One bright spot of the lockdown, if there is one, is that it is giving us time to rummage through our old books and uncover some forgotten gems. One of these gems was Rose Levy Beranbaum’s book, The Pie and Pastry Bible. In it is an extraordinary recipe for blueberry pie.
There are many recipes out there for blueberry pie, but I find they often cloud the freshness of the blueberries with the addition of too much sugar and other spices. They also tend not to preserve the whole berry. Beranbaum’s recipe is the rare jewel that keeps most of the berries intact while, at the same time, emphasizes the flavors of fresh berries. She also cuts way back on the sugar.
The key to using fresh blueberries in your pie is to keep as many of the succulent little orbs as whole as possible. A second key is to keep the pie crust from becoming soggy. Beranbaum’s recipe accomplishes both of these – and more.
Now, as for the crust, you can buy her book for the crust recipe, use your own favorite recipe, or do as I do and buy a deep 8 or 9 inch crust. Either way – here is her recipe with some margin notes added for variation.
Let’s get cooking!
From Rose Levy Beranbaum (for 8 inch pie)
- 1 quart fresh blueberries, rinsed (at another cup for a 9 inch pie)
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water (set aside)
- ½ C sugar (we use two tablespoons less)
- ½ C water
- 2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional – not called for in original)
Start with the crust. The trick here is to avoid sogginess – accomplished by blind baking.
Set the oven to 425. Shape your dough to the pie pan (ignore if you’re using a pre-made crust).
Blind bake the crust: Place a sheet of parchment over the crust and fill with baking beads or beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and remove the parchment. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork and bake for another 5 minutes without the parchment until the pie is golden. Place on a pie rack and let cool.
In the meantime, make the filling by measuring out 1 cup of the berries and place them in a medium saucepan. Pour in the half cup of water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the berries start to burst (about 4 – 5 minutes).
Combine the cornstarch with the two tablespoons of water, whisk them together, and add to the pan. Add the lemon juice, sugar, salt, and cinnamon if using. Simmer for another minute and then remove from heat. Quickly fold in the remaining blueberries.
Transfer the berries to the pie shell and let cool for at least 2 hours. Serve at room temperature with your favorite topping.
This may seem strange at first, but a bold Cabernet Sauvignon, like our 2016 Founder’s Cabernet, is a perfect pairing. The rich dark fruit flavors of our cabernet are a wonderful compliment to the berry flavors in the pie. Give it a try!