Even after making frozen yogurt and jelly, our seemingly never ending supply of wild blackberries still provided enough berries to make a pie. I am writing this from Sydney although the pie was made while home in Michigan. I had a wonderful and relaxing holiday and am thankful to have spent so much time with my family. I love this pie and the only thing that could have made it better would have been cooler weather in which to bake it (and maybe some ginger). It was oppressively humid when I finally slid it into the oven – making the ice cream accompaniment a necessity. I cut down the sugar in my recipe from the original Gourmet instructions to make it a bit more tart. Our berries were very juicy and the pie overflowed onto the baking tray making me glad I used one!

Willem Claesz Heda, Breakfast Table with Blackberry Pie, 1631
oil on wood, 54 x 82 cm, Gemäldegalerie, Dresden

As one of the earliest still life painters of the Dutch Golden Age, Willem Claesz Heda is known for his little breakfast scenes called ontbijtjes. Heda’s paintings are dramatically lit with a multitude of reflective trinkets, glasses and bowls. The table, laden with objects, is divided by the white tablecloth with a knife and a key on blue ribbon protruding into the viewer’s space. The objects are tousled, glasses overturned and the pie half eaten, which gives the painting a feeling of action. Heda’s work is similar in composition and colouration to that of his contemporary, Pieter Claesz, another notable Dutch still life painter. Breakfast Table with Blackberry Pie is closely related to the painting Still Life (Bodegón with pie of fruits and diverse objects) painted three years later and housed at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. The Spanish museum applied the term bodegón – a kitchen/pantry scene where the objects are arranged against a dark background. The Spanish bodegón scenes were derived from Dutch Golden Age paintings similar to Breakfast Table with Blackberry Pie.

{Plum & Blackberry Streusel Pie}

adapted from Gourmet

4 plums
1 c blackberries
2/3 + 1/2 c sugar (divided)
3TB tapioca
2 TB cornstarch
1 tsp lemon zest
3/4 tsp salt (divided)
pastry crust
1 c oats
1/2 c flour
1 stick butter
vanilla ice cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Slice the plums and in a large bowl, toss them with the blackberries,  2/3 c sugar, tapioca, cornstarch, zest and salt.

In another bowl, stir together the oats, flour, 1/2 c sugar and 1/2 tsp salt. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it forms small clumps.

Place the pie crust in the pie pan and on a large flat baking tray. Mound the fruit into the shell and cover the filling with the crumbled streusel topping.

Bake the pie for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until the streusel topping is golden brown. Let the pie cool completely, at least 3 to 4 hours in order to set. If sliced too soon after baking the filling will turn to berry soup on the plate. Serve with vanilla ice cream.