Tonight as I was gathering my thoughts for the column I started thinking about next Sunday. Our wonderful, son, Phillip heads off to college next weekend and I’m praying I’m not sitting around here boo hooing. On one hand I am excited for him as he starts this new journey. Then, on the other hand, it’s going to be awfully quiet around here. Empty nester I am not ready to be. I absolutely adore conversations with young people. I appreciate being able to look at worldly issues and life through their eyes. I like giving them my full attention as they tell a story or share something momentous. And I like being there to encourage young people, to let them know I believe in them. Hey, I made it through all those sentences and haven’t shed a tear, I’m getting there. Ooops, spoke too soon.
I’ve been waiting to share this blueberry pie recipe with you. Since I just closed this class out at Silver Dollar City, it’s time to bring it to my readers.
Things I have learned about this pie:
You can use frozen berries, but the bind won’t be as strong.
Everyone tells me the sugar level is perfect—
When you use tapioca as a thickening agent grind it in an
inexpensive coffee grinder, not the Burr coffee grinder.
If you grind the tapioca you will never see the little white spots
that often pop up in the gel portion.
Eating one piece is not so easy!
In the past 8-9 weeks I think I have made around 36-40 pies. Truthfully, you can use a frozen berry, but when I do I like to add 2-3 tablespoons of dry cornstarch to the berries, before I stir them into the filling. This will hold the bind a bit tighter, with the little bit of extra moisture.
I started making blueberry pies with the cream cheese base close to 35 years ago. At that time I also made the filling with 100% cornstarch.
Think about how much you enjoy a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a double crust peach pie. I’ve just put the dairy on the bottom of the pie against the fruit. It’s a nice combination, and a little different than what many do with a fresh fruit pie.
Remember as you work with the pastry crust to keep the shortening ice cold and the liquid of choice the same way. Don’t work the dough to much with your hands. The heat from our hands can break down the dough, making it tougher.
Change is good, it means growth, in most cases. Try a new pie recipe and see what you think. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com.
Fresh Blueberry Pie
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup instant or quick tapioca
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup cold water
Lemon Zest, 1-2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon butter
5 cups fresh blueberries or frozen, thawed
Prepare pie crust, bake and cool. Mix filling base together and spread evenly across the bottom of the crust. Refrigerate if possible. Mix tapioca, sugar and salt together in a small saucepan. Add cold water and bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and add the butter and zest. Stir in blueberries and coat berries evenly. Pour over the creamed cheese foundation and refrigerate until cold and firm. Serve with whipped cream squirt and mint leaf.
Sometimes I have mashed a few of the berries and then left the rest whole. This will fill a 9-inch pie pan. 8-10 servings.
Single Butter Pie Crusts
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) salted butter, cold
(Cut into small pieces.)
1/4 cup ice water/vinegar mix
Or1/4 cup vodka instead of water/vinegar mix
Place flour and sugar into mixer or bowl, cut the ice cold butter into the dry ingredients until very small pieces. Mix together ice water and vinegar to total 1/4 cup. Slowly add the liquid to the pie crust until the dough begins to form a ball. There’s a chance you will not need all the liquid.
Form dough into a ball and lightly flour parchment or wax paper for rolling. Using a rolling pin roll the dough into the size required for your pie pan. Don’t handle dough more than necessary.
In pastry, vinegar is used because it keeps gluten from compacting. You can do an entire crust with only vinegar and no water, but it’s not recommended for a novice pie maker. The type of vinegar, white or cider is irrelevant as it cooks off while in the oven. The vodka is highly recommended when making a fresh fruit pie. The vodka helps to render not only a tender crust, but one that is very light in color tone. Always remember to protect your pie crusts while they’re baking. Usually just for a portion of the baking time.
Additional guide for baking the crust for the fresh blueberry pie.
Lightly prick bottom and sides of pie crust. Place small square of parchment in bottom of pie pan and set a ‘like’ pan inside the crust (be gentle). Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for 8 minutes. Remove interior pie pan and bake for 5 more minutes.