Showing posts with label blueberry pie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blueberry pie. Show all posts

Friday, August 5, 2016

Classic Blueberry Pie

We write about blueberries a lot on Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. If you go through the long list of our earlier posts, you’ll find recipes for pies and cakes and pancakes and whole lot of muffins (and there are more waiting in the wings!). It seems we like to eat blueberries, and we like to cook with them.

It’s blueberry season again. It doesn’t last too long, so you’ve kind of got to seize the day as it rushes by—and there were local blueberries at my farmers’ market this week. It’s not a coincidence that the New York Times recently posted an article about blueberry pie. Nothing new under the sun, eh?

Well, yes and no. The first comment discussed in the article among several chefs, was that it’s hard to thicken blueberry filling, because blueberries can be unpredictable, anywhere from runny to gummy. That makes choosing a thickening agent challenging, and the chefs did not all agree. The options are (1) cornstarch, (2) flour, (3) tapioca, and (4) arrowroot. There is some preference for using arrowroot. Aha! I have arrowroot!

Then there’s the question of the crust. Sam Sifton, NYT food editor, prefers all butter. The Joy of Cooking cookbook and Julia Child leaned toward using shortening. Some people like lard. But Sam specifies that if you use the right butter (high fat European style), and keep everything cold (which is a challenge because the blueberries come into season in midsummer, when it’s not exactly cold), butter is the way to go.

As I’m sure you remember, not long ago I finally found a pie crust recipe that worked. I promptly saved it with the title Pie Crust Recipe That Works. Yes, it’s all-butter, and also includes powdered sugar and orange juice. You can find that recipe here. (If you wonder why my crust looked a bit raggedy, it’s because I should have thought to make a double recipe—but look! It stretched!)

Blueberry Pie Filling

2 pounds/8 cups fresh blueberries, washed and picked over [Note: this is the way the recipe was given. I weighed out two pounds, and it’s nowhere near eight cups, more like six cups. Six cups is plenty to fill a pie.]

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tblsp lemon juice
2-3 Tblsp arrowroot or cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

Put 1 cup of the blueberries into a food processor or blender with the sugar, lemon juice, 2 Tblsp arrowroot/cornstarch and salt, then puree.

Put the mixture into a medium or large pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens (about one minute). Remove from the heat and add the remaining blueberries and stir.

Roll out the bottom crust of your pie and fit it into an 8-inch pie plate. 
[Another note: that two-pound measure of blueberries wouldn’t fill an eight-inch pie crust, especially if heaped. Maybe that’s where the eight cups came in. If you’re making this, either use the two pounds of berries and a smaller pie dish, or the eight-inch dish and the eight cups of berries. Who says the NYT knows everything?] Heap the filling into it. Make an egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tblsp water) and apply to the edge of the crust (pretend it’s glue!). 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
[And yet another note: an all-butter crust browns very quickly, so you might want to (1) reduce the heat, or (2) wrap the edges with foil. And an aside: pies have been known to leak, so it’s wise to put a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips—easier than cleaning the bottom of the oven!]

Roll out the top crust and cut some vents (plain or fancy) to let steam escape. Place it over the top, crimping at the edge. Place it in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes, rotate the pie and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Bake until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling through the vents, which may take from 25 to 45 minutes [Sorry, Sam, but it didn’t take that long. But then, it wasn’t an eight-inch pie pan either.].

Oh, what the heck. It’ll taste good, no matter what. Let it cool on a rack before you try to cut it. And those berries? Definitely goopy. So much for the arrowroot theory.

Seeds of Deception, coming in October. Does not take place in blueberry season! Or even apple season. But even sleuths and suspects have to eat, so no doubt there will be recipes.

Find it at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Easiest Pie Crust Ever by Lucy Burdette

I just finished reading a memoir by a pie baking specialist and she would be shuddering in Iowa to hear me tell you that my go-to pie crust contains no butter and no shortening, just a little milk and vegetable oil. But I find this to be so fast and almost no-fail that I can't make myself try another recipe. This one came from my father-he didn't cook very often, but he loved to make apple pie (when his wife allowed him in the kitchen-LOL.)

I trotted out this pie crust for a small gathering of neighbors on the fourth of July when thunderstorms were predicted and I didn't want to rely on the outdoor grill. The pie crust makes enough for one crust and a lattice top, but since I was making a quiche, I wondered what to do with the lattice?

I answered that question by making a no-crust, lattice only blueberry pie, meant to be served with a scoop of ice cream.


2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used organic canola)

Sift the flour with the salt. Measure the milk and oil, pour it into the flour, mix. Now comes the only tricky part. Divide the dough into two parts, 3/5 for the crust, the remainder for the lattice. Place the dough between two sheets of waxed paper and roll it to the correct size. Carefully peel off the top sheet of waxed paper, flip the crust into a pie pan, carefully remove the other sheet of waxed paper. Since you are filling the crust with something delicious anyway, it's perfectly acceptable to patch as needed and then crimp the edges.

I chose a bacon and green chili recipe (on the left) with a ton of cheese and some green onion that I found on, originally from Bon Appetit. I fried the bacon, grated the cheese, and chopped the scallions and then went off to march in the July 4 parade. (I'm on the board of the EC Scranton Library in Madison, CT--that's me with library board president and friend, Ted Mallory.)

The crust is so easy, I could make it when I got home. I pre-baked for five minutes at 425, then lowered the oven temp to 400, layered the ingredients and added the custard. The quiche took about 50 minutes-test with a knife to see if done-and then cooled and set for 10-15.

Meanwhile back to dessert:


4 cups blueberries, washed and dried
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch (it turned out a little runny, maybe add a dash more if that would bother you?)
lattice crust

Mix the blueberries with sugar and cornstarch. Place them into a well-buttered 1 and 1/2 quart Pyrex bowl. Roll the remaining dough, cut into lengths, weave them into a lattice over the blueberries. 

Sprinkle with a little more sugar. Bake at 400 until the blueberries are bubbling and the crust golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve with ice cream!

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries. DEATH IN FOUR COURSES, coming in September, can be preordered now. Please follow her on Twitter and like her on facebook!

And should you want to get an idea of what the books are like or more ideas for food and recipes, Lucy recommends her boards on Pinterest...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blueberry Pie from Guest Blogger Hallie Ephron

HALLIE EPHRON: Nothing says summer more than blueberry pie, and best of all when you make it with blueberries you've picked yourself.

We live near Boston and in a few weeks, our nearby aptly named Blue Hills are alive with blueberries. They're tiny wild ones, sweet and delicious, and you have to pick A LOT to make a pie. They are perfect in pancakes because they bury themselves in batter and don't get burned.

There used to be a field in Plymouth, near where our friend Pat Kennedy has as a summer cottage on a pond, that had row on row of all different heirloom varieties of blueberries. The pies made from those were fabulous. But a few years ago that field was let go wild and these days it's more a for harvesting poison ivy.

So we buy our blueberries at the supermarket. My favorite recipe for blueberry pie filling is Pat's, and it tastes great even with store-bought blueberries.

Patty Jo's recipe for blueberry pie filling... with embellishments from me who likes it tart (or taht, as we say in Boston):

- 5 cups of blueberries (wild if you can get them)
- 3 T flour
- 1/2 c sugar
- About 1 tsp lemon juice
- About 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (my addition)
- 1 1/2 T butter

Wash berries, remove stems, and mix with dry ingredients and lemon rind.
Sprinkle with lemon juice (to taste).
Place berries in half pre-baked bottom crust. (I pre-bake the bottom crust about 7-9 minutes to keep it from going mushy.)
Distribute dots of butter over berries.
Cover with top crust.
Brush on egg wash and cut air vents into top crust.
Crimp edges and bake 40 minutes at 400 degrees.

That photo is MY blueberry pie, and as gorgeous as it looks, it tasted better.

Hallie Ephron writes suspense novels that keep readers up nights. Her latest two, COME AND FIND ME and NEVER TELL A LIE, were both nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. She blogs with the Jungle Red Writers.