in the kitchen with: adrienne blumthal’s blackberry balsamic pie

It’s blackberry season again, and we have another great, easy recipe to use up the blackberries you may collect in the wild or buy at your favorite produce outlet. This recipe for a Blackberry Balsamic Pie with Sea Salt Walnut Crumble comes from food stylist and creator of PieBox, Adrienne Blumthal. I was attracted to this recipe for two reasons: first, the sea salt walnut crumble, and second, the PieBox that the pie is in!! Since Ashley began her Small Measures column here at Design*Sponge, I’ve taken note of the many things I can do to clean up my home environment and help contribute to a better world. Glass is heavy, and plastic containers are soooo 20th century, but this wood box fits the bill. It’s too early for Christmas, but a home-baked pie in a PieBox will definitely be on my list this year! — Kristina

About Adrienne: Adrienne Blumthal is a Chicago-based food stylist from southern Illinois who has turned her lifetime passion for baking into a career. Prior to becoming a food stylist, she worked in brand communications on the agency side for six years, then decided to jump ship and go to pastry school. In addition to styling, she also develops and writes recipes, and recently she created PieBox, a locally made (in Chicago) reusable raw pie box designed to safely (and stylishly) transport pie.

Images by Steven Karl Metzer

Read Adrienne’s recipe after the jump . . .

Blackberry Balsamic Pie with Sea Salt Walnut Crumble

Note: This recipe is for a 9-inch deep-dish pie. If using a smaller pie pan, you may have some filling and crumble left over.

For the Pie Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
  • 4 tablespoons ice cold water


For the Filling

  • 4 1/2 cups fresh blackberries (about three 6-oz. containers)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • zest of 1 lemon


For the Crumble

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes


Pie Dough

Combine flour and butter in a food processor. Pulse 7 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition. If dough seems too dry, add additional cold water by the tablespoon. Remove pie dough from food processor and mold into a circular disk. Cover and let refrigerate for at least 25 minutes.


Mix blackberries, sugars, cornstarch, balsamic and lemon zest in a bowl. Turn the mixture with a spoon several times to ensure the blackberries are coated.


Stir together oats, flour, brown sugar, walnuts and sea salt in large bowl. Add butter and rub into the mix with your fingertips (just like you would with pie dough!), pressing the mixture together until clumps form.

Bake and Assemble the Pie

Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out dough on a floured surface and transfer to 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Trim any crust overhang, fold under and crimp the edges. Spoon the blackberry filling into the dough-lined pan. Sprinkle crumble on top, fully covering the blackberries. Bake pie for 45–50 minutes or until filling is bubbling and topping is brown and crisp. Check pie after 25 minutes of baking and cover the edges with foil if the crust or crumble seems to be browning too quickly.

Why Adrienne Loves This Pie

I love this pie because it’s simple, yet sophisticated. It’s the type of pie that takes no time to make but looks like it took hours. The balsamic and lemon zest in the filling enhances the bold flavor of the blackberries, while the walnuts and sea salt in the crumble balance the sweetness.

  1. I am not a big pie person, but this looks way too good to pass up, especially now that there are hundreds of blackberries growing in our yard right now. Yum!

  2. how2home says:

    Mmmmmm…..this looks so good! Thx for sharing this fabulous recipe with us :) Have an awesome weekend everyone!

  3. Malka says:

    This looks amazing. I can’t wait to give this recipe a try.

  4. michelle says:

    I don’t care if it is too hot to turn the oven on. I am making this pie tonight anyway!

  5. Diana says:

    I’m a huge pie person especially when it comes to non-traditional flavors. Definitely trying this out!

  6. Wow, this looks and sounds Amazingly delish!!!! I am going to make this baby! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Marina says:

    Hi and thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. It’s winter in Australia, so could we substitute the fresh berries for frozen? Has anyone tried it with Blueberries?

  8. Adrienne says:

    Hi Marina,

    Yes, you can substitute frozen blackberries for fresh. Just be sure to thaw them before making the filling!

  9. Christine says:

    This looks perfectly scrumptious. Heading out to the Farmers Market in the morning to get the berries and then start baking for my family dinner dessert. Or perhaps my afternoon snack.

  10. Lela says:

    It really does look very yummy. It’s an interesting combination of flavors for a pie. Guess I will give it a try,,,

  11. Denise says:

    I made the pie and the crumble is great. Next time I will leave out the balsamic and let the blackberries shine. Keep it simple, I say

  12. louisa says:

    I just made this pie with wild native blackberries and wild blackcap raspberries. I make a lot of pies. jeez louise. this is the best blackberry pie i have ever made. hands down. xo.

  13. Carolyn says:

    I’ve just fulfilled a life dream of moving to beautiful Washington state this past month, and the icing on my cake has been the discovery of my favorite berry of all time, just begging to be plucked from the bushes on every random woodsy streetcorner! Now I can further flesh out the fantasy of pick/bake/eat blackberry pie. Just put them all over my salad today. Oh my! Is this heaven?
    Can’t wait!

  14. I love blackberries, and the addition of balsamic vinegar is so interesting. I would love to give this a try. I use balsamic on pretty much everything.

  15. John Heier says:

    Fantastic, northern Ca and this blackberry walnut will be at the dinner table tonight. I grow both and still picking fresh blackberries on Thanksgiving. Thanks

  16. Ali says:

    Ive made this now 3 times, first for xmas eve.. or just entertaining friends at home.. its the new family favorite! love it! Its so good :)

  17. Den says:

    First of all, three 6 oz. cartons is not 4 1/2 cups of blackberries. So, I went with the 4 1/2 cups of blackberries. There was a lake of juice at the bottom of the pie. I’ve never seen a pie so runny before! Very embarrassing, as this was a birthday gift. I was even generous on my cornstarch scoops!

  18. Marta says:

    I made this about a week ago and it was absolutely perfect! The balsamic really made the flavour of the blackberries pop and the walnut crumble complimented the filling wonderfully. Would highly recommend and will definitely be making again. Thanks for the recipe!

  19. franceska .. says:

    wow… jai faite cette tarte, quelle délice !! sucré, salé …… croquante … mmmm ma note 10/10 merci pour cette belle recette !! a refaire cest sur.


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