Two-bite blackberry jam pies | for Thom, with love

Two bite blackberry jam pies

I wrote my vows for Thom last night. I didn’t intend on writing them this early except after we found what will probably be our ceremony/reception venue, I was overcome with urgency to get them out of my cluttered mind and onto something more permanent. Something I can tweak and alter and turn into even better words in the months leading up to the day we pledge to honor, respect, and love one another for the rest of our time on this planet. It was overwhelming and there were more tears than I expected, but seeing them on something tangible made my abnormally sluggish heart beat about 80 times per minute. And now I can hardly wait until the day I get to profess my undying love for that man in front of our closest friends and family in that pretty, flowy, offbeat wedding gown I found last month.

Sometimes, when Thom’s gone and I have the house to myself, I remove the garment bag and slip into my dress, leaving my lower back partially exposed because I fear if I zip it all the way to the top, I may not be able to get out of it alone. I stand there, often times looking in the full length mirror, wondering what it’s going to feel like when I put it on for real. But for now I let my imagination run wild and pull my hair back, put on coral lipstick, and dance around the house in that pretty gown because it calms my nerves and makes me forget about the weightiness that comes with trying to plan the celebration for the empire of love we’ve worked so hard to build.

I’m one of those who’s of the belief that, with a wedding, it’s all or nothing. We’re either going to do this thing the way I’ve envisioned or we’re going to scrap the hoopla and go to the court house and get on with it. Which I think about doing quite often because, as most of you are probably aware, attach the word WEDDING to anything and the price automatically quadruples. And although my ever generous father has stated time and time again that he’s picking up the tab, it makes my guts hurt just a little when I see the list of estimated wedding costs and think about how that amount of money could be used for things like paying off student loans or traveling around the world for months on end or put toward a downpayment for our future house because we got approved for home loan. (!!!!!!) After six years of renting we decided it’s time to stop paying other people’s mortgages and start paying our own. Because if there’s anything more stomach churning than looking at what it costs to execute a wedding, it’s looking at the amount of money you’ve spent on rental housing over the past six years.

Two bite blackberry jam pies in the makingTwo bite blackberry jam pies in the makingTwo bite blackberry jam pies in the makingTwo bite blackberry jam pies

One would assume that the idea to buy a home would take time and careful planning. That we’d spend weeks sifting through documents and looking over numbers, trying to somehow make them work with our budget. But if I’m going to be honest, the idea to buy a house transpired overnight – which probably seems irresponsible, except it isn’t because not only is my future husband an extremely sexy Jeopardy whiz, he’s also an exceptional household finance regulator. (#WINNING) After an evening spent around the table with Laura and her main squeeze, devouring Thom’s birthday cake and sipping on dark liquor while getting lost in conversation about their recent home purchase, we were so moved that we decided we were going to apply for a home loan. The next day we gathered the proper documents and walked down the street to the bank to apply for said loan, and an hour later we were approved and the search began.

So that’s what’s happening around here. I’m hustling and learning and planning and searching. But mostly I’m trying to remind Thom, in these heaving moments that feel like we may be way in over our heads (ahem, we are and it’s OK), that my love for him is massive. Prodigious. All consuming. And when I can’t find the words to accurately portray something as profound as what we’ve created – well, this is where pie comes in. 

Pro-tip: This is always where pie comes in. And Beirut.

Two bite blackberry jam piesTwo bite blackberry jam piesTwo bite blackberry jam piesTwo bite blackberry jam pies

Notes: Feel free to use whatever jam you have on hand. Or maybe chocolate hazelnut spread? Sliced fruit? Anything will work, really. In fact, I think they’d be delicious with a scaled down version of my caramel apple pie filling. If you’re not a fan of starches as thickeners, you can use flax seed meal or chia seeds to thicken the jam – one teaspoon should do the job (omit the water). All purpose flour will do the job, if that’s all you have on hand, but I highly recommend the spelt (or rye) as it lends great texture to the little pies. If you prefer a super flaky crust, use 5 tablespoons of butter and only 2-3 tablespoons of water. If you’re not into vegan butter, you can use coconut oil with success. Use 1/4 cup solid (not cold) coconut oil and only 2 tablespoons of water. 

PS - THIS.
PPS – This marks the first time I’ve unintentionally written a blog post without a swear word.

SHIT. (had to)

TWO-BITE BLACKBERRY JAM PIES

Dough
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 tbsp cane sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup vegan butter, cold
3-4 tbsp water, ice cold

Filling
1 1/2 tsp potato starch
1 tsp filtered water
1/4 cup blackberry jam

Topping
Soy milk
Cane sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter (or two knives) until the mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger clumps. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix with fingers until combined and dough is smooth (it may be slightly sticky, that’s ok). Wrap with plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to two days.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling by stirring together the potato starch and water. Add the jam and mix until combined. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. To make the pie filling process easier, freeze it.

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a small baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper; set aside. Line a flat surface with parchment paper and sprinkle with flour, then roll out the dough into a large rectangle until it’s about 1/8″ thick. Using a ravioli stamp, mark one half of the dough with light indentations (for jam placing reference). Spoon a teaspoon of jam filling into the center of each indention then fold the other half of dough over top. Gently press the dough around the jam filling so you can see where to make the cuts. Cut dough using ravioli stamp and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Roll out dough scraps and repeat cutting process (you can only roll these out one time before compromising the consistency of the dough). Arrange pie pieces on the prepared baking sheet, freeze for 10 minutes, then brush tops with soy milk and sprinkle with a pinch of sugar. Bake at 375˚F for 14-15 minutes. Store in a semi-air tight container for up to three days.

Yield: 15 pieces

  • Alessandra @ the foodie teen January 21, 2014 at 8:39 am

    I love this. Your writing, the photography, your humour – I love this, and I hope your special day is exactly what you imagined! Congrats on the home loan too!

  • Chef Amber Shea January 21, 2014 at 9:02 am

    I walked down the aisle to Beirut’s Guyamas Sonora. I don’t often find fellow Beirut fans.

    Thumbs up on writing your vows early. I wrote mine only 1 week before my wedding and have regretted it ever since. Every time I think of them, I edit them in my head…

    These little pies look fantastic, too.

  • Ashley January 21, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Girl. Everything about this post. YES. And mini hand pies? OMG, serious cuteness. Lots of life stuff going on lately, which I can relate to. Thanks for the reminder that being overwhelmed is OK. The wedding venue looks outstanding and perfect for you two. So happy for you both! And good luck with all things house! p.s. You better invest in some good quality waterproof mascara! ;) p.p.s. we need to hang out..sooooon

  • Joyti January 21, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Yes, yes, yes! I love this post. So right about weddings and expense!

    I’ve been a silent fan of your blog for several months now. Just wanted to tell you that it’s LOVELY! And little hand pies – so cute! I love blackberry jam too, my fav flavor.

  • Beatriz January 21, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I love that you wrote your own vows!
    I wish I had but that was an added stress I did not want at the time.
    Also the mini pies look amazing, I will definitely try it out this weekend:)

    -bea

  • Melissa @ Treats With a Twist January 21, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I love your overwhelming love for Thom and they way you are able to put it into words. He’s a lucky man (and he knows it). My husband (of 3 months!) and I are finally coming around to the idea of buying a house. The permanence in an area that I don’t love is what scares me and makes my heart ache, but the want for a home and a place to call ours is overwhelming. Especially since we’ll be in said area for countless years. So, house it is.
    I wish I’d had my dress in my home so I could wear it when he wasn’t home! I had it in my parents’ house, 5 hours away.
    Beautiful little pies! Just love!

  • Tunie January 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    GENIUS use of a ravioli stamp.
    This is the sweetest post ever, and I don’t mean in a cute way, though those little pies are undeniably CUTE! It’s just heartwarming and tender…Little handmade mini pies are like rocket fuel for heartstrings..send him soaring! (Little children would also FLIP for these!!) The love…gah

  • Katie January 21, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    These are fabulous! Yum! Also, my husband and I wrote our own vows and cried all throughout mine. Throw a little joke in so you can have a laugh too :) I was nervous but after seeing the photos, all the guests were crying too! So delighted by your happiness!

  • Dixya January 21, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    yayy on the house hunting. these look so good..I am on the hunt for these ravioli stamp now.

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar January 21, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Hearing about your plans is so fun! We just picked our wedding venue YESTERDAY and are both jumping for joy! It’s pretty much the best feeling ever.

  • Jenny @ BAKE January 21, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    These little pies are gorgeous! and congratulations! it sounds like you’re going to have the most fantastic year!

  • Dani January 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    These look absolutely delicious and so cute! I will definitely have to make these for my husband.

  • Stefanie January 21, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Wow, Thom is a lucky man! Best wishes and congratulations!
    Also, I need to buy a ravioli stamp immediately ;)

  • Kathryn January 22, 2014 at 3:54 am

    I love the way you write and talk about your relationship with Thom – your love is so raw and powerful and honest. It’s such a great love and you two are going to have such a good life together. We took a similarly sudden approach to home-ownership and it was probably the best decision we ever made. Good luck, I hope you find the perfect place.

  • The Vegan Cookie Fairy January 22, 2014 at 3:57 am

    This looks easy enough that I could make it! I’ve always had trouble with pastry dough and thought that was what these wee pies were made of, but hurray, they’re not.

    Congratulations on your impending wedding! (The venue looks amazing!) Are you making your own wedding cake or are you ordering one?

  • thelittleloaf January 22, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Getting married is amazing, incredible, impossible to describe and will exceed your wildest expectations. Plus the bit that comes after, that’s pretty awesome too :-)

  • Ondina Maria January 22, 2014 at 9:16 am

    Just love the fact that they’re bit size! Perfect. I imagine a wedding to be very costy. That is one of the reasons why Marco and I haven’t got to do it :)

  • Yead January 22, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Wow this is so cute. I love this. Great idea.

  • dina January 22, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    omg these are darling. what a great idea!

  • Allison January 23, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Girl, there is something about the way you write. It doesn’t matter if it’s about travels, your love for your man, or pie, I get teary-eyed every time. It’s so funny how we can feel so many emotions for someone we’ve never met IRL, but I am so happy for you and Thom-getting married, searching for a house… I just love reading about all of it and I wish you the best! You are beautiful and so are your pies! MMM!

  • Simone Anne January 23, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Gosh, I adore you. Your writing is amazing – I would read a book you write, if you ever decide you write one. Only if you include swear words where they happen.

    & also dancing around in your wedding dress & thinking about your vows is so exciting – congrats! & on the house. So many life things!!

  • Ellen January 23, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    This is my first time to your site and I am blown away. These pies look delicious and I can’t wait to get home tonight and sift through the rest of your recipes and writing.

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  • Laura January 24, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Well I am so glad our little hang didn’t get you mega-jaded on property ownership, because seriously? I thought it would. Love that determination (and I really, really loved that bday cake). All the bullshit and hoops are worth it when you can be like “YOU AIN’T A WO-MAAAANN UNLESS YOU GOT LAAAAAND.”and also: “FUCK A RENT.” So excited for you guys :) xoxo

  • Jennifer January 26, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Has anyone tried using GF flour? These are awesome! <3

  • Ruby January 28, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Lovely post, lovely writing, lovely pictures & lovely pie. Seriously, just lovely.

  • Jenny Stockton January 28, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    I love everything about this but the ravioli stamp is maybe my favorite part. I’m going to buy one and try to replicate this magic. Thank you for showing me the way. (And congrats and best wishes and hooray!)

  • Kasey January 28, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    I teared up a little, reading this. It brought back so many memories of planning for my wedding…I could picture you twirling around in your dress, alone. We danced our first dance to Postcards from Italy and to this day, it feels like it was a dream – magic. I can’t wait for you. And buying a home! So exciting. x

  • Diem Ly January 29, 2014 at 12:01 am

    Reading this made me really happy, Ashlae! Thank you for sharing your recipes, your talent, and your heart with us. Best wishes!

  • Alanna January 29, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    Beautiful pie-lets, and a beautiful post! Many congratulations to you two, Ashlae. I can’t wait to see pictures of that dress. I love the idea of making these with chocolate hazelnut spread inside, or caramel apples – yum! And thank you for giving dough variations – I’ve been meaning to try making a coconut oil crust, and your recipe sounds spot on.

  • Erin January 30, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Anything with Beruit!!

    As incredible as my wedding was, it all went by so quickly — I realized in the fading light of the day that I had put too much work into the details and not enough work into the people I was working with and living with and trying to love. And as beautiful as the event ended up being, it also pales in the light of how much I have learned to love my husband more in the last two years. Keep your eye on the prize, just like you are, and enjoy spinning in that pretty dress of yours.

  • CavaCava January 31, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Congratulations is advance. By the way i love those little bundle of goodness you got there.

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  • Judy February 2, 2014 at 5:16 am

    There’s a way here, which I’m sure is possible anywhere, to cut costs for a blow out wedding. Have the ceremony at city hall or wherever and when you arrange for the party don’t say it’s your wedding party. Prices not highered for the ‘wedding’ party. I know I in your case it’s way yoo late but for others reading this?

    • Ashlae February 2, 2014 at 8:18 am

      Hi Judy -

      That may be the case for some places, but our venue is actually a flat rate no matter what the occasion. I contacted a florist and got a quote of $1,100 for the wedding – called back a week later and got a quote of $450 for the same order, but not for a wedding. INSANE. I’ll be getting florals from Whole Foods and arranging them myself. ;)

  • Joanne February 2, 2014 at 7:55 am

    I’m planning a wedding right now also and I feel the same way…either do it the way we really want, or let’s just go to city hall and have our immediately families and best friends over for pizza after. Because if we’re going to spend a substantial amount of money at all, then it might as well be on things we really love!

    And these blackberry jam pies are just THE CUTEST.

  • Jourdie February 3, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Your love is inspiring, as is the awesomeness of your vegan baked goods. I’m not a vegan, but I’m very inspired by alternative eating options and, like you, cooking for others is one of the main ways I show my love for them. It’s good to be able to show love in ways that work for everybody’s different needs. Yay, congrats, and thanks!

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  • guntur cakes February 12, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    Umm… Little pies are cute and looks yummy… I love it.

  • sara forte February 13, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    so sweet! You are so right in scribbling those promises down now with time to massage them as months of your life together passes. Maybe you’ll be in a new home and know each other differently a year from now, who knows, but you will love that original copy. We still have hughs copy, I lost mine in the shuffle, but writing our own vows is something I will never regret. Big love to you guys in this house searching process. It is not for the weak at heart, that’s for sure. Prepare for a shitload of paperwork, my friends ;)

  • Barbora February 24, 2014 at 5:21 am

    I’m so glad I discovered your blog it’s so lovely and endless inspiration. Just wanted to ask if I could use normal butter for these, also if it would be the same amount. I don’t have experience with the vegan one or where to get it. Thank you

    • Ashlae February 24, 2014 at 7:05 am

      Hi Barbora -

      Thank you! You can use normal butter – just substitute an equal amount. Enjoy!

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