Wild Blueberry Pie

Pie. It’s so very Americana. I don’t usually make pies, unless it’s the Christmas holiday season, in which case fresh pumpkin pies and dark chocolate pecan pies are a must on my list. But I was recently in a “pie mood,” and maybe it’s because everywhere I look there is fruit waiting to be put into something. So I found an excuse to make several, and I had to include a nice wild blueberry pie on that list. 

A favorite book around our house is Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey which is a classic book from the 1940s that just puts you in the mood for blueberries and much to do with blueberries. So, let’s just say, I have had blueberries on the brain. Now, we aren’t in Maine where we can boast of picking wild blueberries, but sometimes it’s a beautiful thing to have someone pick them for you. I ask my girls, “do you think Sal picked these for us?”

As for the recipe, it was about 4 years ago that I was in search of dessert inspiration for my brother-in-law Joel, who has an unnatural aversion (just my opinion- plus I like to give him a hard time) to chocolate and sweets typically craved in our family. It was his birthday, we were on a family trip in the mountains, and he wanted a pie and likes berries. And so- it was Birthday Pie for Joel. I did some research and found this recipe from Gourmet, adjusted it slightly and it was a success. I use frozen wild (low-bush) blueberries because the flavor is so intense though if you can’t find them fresh or frozen, you could certainly use the larger cultivated blueberries which are available everywhere. I serve this room temperature with a large dollop of freshly whipped cream, or if you are in the mood for more, add a scoop of vanilla icecream.

Wild Blueberry Pie

adapted from Gourmet Magazine, August 2006 (Deep-Dish Wild Blueberry Pie)

Ingredients for Pastry Dough:

  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold, unsalted butter cut into smallish cubes
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. iced water

Preparation for Pastry Dough:

  1. Blend together flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
  2. Drizzle 6 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.
  3. Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.
  4. Turn out dough onto a work surface. Divide dough into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all dough together. For a double-crust pie, divide dough into 2 pieces, with one slightly larger, then form each into a ball and flatten each into a 5-inch disk. If dough is sticky, dust lightly with additional flour. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Ingredients for Pie:

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar 
  • 6 Tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
  • 6 cups fresh wild blueberries or 3 (10-ounce) packages frozen (not thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Pastry dough
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • 9 and 1/2 inch “deep-dish” pie plate with 6 cup capacity

Preparation of Pie:

  1. Put a large baking sheet on oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Whisk together brown sugar and tapioca and toss with blueberries and lemon juice in a large bowl.
  3. Roll out larger piece of dough (keep remaining piece chilled) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Chill shell while rolling out dough for top crust.
  4. Roll out remaining dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin into an 11-inch round. Cut out 5 or 6 small holes with small decorative cookie cutters or use a small knife to slash steam vents toward center.
  5. Spoon filling with any accumulated juices into shell, dot with butter, and cover with top crust. Trim top crust with kitchen shears, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang of top crust under bottom pastry and press against rim of pie plate to reinforce edge, then crimp decoratively and brush with egg wash.
  6. Bake pie on hot baking sheet in oven 30 minutes, then cover edge with a pie shield or foil to prevent overbrowning. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes more.
  7. Cool pie completely on a rack, about 4 hours (filling will be runny if pie is still warm).
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8 Responses to Wild Blueberry Pie

  1. Rita says:

    The photos are so delicious I could eat them! Another gorgeous post which inspires me to do something “blueberry” also!

  2. Julie says:

    I love pie and make it more often than anything, but I’ve never made a blueberry pie. I think it’s time to try! Thanks Stephanie!

  3. Joel says:

    MMm. Pie.

  4. Conor says:

    Do they need to be wild?

  5. Stephanie says:

    Conor — it’s recommended, but if you don’t have wild give the larger ones a try!

  6. Your pastry looks perfect – light and crumbly. Wild blueberries have a special memory for me of cooking with my Aunt in Poland. We didn’t share a language but we could share the process of making little wild blueberry perogi.

  7. Stephanie says:

    Sally — what a priceless memory. I love how food can take you back to some of the most meaningful times in life.

  8. Pingback: Red Plum & Peach Tart | The Triangle Plate

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