What I look forward to most in summer isn’t just days at the beach and bare feet. It’s more than my garden, the blooms and daily picking and eating — though these are essential parts of the equation. Summer is the recipes that are pursuits in disguise.
Hiding between the lines of 1 part sugar and 5 parts fruit is an experience that marks the season, making summer summer. Like the scent of tomatoes growing and hummingbirds chittering, pulling the index card from the recipe box for my favorite blueberry pie is what makes the package labeled summer memorable.
It means blueberry picking, which in itself inherently means time spent together outside. And fresh picked blueberries spell pie, jam and what I like to describe as, “all things wonderful.”
The blueberries we have growing at home are just enough for nibbling. So, we let you-pick operations like Wolfsen Farms near my hometown do the majority of the work. There we can try all sorts of varieties and let our taste buds direct traffic, moving our little group down rows or stopping us in our tracks. I love the shouts from the other side of the hedge, “Motherlode over here! Come this way for the best blueberries ever!”
Right about the time I start to worry if I brought enough money to pay for buckets spilling over with fruit is when we stop picking. Berries are weighed and paid for and, with blackened fingers, we make our way home. Pie is waiting.
It turns out differently each time, thanks to the fruit which changes from one season to the next, but it always tastes amazing. You can’t go wrong, so here are the basics.
What You Need:
Graham Cracker Crust
- 12 to 15 graham crackers or 24 to 30 squares
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 5 cups fresh blueberries divided
- 3 Tbsp corn starch
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Confectioners sugar to taste
*Note: The amount of graham crackers and fruit you need depends on the size and depth of your pie pan. Use more of both when working with a larger pan or vice versa if it’s shallow.
What You Do:
Graham Cracker Crust
- Crush graham crackers using your hands or a spoon. Using a blender is okay too.
- Stir in melted butter and sugar
- Press the mixture into a pie pan, shaping it evenly over the sides and bottom
- Refrigerate 1 hour
- Separate about 1 cup plump, firm berries and set aside
- Mix corn starch and water until smooth in a bowl or measuring cup
- Place berries in a pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly
- Stir in the corn starch and water mixture
- If adding sugar, add it now
- Smash berries as you stir using a spoon or potato masher
- Remove from heat once thickened, about 1 to 3 minutes after it comes to a boil
- Mix in lemon juice and let cool until it’s warm, not too hot or cold
*Note: I like to taste the fruit and only add sugar if the berries are unusually tart or lacking flavor. This is typically not a problem with fresh picked, naturally ripened berries, plus the crust tends to have enough sugar for the pie to come together as a dessert.
Fill & Finish
- Pull prepared crust from fridge and fill with stove-top cooked pie filling
- Gently place whole, separated berries on the top until the pie surface is evenly covered
- Refrigerate for best results or serve immediately if you can’t wait
- Perfect with vanilla ice-cream
I plan to try adding lemon zest next time I make this pie, just to see what happens. Please write with comments and let me know how your pie turns out and if you’ve made any additions or subtractions.
Grow What You Love.
*Note: I only clean berries immediately before use or before freezing, otherwise they fall apart. To freeze for later use, place berries on a cookie sheet for an initial freezing before storing them in a freezer bag or container. This way they hold their shape and integrity.