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Huckleberry Pie!

Montana's wild berries grow only at elevations above 3,500 feet. They make sensational pies, muffins, and sauces for game.
You can use fresh or partially thawed frozen huckleberries for this pie. Frozen wild Maine blueberries are also great. Check the frozen fruit sections in supermarkets for availability. Fresh or frozen blueberries will also be great in this pie. Add lime juice instead of lemon juice in the recipe. Leaf lard (from around the kidney) is my preferred second fat for the pie crust. Lacking a local source, I order mine online ( https://artofthepie.com/where-to-get-leaf-lard/ ). If you want to skip the lard, refrigerated Earth Balance shortening, in sticks, is a fine substitute. Or just use all butter in the pastry.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Pastry

  • 2 1/4 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry measuring cups to overflowing and sweep off excess with a straight edge)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter (4 ounces) cut into pieces
  • 8 tablespoons cold lard or vegetable shortening (3 1/2 ounces) cut into pieces
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar

Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 cups fresh or partially thawed frozen huckleberries (scant 1 3/4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Crust Topping

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Instructions
 

To Make the Pastry

  • Stir together the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the cold butter pieces and work them into the flour using a pastry blender or two knives until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the lard or shortening and work it into the flour until the pieces are about the same size as the butter pieces.
  • Combine the ice water and vinegar in a small cup. Add to the dry ingredients about 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with a fork. Continue mixing until the dough just gathers into a ball. Divide the dough into two portions, one slightly larger than the other. Flatten each into 1-inch-thick disks, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 2 hours. (May be made a day ahead).
  • Roll the larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12- to 13-inch circle and fit it into a 9-inch pie plate(ovenproof glass preferable). Gently nudge the pastry into the pan without stretching. The pastry should fit snugly onto the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • Trim away overhanging pastry to within 1/2-inch of the pan’s rim. Refrigerate.

To Make the Filling

  • Combine the 1 cup sugar, tapioca, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Add the huckleberries (if frozen, be sure berries are half-thawed before using) and lemon juice and fold everything together gently to combine well. Let stand 15 minutes. (It’s important to do this to soften the tapioca).
  • Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, and set a heavy baking sheet on the rack. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • While the filling stands, assemble the pie. On a lightly floured surface, roll the second piece of dough into an 11-inch circle. Spoon the huckleberry filling into the cold pastry-lined pan and dome it slightly. Distribute the butter pieces evenly over the filling.
  • Use a pastry brush dipped in water to moisten the edges of the bottom pastry and cover with the top pastry.  Press edges together firmly. Trim excess top crust to be flush with bottom crust. Fold the double thickness of pastry back on itself to make a standing rim and flute. 
  • Brush the top of the pastry lightly with water—try to avoid making little pools of water—and make 4 to 6 slits for steam to escape. Sprinkle top evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar.
  • Put the pie onto the heavy baking sheet and bake 25 minutes at 450 degrees. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees, and bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the pie juices bubble thickly through the slits, about 50 minutes more.
  • Cool the pie completely on a wire rack, at least several hours, before cutting and serving. If you cut the pie too soon, the filling will run all over the place. You can hasten the setting of the filling by refrigerating the pie for 3 to 4 hours after it has become warm.
Keyword Pie