My Favorite Blueberry Pie

It was Friday night, the beginning of the last summer weekend on the lake. We were finishing dinner on the deck when we were suddenly overcome by a scourge of mosquitos just as dusk fell. We decided to head inside. Everyone grabbed something from the table to clear it as we skedaddled into the house.

I had baked my favorite blueberry pie for dessert about an hour earlier. Most bakers know not to cut into a fruit pie until the filling has had a chance to cool and set, but we had momentum in the room; the kind that comes from vigorous teens after a mad dash. It didn’t seem like the time to wait for a pie to set.

As everyone cleaned the plates and loaded the dishwasher, I sliced and plated the pie. The kids passed the plates around the room, bucket-brigade style. Not wanting to move en masse to find a seat at the table, everyone stood where they were and ate their pie. No one spoke, so intent were they on their warm slice of pie with its thick puddle of juices, not too sweet berries, and thick, crunchy crust.

It was a moment in time that I cherish — everyone content and huddled together in my kitchen.

I usually make blueberry pie in late June and early July when blueberries are in season. To store surplus berries, I measure out 4-5 cup increments (enough for a pie) and place in storage containers in the freezer.

Yield: One 9″ Pie

Ingredients


One 9-inch double pie crust ( I adore Trader Joe’s frozen pie crusts)
4-5, occasionally even 6, cups blueberries (all fresh or a mix of frozen and fresh)
1 teaspoon freshly zested lemon
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⅓ cups granulated sugar
⅓ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, cut into thin slices
1 egg and a sprinkle of sugar for egg wash, if desired

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450º. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven on the middle rack to preheat with the oven. I find that cooking pie on a hot pizza stone helps the bottom crust cook more fully.

Prepare or purchase a double pie crust. Unroll one crust, use a rolling pin to smooth it out, and place in a 9″ pie pan as described in my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie post. Set aside.

 

Pour blueberries into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir together.

Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until thick, bubbly, and glistening. The juice color will change from dull to shiny within five minutes. Stir in vanilla extract. Remove from heat.

Pour filling into unbaked pie crust. Dot with sliced butter.

Roll out second crust, place over filling, and tuck in edges.

Crimp edges and slash crust with a knife to create vents for steam.

If desired, add an egg wash to the upper crust for a more finished look. Using a fork, beat egg in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to spread over crust. If the wash puddles in the dimples of the crust, use a paper towel to mop it up. Sprinkle sugar over top.

Here’s what the crust looks like with and without a wash.

  

Here it is with a stockinette pattern piecrust from Mason Dixon Knitting. Here is a link to the piecrust instructions. So fun!

 

Place pie on the preheated pizza stone and bake for 10 minutes at 450º. Reduce heat to 350º and cook for 35-45 minutes. After the first ten minutes at 450º, you’ll notice the crust will already be lightly browned. To keep the crust’s edges from browning too much, place a pie crust shield  over the rim. If you don’t have one, cover rim with strips of foil.

The pie is done when the crust turns golden brown and the juices start to bubble out.

Birthday Pie

SOME people request blueberry pie instead of cake for their birthday. For my husband (and for me, too), it has to be THIS recipe because after 35 years of eating blueberry pie with the subtle tastes of nutmeg and cinnamon in it, other blueberry pies taste bland by comparison.

Goodbye summer of 2019!

And, Becca and Joe, I’ll be back next summer to get more blueberries from Rosebud Farm. It was at their farm that I filmed the sheep for the story The Sheep of Nashville: The Chew Crew. You two sure make retirement look like fun!

Other Fruit Desserts
Mom’s Apple Pie with a Cheddar Topping
Homemade Grape Jelly
Mrs. Walker’s Cranberry Nut Pie
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
My Favorite Peach Custard Pie
Very Berry Clafoutis
Fruit and Nut Bread

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© 2014-2019 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos, videos, and text may only be reproduced with the written consent of Judy Wright.

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie

It is not Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie.

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A few years ago, when my son was a student at Vanderbilt, I asked him if he wanted to invite friends over from school who couldn’t get home for Thanksgiving. About ten friends joined us. He asked me if his friends needed to bring any food. I told him we had the meal covered, but if anyone enjoyed holiday cooking and wanted to bring something, they should feel welcome to do so. A few days later, he sent me an email with the final head count and told me his friends would bring all the desserts. Wonderful. As I scrolled through the email thread, I noticed a letter he had written to his friends earlier in the week. It said, “My mother said if it’s part of your wellness to cook during the holidays, feel free to bring a dessert, otherwise just bring yourselves.”  Part of your wellness, how nicely put. Cooking is part of MY wellness. I like that.

On Thanksgiving day, everyone arrived, and the desserts were dropped off in the kitchen. Everyone brought their favorite desserts — coconut cake, brownies, chocolate chip cookies. There was no pumpkin pie. So now we get to the point of the story. My mother’s recipe for pumpkin pie is so easy to make, I was able to prep it, with the ingredients I had on hand, in the amount of time it took the oven to preheat. The pie cooked while we ate dinner. No one was the wiser.

Like for many of you, a lot of my favorite recipes have been passed down to me by my mother, my grandmother and others in my extended family. Thanksgiving is the time to share those recipes.

Yield: Makes one 10-inch pie, or one 9-inch deep-dish pie.

Ingredients:

Pumpkin Pie

3 large eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1¾ cups pumpkin purée (15-ounce can)
1½ cups warm milk (heat for one minute in microwave)

Instructions:

1) Preheat oven to 450º

2) Prepare pie crust. If you are using a 10-inch pie pan, you may need to roll the crust a little more to stretch it and make it fit. I like to use Trader Joe’s Pie Crusts.

Technique Time: How to arrange a homemade or store-bought pie crust into a pie pan:

Once the crust comes to room temperature, which takes about 90 minutes, unroll it retaining the plastic sheets as you do.  You’ll find that the dough breaks up into wide strips as you unroll it. Not a problem, just use a rolling pin to rejoin the cracks while the dough is still sandwiched between the plastic sheets. Next, remove the plastic covering from one side of the crust. Using the corners of the remaining plastic square, lift the crust, turn it over, and plop it into the pie plate. Continue to leave the plastic on the dough as you then press the pie crust into the pie plate. Remove the top layer of plastic. 

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Fold edges in and crimp to make pretty.

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3) Prepare Filling: Blend all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl for about 1 minute on medium-low speed. Be sure to scrape the batter that settles into the base of the mixing bowl with a spatula and then mix the batter for a few more seconds after doing so. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust.

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4) Bake for 10 minutes at 450º. Turn the oven down to 350º and cook for 45 minutes more. To check for doneness, prick the center of the pie with the tip of a knife. It should come out clean. If not, let it cook for five more minutes and test again. If you are using a deep-dish pie pan, you may need to cook for an additional 10 minutes because of the added thickness of the filling.

About Nutmeg: I grind my own because it is so much more fragrant. You can buy nutmeg grinders online. Ground nutmeg from a jar works just as well.

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This pie is delicious served warm from the oven or cold from the refrigerator. It is great with fresh whipped cream on top.

My friend, Renée, skips the pie crust all together and pours the pumpkin batter into small ramekins for individual-serving, pumpkin custard desserts.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Other Desserts for Thanksgiving:
Mrs. Walker’s Cranberry Nut Pie
Mom’s Apple Pie (with a cheddar streusel topping)
Pumpkin Bread Pudding (with caramel sauce and whipped cream on top!)
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
Marion’s Crazy Good Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

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© 2014 Judy Wright. All rights reserved. Photos and text may only be used with written consent.