Kicking It Old School: How To Make the Best Elderberry Pie

In a culinary culture defined by constant new innovations and trends, it can be comforting to reach into the past and grab a tried-and-true recipe. Although less famous than grandma’s apple pie, the historic roots of elderberry pie run just as deep. Elderberry pie recipes can be dated back to the early 17th century and eaters around the globe have been in love with the sweet/tart pastry ever since. Give your patrons a taste of the old school with these tips for the best elderberry pie.

Choose Wisely

The best dishes start at the source, or in this case, at the shrub. While you’re more than likely to come across a few varieties during the season, the common Adams variety is your best bet in baked goods. This variety is distinguishable by its large, deep purple hue and slightly firm fruit. If you can’t get your hands on Adams elderberries, York elderberries are a great pinch hitter because they have the largest fruit of any variety.  

Know The Dough

Top quality dough makes or breaks any pie. To start, try adding cold shortening and butter when preparing your crust to make sure that you end up with a flakey, mouth watering tender crust. We also find that lying a moist cloth under a piece of parchment paper before rolling the dough makes the entire process easier, as the cloth prevents the dough from rolling around, ensuring a smooth, perfectly shaped crust. As always, be cautious when layering to make sure you get a beautifully latticed top.

  • Pro Tip: Use vegan butter or coconut oil instead of butter to appeal to the vegan crowd!

The Perfect Mixture

While we’re fans of cooked elderberries on their own, their overall flavor profile can really benefit from some choice additions. Adding a splash of lemon juice into your elderberry mixture can do wonders, and don’t be afraid to add fall spices like cinnamon or nutmeg! Additionally, we’d recommend going a little heavier on the sugar than you would with other berry pies, but be careful not to overdo it; too much can quickly drown out any underlying tart notes.

We All Scream For Ice Cream

Vanilla ice cream and elderberry pie are a true match made in heaven. Serving your slices a la mode offers a fantastic textures and flavors, plus it’s a great way to stay in that old school spirit! Mixing stark white vanilla ice cream with the dark purple filling of elderberry pie makes for an aesthetically pleasing plate that practically begs to be added to an instagram feed.

  • Pro Tip: Try adding some elderberry jam to your house-made ice cream!