Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dad's birthday blueberry pie

Dad's birthday is always a time for blueberries or peaches. I have tried multiple different desserts for him over the years, generally a blueberry tart or a peach pie. This year I offered up a blueberry pie and his level of anticipation kinda went through the roof. He was pretty pleased with the results, especially with the accompanying homemade coconut ice cream, which is good when you're 67 and have had all matters of different types of birthday celebrations and are getting a bit tired of the chocolate cake your mother buys your or the fancy restaurant your sister wants to take you too when it is the middle of July and all you want to do is sit on your deck in the sun grilling steak and prawns and sopping up buttery pie crust with some blueberry juice and melting ice cream. So go dad for doing what you want one day when all the rest of the year you do for others!

Everyone loved this pie and the coconut ice cream was an excellent accompaniment. I will not make it again, because I thought it was too gelatinous in consistency. It was also a bit sweet, but that could be a factor of the berries and not the amount of sugar - but perhaps 1/2 cup sugar would be plenty. I try to avoid pies in general that use thickeners, but I saw this Cooks Country recipe that calls for the pectin from an apple as part of the thickener along with a bit of tapioca and I might find that more to my preference for next time. Even my tried-and-true Joy of Cooking doesn't really have any berry pie options that sound much better, and that could just be the reason I'm not a huge fan of them. But if any of you readers have suggestions for great fruit pie recipes, please post them in the comments.

I do think the rum added a nice depth to this pie and countered some of the sweetness, and the slices were attractive and not so messy when served, which was also nice. I thought about plums as another source of pectin that might be complementary to blueberries in that they wouldn't be very noticeable but could still add some tartness and deeper notes, particularly in the version made with wine. Readers - try that and let me know! In any case, happy summer baking!

Blueberry Pie
From The Boozy Baker, by Lucy Baker

2/3 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
¼ t cinnamon
¼ t salt
¼ cup dark rum (or fruity red wine for a “sangria pie!”)
4 cups fresh blueberries, divided
1 T unsalted butter

I used the other half of the Smitten Kitchen all-butter pie crust I had left in the freezer from two months ago. It bakes much more like puff pastry than what I think of as pie crust, meaning that it is totally delicious, but not necessarily always what you would want. As it was selected to accompany cherry pie, it absolutely worked well for an open-faced blueberry pie.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, rum (or fruity red wine), and 1/3 cup water in saucepan. Add 1 ½ cups blueberries and bring to boil over medium. Boil 1-2 minutes until very thick and clear. Remove from heat, add butter and stir until melted.

Add remaining 2 ½ cups berries and pour into piecrust, then chill until set.

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