Monday, July 14, 2008

Fresh Blueberry Pie

Apparently, my unconscious goal for the summer has been to make a pie per week. I indulged Karl the week before July 4th by making another strawberry rhubarb pie, then he requested that I make an apple pie for a July 4th picnic (very American, right)? Last week was the week of trying something new: blueberry pie made without opening a can of pie filling.

Blueberries were on sale at Giant Eagle for 2 pints for $5 (a pretty good deal considering that they usually run at least $4 per pint), so I figured it was a good time to experiment. I dusted off my trusty pie cookbook, 365 Great Pies You Can Bake (which was only dusty from having recently been floured for rolling out pie dough along with the rest of the kitchen table), and set to work.

I learned something about blueberry pie: blueberries, when cooked, don't taste like much. I kept wondering why the recipe called for lemon juice, lemon zest, and mace (I substituted allspice). Fresh blueberries are so delightful, but you will notice that they are not very acidic like most berries and fruits. I hypothesize that this lack of acidity is what causes the flavor of blueberries to diminish instead of increase when intense heat is applied.

I would certainly be interested to know if there is a trick to "brightening" the flavor of blueberry, or intensifying it. Usually lemon does the trick, but I honestly felt the lemon just blanketed the blueberries and hid their flavor.

Anyway, I obviously wasn't wild about the blueberry pie, because it just tasted far to lemon-y to me. Karl did not agree. I'm pretty sure that he has never met a [fruit] pie he wouldn't eat or rave about, so all's well that ends well.

Next time, I also intend to add a little more flour (I've reflected this in the recipe below) because the juices didn't quite thicken enough.

Any suggestions for my next pie?

Blueberry Pie
Yields 1 9-inch pie

Your favorite double-crust recipe
3/4 cup sugar, plus 1/2 to 1 TBSP for dusting
4 TBSP flour
1 tsp allspice
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 TBSP lemon zest
2 pints fresh blueberries, stems removed
2 TBSP butter, cut up in small pieces

Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

Roll out the bottom crust.

Mix the sugar, flour and allspice together. Add the lemon juice, zest, and blueberries, and gently mix (without crushing the berries) to completely coat the berries. Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie shell.

Dot the top of the blueberry mixture with the cut up butter.

Roll out the top crust. I cut mine into strips to make a lattice-top pie, but you could just cover the top if you like. If you do, remember to poke some holes in the top to vent. Sprinkle the top crust with 1/2 to 1 TBSP of sugar

Bake for 10 minutes at 425˚F, then lower the heat to 350˚F and bake for 30 minutes more.