Introduction: Quick and Tasty Homemade Blueberry Pie
The magic of this particular pie comes from the filling, and being very quick to prepare, even if starting with frozen blueberries: only 10 minutes of prep time (plus 30 minutes baking).
I'll state this up front: we prefer the convenience of using prepared frozen crusts, rather than rolling out from scratch. Deep-dish frozen pie crusts are readily available, as are separate "top" crusts, and they don't have to be thawed completely to use in this recipe.
We make and eat at least a half dozen of these pies over the course of a year (including winter... see below about frozen blueberries) and I would expect if we had to make the crusts from scratch, that number would severely dwindle (as would our enjoyment of this healthy dessert). However, if you do decide to "roll your own," incorporate some chopped fresh or dried mint into the dough, to complement the mint used in the filling.
This recipe originally came from The Asbury Park Press (in the state of New Jersey, a major source of blueberries) but we have improved it during the course of over 10 years of making these pies.
The best thing is to buy berries at season's peak and freeze them for later use. Locally, they go for $1.99 a pint in season. To freeze, just place the pint container in a quart size freezer ziploc bag - and freeze! That's it. They don't stick together, and we've been doing it this way for years.
Step 1: Prepare Filling - Add Ingredients
This calls for 3 pints of blueberries (preferably fresh; if frozen, thawing is unnecessary) and a 9-inch, deep dish type pie crust. In addition to the filling ingredients listed below, you'll also need 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
If using frozen crusts, remove from freezer to thaw slightly.
Put 1 pint of fresh or frozen blueberries (photos) in a 3-quart thick bottomed (to prevent scorching) saucepan.
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar (less if you prefer a more tart flavor)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp fresh minced mint or peppermint (or 1/2 tsp crushed dried mint)
1/2 tsp instant (granulated) tapioca*
1/2 tsp ground cardamom*
1/4 tsp ground ginger*
Note: for a more intense blueberry flavor, substitute 1/4 cup of blueberry honey (photo) for 1/4 cup of the sugar. Unbleached granulated organically grown cane sugar also provides a richer, more complex flavor.
Step 2: Prepare Filling - Cook Filling Base
Gently bring berries to a boil, then reduce heat and stir until the berries turn a dark violet color (see photo).
Step 3: Prepare Filling - Final
Gradually stir in 1/2 cup flour and cook, stirring continuously and scraping the bottom, for another 2 - 3 minutes.
Remove from heat, and gently stir in the other 2 pints of fresh (or frozen) blueberries.
The photo shows the result after stirring in flour and cooking, and adding the two pints of berries. Note that the first pint of berries has disintegrated and formed the "binder" part of the filling.
Step 4: Fill the Crust
Spoon the filling into unbaked pie shell.
Tip: place aluminum foil under pie to catch any drips and simplify later cleanup.
Step 5: Cover With Pie Crust
Cover with top crust, then crimp or flute edges.
Bake for 30 minutes or until desired browning is achieved.
If you prefer that the berries remain relatively whole, keep the baking time on the short side. When the filling begins to exude from the pie (photo), that is about the finishing point. Cooking longer will cause the berries to lose their firmness and identity as individual berries.
Step 7: Cool, Refrigerate, Slice, Serve, Eat, Enjoy...
Cool on pie rack. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.
Serve with a scoop of ice cream (mint chocolate chip shown in photo); or, for an extravagant accompaniment, drizzle with fresh whole heavy cream... (photo)
Uneaten pie will keep for a week, refrigerated (keep covered with a paper towel.)