“I listen to NPR every day and I can’t sleep at night because of the world I live in. But blueberry pie, that’s nothin’ but joy!”
A chef at the Culinary Institute of America, on a National Public Radio story discussing the fear of making a homemade blueberry pie.
Ever since I heard that story on the radio and I listened to local cookbook author Gesine Bullock-Prado discuss her latest book, Pie It Forward: Pies, Tarts, Tortes, Galettes, and Other Pastries Reinvented, I’ve had a hankering to make a pie. Hands down, my favorite dessert is homemade pie. Forget cake, ice cream, even chocolate, if I can have a piece of homemade pie, I am in heaven. I have favorites throughout the year that correspond with the seasons, fall and winter is pecan and apple, and this time of year I love my grandmother’s peach pie (recipe can be found here). But this summer, with the appearance of the first crop of local blueberries, I had blueberry pie on my mind.
Berries don’t last very long in my house at all, so I had to be quick about grabbing the pints I bought at the farmer’s market. And leave it to me to choose the hottest day of the year to decide to turn on the oven! With sweat on my brow, the butter for the crust melting on the counter (sticking it in the freezer for five to ten minutes is just enough time to harden it up again!), and the prospect of yet another late dinner, I still entered the kitchen to start baking.
Pie making really is quite easy, the berries go into a big bowl and are gently stirred with the sugar and cornstarch. I always get a little nervous when making pie crust, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be a pro. And remembering Gesine talk about making pastry (she makes it sound so simple!) relaxed me a bit.
This recipe is a combination of two different recipes; the crust is from The Joy of Cooking, the filling is from The Essential New York Times Cookbook. Since my berries were extra sweet, I cut the original ¾ cup of sugar to ½. But in hindsight, I might rethink that next time. Perhaps it was the lemon juice, but I found the pie to be a bit more tart than I normally like. So you can gauge how much sugar to use, perhaps something in between.
By the time we ate dinner it was 9:30(!), a hot dessert was the last thing we wanted, so it was pie for breakfast the next morning. And in the vein of “pieing it forward,” I carefully sliced it and shared pieces with friends. Because, really, who can resist homemade pie?
Next week, I’m thinking it might be cherry. Or peach. Or maybe red raspberry. . . .
Homemade Blueberry Pie
- 5+ cups fresh blueberries
- ½-¾ cup sugar
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- About 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- A dash of salt
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon or so of salt
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- Ice water
For the crust: In a bowl, sift the flour and salt together. Add the butter, cut into chunks, and with a pastry blender or two forks, work the butter into the flour until it resembles cornmeal. One tablespoon at a time, add the ice water and mix until the crust melds together, and divide in half. On a floured surface, take your rolling pin, add a little bit of flour to the pin and the crust, and work it in a circle until it is about 9 inches for your pie pan. Carefully set it into a greased glass pie plate. Add the filling and repeat rolling out the crust for the top. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, and reduce the heat to 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until the crust is brown.