The trick of making a successful Blueberry Pie is all about giving it time to set up. The fresh baked scent and anticipation was too much for this particular “wait period”, so the final photo in the sequence here reveals a rather runny outcome – a sign of digging in while the pie was still warm!
The story of this pie, however, is not about the process of making it – rather the events or circumstances that led up to it. You might even argue that this specific pie represents personal and family history. To begin with, this blueberry pie was inspired by a trip to BoothBay Harbor, Maine. The Atlantic Puffin was one of my mother’s bucket-list life birds, so off we drove and sailed in search of this small bobbing sea bird back in June, last summer. Maine is synonymous with blueberries. Thus, it was not entirely unsurprising that our thoughtful granddaughter gave my wife and I a potholder decorated with a “Maine Wild Blueberry Pie” recipe as a stocking stuffer at Christmas.
Christmas is usually the time I dive into baking cookies (which I will get into in my next post). With so many holiday events happening in-person and a full agenda of baking already lined up, I postponed setting my sights on making the elusive “perfect” blueberry pie. But for whom would I bake it??? Certainly, a family gathering would do, but one family member is acutely sensitive to and adversely affected by gluten. I thought why not try to make it something they would enjoy. [Great idea but it turns out that fruit pies were not their thing to begin with. Oh well, a little disappointing; but it goes to show you can learn something new every day – even from family!]
Add to this the Feast of the Epiphany in early January. It was a sign that the festivities of Christmas were over. After putting away box after box of Christmas decorations, we brought out of storage – for the first time – a set of purple colored Mulberry Fiestaware. The Fiestaware set had been gifted to us from a late dear friend of our family. The purplish plates, mugs, bowls, sugar and creamer, and pitcher matched with the theme of blueberries. This Mulberry Fiesta dinnerware extended the palette to encompass a complete table setting. It makes me wonder now, how truly blue is blueberry pie?
So, there you have it, a simple gesture or act of baking transformed into a meaningful event – linking past and present with an optimistic future (i.e., trusting that you will enjoy what comes out of the oven). Whatever leads or propels you to make your own blueberry pie, I trust that you will find the recipe below helpful. I do want to offer a “shout-out” to the folks at King Arthur Flour for coming up with a Gluten-Free pie crust mix. It got rave reviews from our friends and family members. The recipe below is directly from the potholder (pictured) referenced in the above narrative.
Gluten-Free Maine Wild Blueberry Pie
Gluten-Free Pastry for a 2 Crust 9” Pie (try King Arthur Gluten-Free Pie Crust Mix)
4-5 Cups of washed Blueberries
3 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
2/3 Cups of Sugar (¾ cup – 1 cup if you prefer)
Dash of Cinnamon
Dash of Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice (or 2 teaspoons for slightly less noticeable presence)
2 Tablespoons of Butter (Cut into small chunks and layered on top of the blueberry mixture once it is spread evenly on top of the first crust, before the second crust is added over the top)
- Make the pie crusts first, Refrigerate the two rounds (one for the bottom and one for the top)
- Mix the blueberries thoroughly with all the ingredients above (except 2T of butter)
- Roll out the bottom crust and place it in the pie plate
- Fill the bottom uncooked crust with the blueberry mixture
- Distribute 2 T butter is small chunks over the blueberries
- Roll out the top pie crust and place it on top of the blueberries. Seal the seam or edges by pressing them firmly together.
- Cook at 375 degrees for 60 Minutes in a preheated oven. Set on a middle rack.
- Allow to cool for 4- 5 hours, refrigerate overnight preferably. Then dig in!
Words of advice:
Use Gluten-Free 1:1 Measure for Measure mix to flour the surface you roll your pie crust out on. My bottom crust started to crack a little as I rolled it out with a heavy rolling pin. (The pie crust behaved kind of like moist ceramic clay that is “short” or not plastic enough.) I was worried about the thin crust falling apart when transferring it from the counter to the ungreased pie plate. Ingenuity saved the day; I looked around for my “Pizza Peel” and used that wide spatula to lift and transfer the entire bottom crust directly into the glass pie plate without fail.
Also, if you decide to make this with traditional flour crusts, I recommend getting pie protectors (shields) to cover the edges of your pie and prevent them from getting overcooked.
Theme and Variation:
- Use egg wash on the top crust and sprinkle with coarse sugar
- For those who tolerate gluten well – make a traditional crust AND add an additional ¼ cup of unbleached all-purpose flour in the Blueberry Mix to help it thicken up more
- For additional Gluten Free Thickeners- try adding extra tapioca to complement the cornstarch
Experiment, have fun, and most importantly enjoy with others!