Using gelatin, though you won’t find this on the shelf at present.
This recipe technically calls for blackberry flavor Jell-o, but that doesn’t appear in the current lineup; there’s blackberry fusion, which is a mix of blackberry and raspberry flavors, but no straight blackberry. Royal makes a blackberry flavor, fortunately, so there’s an option to replace the missing Jell-o.
Equally strange is that there are advertisements proclaiming blackberry Jell-o as “new” dating from both 1961 and 1978.
It could be a reformulation, or it could be that blackberries appeared in the lineup and then were removed. It’s a tricky flavor, for sure–used for thousands of years on four continents, and yet there hasn’t been a commercial standardization of the varieties in the way raspberries are standardized.
A blackberry pie recipe showed up in the first American cookbook, Amelia Simmons’ American Cookery, published in 1796 (these images from the 1798 edition):
Stew and strain the apples, to every three pints, grate the peel of a fresh lemon, add cinnamon, mace, rose-water and sugar to your taste–and bake in paste No. 3.
Every species of fruit such as peas, plums, raspberries, black berries may be only sweetened, without spices–and bake in paste No. 3.
No 3. To any quantity of flour, rub in three fourths of its weight of butter, (12 eggs to a peck) rub in one third or half, and roll in the rest.
A peck did start as a measurement of a volume of flour; it’s eight quarts, which equals 32 cups, and 32 divided by 12 is four, meaning for four cups of flour–which is about a pound–you use one egg.
Here’s a version from around 1885, from La Cuisine Creole by Lafcadio Hearn:
Huckle or Whortleberry Pie
Put a quart of picked huckleberries into a basin of water, take off whatever floats; take up the berries by the handful; pick out all the stems and unripe berries, and put the rest into a dish; line a buttered pie dish with a pie paste; put in the berries half an inch deep, and to a quart of berries put a teacupful of brown sugar, and half a teacupful of water; dredge a teaspoonful of flour over; throw in a saltspoonful of salt, and half a nutmeg grated; cover the pie, cut a slit in the centre, or make several incisions on either side of it; press the two crusts together around the edge, trim it off neatly with a sharp knife, and bake in a quick oven for three-quarters of an hour.
Pick the berries clean; rinse them in cold water, and finish as directed for huckleberries.
I’m not accusing anyone of plagiarism, but the recipe that appears in 1887’s The White House Cook Book is nearly verbatim.
Moving on, a version from 1896’s The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer:
Pick over and wash one and one-half cups berries. Stew until soft with enough water to prevent burning. Add sugar to taste and one-eighth teaspoon salt. Line plate with paste, put on a rim, fill with berries (which have been cooled); arrange six strips pastry across the top, cut same width as rim; put on an upper rim. Bake thirty minutes in moderate oven.
From a box sold in Martinez, California.
Easy Blackberry Pie
3 Tbsp. blackberry Jell-o
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. water
[1 qt. blackberries
baked pie shell]
Mix all ingredients and bring to boil. Cook till clean and thick. Cool mix with 1 quart of wild blackberries. Put into baked pie shell and serve with either cream or whipping cream.