Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bonus Post: Easy as Pie

The Programmer and I have this thing about blueberry pie. It was the dessert that I made for our first anniversary dinner -- the one that came exactly a year before our wedding -- and we have celebrated each year with pie ever since. Lucky for us, our anniversary falls in July, at the height of the local blueberry season.

Blueberries were plentiful at the farm last week when we went to pick our own (yeah for that CSA voucher from earlier in the season!). We picked 3.14 pounds -- just enough, The Programmer astutely noted, to make pi. (Honestly, I'm not making that weight up; it was on the receipt.)

Our anniversary pie recipe comes from The Union Leader newspaper, which in those days ran a column featuring home cooks. It's a ridiculously easy pie. It's the kind of pie to make if you are a bit intimidated by the idea of making a pie. It's the kind of pie that can be made without turning on your oven. For me, it's the pie that launched a marriage, which is reason enough to make it every year.

Nita-Nee's Anniversary Blueberry Pie

Filling Ingredients

3 cups blueberries
juice of one lemon
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 9-inch pie crust, baked (not deep dish); graham cracker crust preferred (see note below)
whipped cream


Wash and drain the berries. Measure 1 cup berries, 2 Tbsp water, lemon juice, and sugar into a medium saucepan. Heat to boiling, then cook and stir 3 minutes. Blend together the cornstarch and 3 Tbsp water. Stir mixture into berries and bring back to a boil. Heat and stir until the mixture thickens and clears (consistency will be like jam). Remove from heat. Stir in remaining berries. Turn filling into pie shell and chill until set. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.


The original recipe called for a 9-inch baked pie crust, and you can certainly use any kind of tart or pie dough here. I have always used a graham cracker crust (remember what I said about intimidation). You can buy a prepared graham cracker crust -- I won't tell -- but it's easy (tastier!) to make your own.

Graham Cracker Crust

1.5 cup crumbs (20 to 22 graham crackers, or use the crushed crumbs from a box)
1 tsp flour
1/2 cup melted butter
2 Tbsp (scant) sugar
[3/4 tsp cinnamon -- I leave this out when I'm making blueberry pie, but it's good in other recipes]

Mix the crumbs with the flour and sugar (and the cinnamon, if using); blend with the melted butter. Press the crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom and sides of a lightly buttered 9-inch pie plate, to a thickness of about 1/4-inch. Chill crust 45 minutes to an hour before filling OR bake in a 375 degree oven for 7 minutes, then cool completely before filling.

Sugar-Free Variation

You can make the pie filling and crust with Splenda instead of sugar. Be sure to refrigerate leftovers, as Splenda does not have the same preservative qualities as sugar.

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