The blueberries I bought for this pie on Friday were luscious. We’re at the height of blueberry season in Arkansas now, and these beauties came with stems and leaves as evidence of their truck farm origins. Sourced by a local produce stand, they were bursting with so much flavor that I might as well have never tasted a blueberry pie before. If you don’t have blueberry bushes in your backyard, or your friends’ crop hasn’t matured to the point where you can mooch without guilt, then get thee to a local produce stand today. There’s good pie just waiting to be made.
Oh, pie bliss. For berries this good, only the least invasive treatment would suffice. I have made and loved this recipe for 30 years. On a visit to New York City many years ago, my husband and I tried to find Miss Grimble’s Bakery, but the storefront shop was closed by then, Miss Grimble having become a wholesale dessert supplier. So I didn’t get to try her cooking first-hand. Thank goodness for cookbooks. Although this pie is best made with fresh, ripe fruit, it’s also delicious made with good-quality frozen berries. While you’re at the produce stand today, buy some extra berries to stow in the freezer for later happiness.
Blueberry Pie, adapted from a recipe in Miss Grimble Presents Delicious Desserts, by Sylvia Balser Hirsch, © 1983 by Sylvia Balser Hirsch, published by Macmillan Publishing Company of New York, NY.
1 9-inch double-crust unbaked pie shell**
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
Good dash of ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
4 cups fresh blueberries
Milk and sugar for gilding the lily
Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Pour in the lemon juice and melted butter, and stir to combine. Add the blueberries, and mix gently but thoroughly. Scrape fruit mixture into pastry-lined pie pan. Moisten the pastry edge with water, and carefully apply the top crust, sealing and fluting the edge. Cut several slits in the top with a paring knife, to allow steam to escape.
With a pastry brush, lightly coat the top crust and edges with milk, then sprinkle granulated sugar over all.
Bake the pie for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. and continue baking another 25 minutes, until the pie is golden brown, and its filling is bubbly.
Let the pie cool on a wire rack for a couple of hours (at least) before serving. The longer you can wait, the more the filling will hold together when the pie is sliced.
(I recommend two gadgets to make baking pies easier: 1) a pie crust shield that protects the pastry edge from over-browning, and 2) a circular, non-stick pan with a hole in the middle that you sit the pie on for baking, to catch any filling that bubbles over. Also very helpful, a pie dam that prevents the filling of a baked pie from seeping out from its pastry case after being sliced. All of these items are available at baking supply companies.)
**My favorite pie pastry recipe is from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cunningham. A 9-inch double-crust pie uses the following measurements: 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon table salt, 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, and 7 tablespoons cold water. Combine as directed by any simple pastry recipe.