Sunday, September 19, 2010
My mother-in-law likes to vacation in Maine every year, and where husband and I live is a convenient near-halfway stopping point between the pine state and her Pennsylvania home. For the return leg of the trip, she has adopted the excellent habit of toting back huge quantities of wild blueberries for us to enjoy.
I am not kidding about the large quantities part: this time, she brought us a five-pound flat of wild blueberries. Delightful! Delicious! A great many of these still remain in our freezer and are gradually being whittled down as I use them for cereal and yoghurt toppings. However, I thought it best to enjoy the bulk of these blueberries in the fresh, unfrozen state in which God intended them to be consumed. By fresh and unfrozen, I don’t mean to imply unmodified … clearly, blueberries exist chiefly to be baked into pies.
When you think about it, they’re the ideal fruit for pies. Unlike apples, they require no troublesome peeling, coring, or slicing; unlike cherries, they need not be pitted. All blueberries need is a good rinse and pat dry, and they’re ready to go. If blueberries weren’t so pricy, I think they’d be my go-to pie-baking fruit.
I decided to be fancy and gave this one a lattice-top crust, though that’s purely optional. You might notice that I whiffed one of the lattice folds. We’re all about rustic, home-spun goodness around here -- fancy-pants pies with neat lattice tops need not apply.
Wild Blueberry Pie
Recipe generously adapted from this one on epicurious
2 sticks/16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1 tablespoon chunks
2 ½ cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ - ½ cup ice water
6 cups wild blueberries, rinsed and picked over
2/3 -3/4 cup sugar (to taste; I used vanilla sugar; you might want to add a dash of vanilla to the filling if you don’t have vanilla sugar on hand)
¼ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into bits
1-2 tablespoons whole milk
turbinado or demerara sugar for sanding the top of the pie crust
Make the crust: whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands, cut the butter into the flour mix until incorporated in small, pea-sized bits. Slowly add the water, tossing with a fork after each tablespoon addition and adding just enough for the dough to adhere. Divide into two equal balls, pat each into a disc, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
Preheat oven to 400.
Make filling: Stir together sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add to blueberries and stir gently, then add lemon juice.
Roll out the pie dough. Add blueberry mix to the lower crust and cover with the top crust (using lattice strips if you want or a plain top if you don’t). Brush the top crust with the milk, then generously sprinkle sugar atop.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, using a tinfoil ring to prevent the outer edge of the pie crust from burning.
Printable recipe here.