A berry good pie

Recipe calls for wild raspberries

Recipe calls for wild raspberries

July 25, 2009|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

CLEAR SPRING -Clara Mae Hovermale's raspberry pie recipe would be similar to other fruit pie recipes if one of the ingredients didn't require a bit of covertness - a secret stash of wild black raspberries.

"Tell? Oh, that's secret," says Hovermale, 66, of Clear Spring, who was willing to share her recipe for raspberry pie, which calls for wild raspberries. Just don't ask her where she and her husband Joe, 67, get the berries.

"We don't tell our secrets," Hovermale said.

Hovermale's raspberry pie is made from scratch - down to the crust, which she makes with lard. She combines just over a quart of berries with sugar and a cornstarch paste, later adding lemon juice for a sweet-tart treat great for summer.

It's a recipe she's had for 15 years, and one she's passed down to her from a friend. While Hovermale says one can sub in store-bought raspberries for the wild ones, she and her husband insist that it just doesn't taste the same. It's the thrill of the hunt, perhaps.


Local bramble hunters can find black raspberries, blackberries and wineberries, a bramble commonly mistaken for red raspberries- all of which are great for pie baking, says horticulturist Annette Ipsan, master gardener coordinator and an educator for the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension in Washington County.

Ipsan says raspberries can hold their own in the region's clay-rich soil, though compost beefs them up. They also like lots of sun. She warns against cultivating wineberry because it is an invasive, albeit "a tasty wild invasive," that nudges out native plants, making it an ecological threat.

Q&A with Clara Mae and Joe Hovermale

So, tell me about yourself. Did you grow up around here?

Clara: I was born and raised in Sleepy Creek, W.Va. My husband is from around Big Pool.

That's a neat region. What was it like growing up in Sleepy Creek?

Clara: Well, I was one of 11. In fact, I was number 11. Growing up, we worked on an orchard during our summer vacations from school. I kept quite busy because I had a big family.

Your mother, did she garden?

Clara: We had big gardens, we did canning. She worked in a tomato factory, where they peeled the tomatoes, then she would come home and do our gardening. She would do the canning.

So what was your introduction to cooking?

Clara: Oh, I don't know. I have always loved to cook. I guess I got that from my mother. She cooked a lot 'cause we had a big family. I guess I just inherited that from her.

Do the wild black raspberries really make a difference?

Clara: Well, I have a brother-in-law who lives up over the mountain, and they buy raspberries from a gentleman in Smithsburg and he says the wild raspberries have a better flavor. So does my husband. They have a lot of seeds in, I know that.

So, if I already have a spot where I know I could get some raspberries, how do I pick a good one?

Clara: They turn really dark and you can tell by looking at them because they are almost black.

... So, the best pie ever, what is it?

Clara: I'd have to say raspberry pie, wouldn't I?

Joe: I like cherry pie myself.

Clara: Yeah, we have sour cherries, too.

Worst pie ever?

Clara: I guess rhubarb. I never really liked it.

Joe: I don't like it either.

Why don't you like rhubarb?

Joe and Clara: Bitter.

Raspberry pie

For the dough:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups lard
1/2 cup cold water

For the filling:

5 cups black raspberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

For the dough, mix the flour and the salt. Using your hands, fold in the lard, mixing together until clumpy. Gradually add in the water, kneading until the dough is formed.

Roll out two crusts on a floured surface.

Place bottom crust into a 9-inch pie pan.

To prepare the filling, heat over a stove the raspberries and the sugar, bringing the mixture to a boil.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water, creating a paste.

Add the cornstarch paste, to the heat, allowing the mixture to thicken.

Remove from the stove and cool for an hour.

Put the filling into the pie crust. Top the filling with small bits of butter and drizzle the lemon juice over the filling. Place the top crust over the filling and pinch the sides.

Bake for 15 minutes at 400, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for 40 minutes.

Serves 8.

- Recipe courtesy of Clara Mae Hovermale of Clear Spring

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