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July 24, 2023

It is Just NOT Summer Without Blueberry Pie

The Blueberry plant is a native plant of North America.  Even before the settlers came to North America, wild blueberries were part of the diet of First Nations (Native American) peoples.  In fact, in a previous article I wrote about our “Canadian Adventure - Visit to Wendake, Quebec and Discovering the Wendat People”, the chef at the Restaurant La Traite used wild blueberries in a number of the dishes we tasted, in the sauce, cocktails, and desserts.  Yum!

The Wendat and other First Nations people were really on to something!  Not only are blueberries sweet, delicious, but they are also low in calories and actually really good for you.  They are high in anti-oxidants and full of nutrients.  One cup of blueberries, or about 150 g, contains 85% water and thus is low in calories (84 calories to be exact); contains 4 g fiber, Vitamin K (36% of your daily recommended allowance), Manganese (25% of your daily recommended allowance), Vitamin C (24% of your daily recommended allowance), plus other nutrients. 

Today, the blueberry is grown wild (low bush) in Atlantic Canada and the Northeastern United States.  They are also cultivated (high bush) in British Columbia and a number of US States.  In the 1930s, the plant was also brought to Europe and is being grown in South America, Australia, and New Zealand.

At our house, it simply is not summer without Blueberry Pie!  If you are a novice in the kitchen, this is one of the easiest pies to make.  Additionally, if you don’t want to take the time to make the pie crust from scratch, a frozen (defrosted) pie crust will be just fine.  Although, admittedly, the pie tastes better if you make the crust from scratch.  Your choice. 

For the Pie Crust

2 deep dish frozen pie crusts, defrosted

OR, if you want to start completely from scratch

2 c (240 g)  all-purpose flour

1 t (6 g) salt

2/3 c (150 g) butter or shortening

4-6 T (60 - 90 ml) cold water

Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl.  Cut in the shortening using the edge of 2 dinner forks:  pull the forks through the flour in opposite directions until the clumps are the size of small peas. Moisten the flour with the cold water one tablespoon at a time while tossing the flour mixture in the bowl until all the flour is moistened and the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. 

Divide the mixture in half, and on a lightly floured surface shape it into 2 balls.  Wrap the balls each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 45 minutes. 

With a floured rolling pin, roll one ball into a round flat dough circle about 2 inches larger than an upside-down 9 inch (23 cm) pie form. Fold the pastry in half, then half again.  Place it in a pie form, and carefully unfold the rolled dough circle.

Roll out the second ball in the same manner, fold the pastry in half, then half again, place it on some plastic wrap for a bit later.

Preheat oven to 425 F / 220 C

For the Pie Filling:

3/4 c (150 g) sugar

1/2 c (60 g) all-purpose flour

1/2 t (1 g) ground cinnamon

6 c (1 kg) blueberries, washed and stems removed (fresh, or frozen and partially defrosted)

1 T (14 g) lemon juice

1 T (14 g) butter

Into a large zippered 1 gallon (4 L) plastic bag mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Add the blueberries and zip the bag closed.  Carefully shake the bag, making sure the berries are covered with the dry ingredients.  - - I used to mix the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Then carefully stir in the blueberries, making sure they are covered with the dry ingredients.  However, I found the first method much superior.

Spoon the mixture into a 9 inch (23 cm) diameter pastry-lined pie pan.  Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture over the blueberry mixture.  Next, sprinkle with lemon juice.  Then, cut the butter into small pieces and dab onto the blueberries.  Now cover the top with the second rolled-out pastry you had set aside.  Seal and flute (pinch together the 2 pastries), and cut some slits into the top crust to let baking steam escape.

I always place the pie pan on top of a cookie baking sheet, which I line with parchment or cooking paper, in case some of the liquid bubbles over the side.  This makes cleaning up so much easier.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits in the crust.

Cool on a cooling rack for at least 2 hours.


Yum: Blueberry Pie


NB:  I had a really difficult time finding blueberries while in the Caribbean and France.  However, this recipe lends itself well to substitute equal measures of blackcurrants or pitted cherries.  Try it, you may be pleasantly surprised.


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