the berries, feel free to use more or less sugar)
2 teaspoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional, but dreamy)

In a large bowl, mix everything together using a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Once combined, gently bruise and crush the berries. Don't go overboard, there should be a healthy mix of whole, half and crushed berries (try not to mush things up too much).

Remove dough-lined pie plate from refrigerator. Pour filling into the crust and try to even out the surface as much as possible. Remove dough cut-outs and place them on top of filling (keep in mind that they will expand while baking). Brush crust edges & cut outs with beaten egg and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar. {Note: if you made a solid top crust, be sure the cut about four 2" slits around the center.}

Place pie in oven and bake 45-60 minutes, or until filling starts to bubble and crust turns an even deeper golden brown. If the filling starts to spill over, place a foil lined pan on the rack below the pie.

Remove pie from oven and place onto cooling rack. Cool completely before serving.

wild Ophelia's triple berry pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine
wild Ophelia's triple berry pie :: une gamine dans la cuisine


  1. So much love for you and this pie, Valerie. I'm always happy to see a new post from you whenever they may come, and they are unfailingly thoughtful, lovely, and inspiring. Hugs to you.

  2. Sporadic posts or not, we love your writing and your recipes. You're such a beautiful soul! And I can relate to trying to find your voice, your authenticity, and the peace within yourself. It's hard, and thought provoking. But know that whatever road you're on, you've got many of us right beside you. Once again, this pie sounds spectacular. And I love the detail of the crust. Do you teach? ;) xo

  3. Valerie - missed your delicious posts! This one is not exception. What a simply stunning pie. Hope you are doing well!

  4. This pie is gorgeous, as always. And your posts are always worth waiting for. Just ... promise me you won't make us wait as long next time?

  5. I love pie, I love your ramblings, your recipes, your photos and the fact that your post are sporadic!

  6. This pie is beautiful, Valerie! What a lovely post. <3

  7. Welcome back! This pie is such a beauty! I'm so smitten with the heart cut outs and that crust is tempting me to run to the kitchen ;).

  8. Like you, I'm a very moody person and I tend to retreat inward...

    A fabulous pie! Delightfully fruity.



  9. So happy to see you post, at any time you are ready.

  10. After reading your post I was so much reminded of my own self, and the way I have always been. Thankfully, I have accepted my own moodyness - even if others close to me fail to! - quite early in life, realising I would never be that sassy, spirited, go getter high spirited being I wished I was. Now all I wish is to have sometimes some peace ;)

  11. I'm always excited to see a new post from you. Your words and recipes are always so lovely. I love the thought of walnuts and espresso wrapped together in this crust. Beautiful!

  12. beyond lovely and yummy :-) can't wait to walk this thru my kitchen. cheers~

  13. What a gorgeous pie! I love the crust designs you used :) The addition of espresso powder sounds tasty!

  14. Just arrived here by chance, I will be back often, beautiful recipe and picture!

  15. Hmmm, almost a moody pie--right down to the dark crust. I will be trying this (hoping it comes out half as lovely...)

  16. I love your photos, especially the portion with ice cream.

  17. Valerie,

    I love the healthy combination of whole wheat flour, walnut and espresso..This is an absolute YUM!

  18. This is an incredibly awesome recipe. Berry pies are irreplaceable, and these miniature versions look splendid too. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing.


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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