Open Faced Fresh Blueberry Pie
As 4th of July weekend approaches, I find myself planning the menu for the weekend’s festivities. For the last few years, we have been fortunate enough to be invited up to a lovely cabin in the Catskills mountains to hang out with good friends and have a grand and relaxing time. I can hardly wait to get up there, kick my feet up, and enjoy the fresh country air as I laze about poolside with my latest Neil Gaiman book!
But I digress…back to the menu! Call me somewhat sentimental, but whenever we have a patriotic holiday such as this, I always feel somewhat compelled to make a dessert dish with either red, white, blue, or best yet a combination of them all. With berries being in full seasonal swing during this time, it makes it very very easy to appease my chromatic patriotic tendencies while producing something pretty darn tasty. For this past Memorial Day, I came up with the strawberry and blueberry pie. When topped with whipped cream, it was the epitome of red, white, and blue! It’s definitely a keeper and will make an appearance this weekend for sure, but with 13 people in attendance, 1 pie is not going to be enough. It looks like I’m going to have to break out another berry pie…and not just any berry pie, this is probably the quintessential blueberry pie. After having this pie, I am pretty positive that you’ll never want to make another recipe for blueberry pie again. Ever.
I first came across this recipe years ago when I had just started dating someone and he told me that his favorite pie was blueberry. Well, like any other girl with any kitchen acumen who wanted to make a good impression, I dug around till I found myself a good blueberry recipe! And this is it. My ex was usually pretty good about sampling my baked goods and giving me feedback, but for this pie, he didn’t have to give me any feedback whatsoever. Him taking about half of the pie home with him was testimony enough. Yep, this pie is that damn good…
What makes this pie unique in my opinion is that you take 1 cup of fresh blues and reduce it down into its own syrup. I prefer to reduce it a smidge further till it’s pretty thick, almost the consistency of warmed jam, and then you fold in the remaining 3 cups of blueberries. The heat from the syrup warms the remaining fresh blues just enough to give them a deep and beautiful purple color. You spoon this into a prebaked pie shell and within 2 hours, this pie has set. Because the majority of the blueberries are just barely cooked, the pie is fresh and light…it’s just like eating a fresh berry!
Open Faced Fresh Blueberry Pie
Adapted from Epicurious, November 1998
9 inch pie crust
1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten
4 cups blueberries, rinsed and dried
1/2 liquid cup and two tablespoons water, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups whipped cream (optional)
At least 20 minutes before preparing the blueberry filling, blind bake your pie crust. Line with parchment paper and fill with rice or beans and bake until crust is lightly golden brown, pricking any bubbles that may have formed. I used a store packaged rollout pie crust for sake of time and just baked according to instructions without any pie weights. It came out fine.
Cool crust on a rack for 3 minutes so that it is no longer piping hot, then brush the bottom and sides with the egg white. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature while you prepare the blueberry filling.
Measure out 1 cup of the blueberries, choosing the softest ones. Place them in a medium saucepan together with the 1/2 cup water. Cover and bring them to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Set it aside.
When the water and blueberries have come to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, stirring constantly. As the berries begin to burst, crush them with the back of a wooden spoon to release the berries’ natural pectin. Continue stirring for about 5 minutes. Juices will begin to thicken and take on a light syrup consistency. Stirring constantly, add the cornstarch mixture, sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer until the mixture becomes translucent, anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes. Immediately remove it from the heat and quickly fold in the remaining 3 cups of blueberries.
Spoon the mixture into the baked pie shell and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. When set, the berries will remain very juicy but will not flow out of the crust. Just before serving, if desired, pipe or spread the whipped cream around the sides of the pie, leaving the center unadorned and brilliantly glistening.
Room temperature, up to 2 days (without the whipped cream).