Baking Memories- Elderberry Pie

I remember my mother making pie in the summer

and autumn.  There was no time to make pies in the

winter or spring because she had to transplant all those

little seedlings all day long.

But in the late summer and early fall- there was pie!

One of my favorite was the elderberry pies she would bake.

Since there were 9 of us in our family – it was never just one pie

– there were always at least two- more likely 4 pies to make at

a time- and they would usually be gone within  a couple of days.

But the elderberry pies were magical for me.

Elderberries grew in our backyard- and we waited  until

they were

heavy and purple and then we picked them by the armful.

The berries as small as bb shot- and the flavor raw too intense to really

enjoy- we would roll the heads clean into a stainless steel bowl out on the

picnic table and when we finally got enough to make a pie- one of us little

girls would run them into the kitchen and empty them into a bigger bowl and

then we would start over filling the bowl.  It took 4 cups of elderberries to

make a pie and our thumbs and forefingers would turn purple as we deftly

took hold of a small branch of berries and rolled them off the tiny little

twigs holding them on.  We would have to keep those little twigs out of the

bowl- as well as the tiny spiders that were hanging out on those branches.


4 cups of elderberries, 1 cup of white sugar, 2-3 Tablespoons of lemon juice,

4 Tablespoons of cornstarch and a tiny bit of water cooked together until the

mixture boiled.  Then set aside to cool down.  Poured into a crust filled 9inch

pie plate, dotted with butter , lightly dusted with a teaspoon of cinnamon and

covered with a top crust.  Baked in a 375 degree F oven for 50 minutes until the

berries bubble up in the crust and it is all golden brown and purple.



Elderberry pie.

Like my momma used to make.  Smile

13 thoughts on “Baking Memories- Elderberry Pie

  1. Your pie looks very much like what Mom use to make. There were times when we would make 27 pies at a time. There were always eaten before they could go bad.Love you!

  2. You know, Cynthia, the # 27 kept coming to mind but I didn’t want to sound too outrageous! I remember whole pies disappearing in just minutes.
    Thanks for sharing your memories and for helping to make all those pies so long ago!

  3. I’ve only had a chance to play with elderberries once – a friend gave me some from her farm – they’re not a fruit that grows commonly around here! But they were so delicious that I can only imagine how good your pie tasted! Lovely memories, thanks for sharing them with us, Heidi! xx

    • Celia,
      Elderberries are getting scarce here in suburbia as well. Jordan just reminded me how we could pick them from bushes growing by the side of our road ten years ago.
      And I just heard from a friend who has a friend who owns a farm and her tenant gathered up the elderberries and took them to a farmer’s market!
      But unfortunately not the markets I go to.

  4. Like Celia, I never see elderberries, I’m not even sure I’ve tasted one before. Saying that, if it’s fruit and it’s in a pie Heidi, yep I’d love it no doubt.
    My mum used to make apple pies all the time. Every time I would go to the fridge to get something I would a break just a little of the pastry off of the remaining pie…I’m sure all my siblings did the same- wasn’t much left it after that!

    • Apple pies are my favorite! We had an old tree that I would gather apples from and cut out all the bad parts and make large sheet pies that could be cut into squares and eaten out of hand.
      Happy pie memories!

  5. I have picked elderberries but never thought to make a pie with them. The elderflowers were not so good this year but I will look out for them on my walks. There is no tradition of pie in my childhood family, I don’t recall my mother ever making pastry, she didn’t bake at all. I love the vision of your home filled to the brim with hot golden pies oozing full of fruit and hungry people drawn to the table and all tucking in together, 27 pies…. Do you eat pie with cream or custsrd or just a fork ? 🙂

    • We eat them mainly with a fork- although I’m not averse to ice cream!
      What do you do with the elderberries you pick?
      My mother preferred pie to cake or cookies- although she made plenty of those as well. We had a large family and lots of visitors so we had loads of goodies on the weekends!

      • I read a recipe for a condiment called Pontack sauce which you are supposed to let mature for seven years so I had a go at making that. I have used it in casseroles and it gives a wonderful dark colour to the sauce. I think I might have used some in a jam one time but I don’t tend to pick fruits that I am not sure what I will use them for if that makes sense, so they are probably one I leave for the birds. Though I do fancy trying your pie! The more people pick the flowers of course for the cordial, the fewer berries in the autumn.. elderflower cordial is very very popular in the UK.

  6. NOW I know why Dad loves elderberries so much! Want to hear something sad? I have never seen ANY elderberries here! I look everywhere I go, along the railroad tracks, remote trails, sides of dirt roads, Mennonite farmer’s markets, EVERYWHERE! But no elderberries. Maybe some summer when I’m home I’ll make it a point to hike down the railroad tracks again and bring some back with me. In the meantime, I’ll keep looking at your pie picture and drool! 🙂

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