When I think of Summer in Maine I think of sun, the ocean, friends, family, picturesque shorelines, and blueberries. When I think of blueberries, I think of pies and muffins. While I do have wild blueberries in my yard, they never yield enough for a pie. I can usually pick enough for muffins, which I also made this week, but for the pie I needed to purchase some at a local farm stand.
It is about this time in the Summer when my husband starts making little comments about pie and wondering where that annual delicious blueberry treat might be. I was a little later than usual this year with my pie and I was starting to get a little nervous that the local blueberries may not be available anymore.
The only thing I dread about making this pie is cleaning all of those little blueberries. If you aren’t familiar with Maine blueberries, they are the low bush small berries. It is very time consuming and not very fun. Some people might just give them a rinse but I like to go through them and make sure there aren’t any stems or rotten berries in the mix. My son would walk by every now and again and say “Still cleaning those blueberries huh?”.
This pie is well worth the effort, and your family seeing you at the sink sorting through berries makes them appreciate the pie (and you) even more.
You can use any pie crust recipe or a store bought crust if you prefer. If you don’t have a recipe for crust I have included the recipe I use at the bottom of the blog.
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp. corn starch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
4 cups blueberries
Mix together sugar, corn starch, salt, and cinnamon.
Fold the blueberries gently into the sugar mixture.
Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie crust.
Top with another layer of crust or you can make a lattice top like I did. To make the lattice top roll out the dough into a circle and cut the dough into strips.
Interweave the strips and pinch the edges. My daughter did this lattice work, great job Sara!
Bake for about 50 minutes at 375 degrees or until bubbly and the crust is slightly brown.
Pie, pie, me oh my, I love pie!
Pie Crust Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup chilled shortening, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup chilled vodka
1/4 cup cold water
Whisk together the flour and salt.
Cut the butter and shortening into the flour mixture with a fork and knife, or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like course crumbs.
Sprinkle in the water and vodka and mix well until the dough is formed, it will be sticky.
Divide the dough into two and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
Yesterday as I was stamping a vintage silverware pie server (one of my many talents) with the phrase “pie fixes everything”, I started thinking about pie. I love pie, I really do. Do you remember the scene in the movie Michael where Andie MacDowell sings about pie, “pie, pie, me oh my, I love pie”? There really aren’t that many desserts that people want to sing about except pie. Pie just makes you happy. It makes you think of family, holidays, and traditions. And I’m pretty sure there isn’t another dessert that had a mathematical constant named after it. You don’t need to take Physics to know that 3.14 equals the amount of pieces one shall eat at any giving sitting.
Then I realized next week is Thanksgiving, and what better time to write about pie. Thanksgiving is about being thankful, and since I’m thankful everyday, on Thanksgiving I’m thankful for pie. Thankful for a dessert that allows me to not feel guilty about eating because it can be justified as a serving of a fruit or a vegetable.
The first time I remember seeing the phrase “pie fixes everything” was at Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, Maine. If you are ever in that part of Maine, you need to stop there just to try their pie. It’s an old school, no frills diner, with good food and really good pie. Look at these two photos below! Can you believe how tall that lemon meringue pie is? Someday I need to try and make one, but I can pretty much guarantee it isn’t going to look like Moody’s.
Before I go any farther I need to come clean about something I am not proud of. Even though I always bake from scratch, I rarely make my own pie crust. I know, I have been a fraud. Many a times I would use a frozen pie crust, crimp the edges and make them look a little messier, and pass it on as my own. While I do love to bake, I’m not a big fan of making crust.
After years of my family ridiculing me about my fraudulent behavior, I decided to make my own. Since I’m being honest, it was only a few years ago that I changed this deceptive behavior. I know, the shame. However, if you don’t feel like making your own crust, I won’t tell or make you feel bad about it. If you do chose to make your own, here is the recipe I use when I make crust from scratch. It calls for vodka, and it does make a difference by helping to make the crust flaky. I suppose drinking it while baking would also make you flaky, but best left to the crust.
If you’d like, you can roll out the little bits of leftover crust and use small cookie cutters to make shapes like I have. Make sure to bake the pie for 10 minutes or so before putting them on, the pie needs to begin to set before you can add them or they will sink in.
Pumpkin pie is one of my favorites, and the perfect Thanksgiving pie. I always make at least one pumpkin pie, and although most of the recipes I’ve tried are very good, I have been using the recipe below for years. I am not a huge fan of ginger and nutmeg, and always use a little less than called for in any recipe.
I have also make a Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie, which calls for a graham cracker pie crust. I can’t find the exact recipe on-line, but this is the one I cut out of a magazine many years ago.
Streusel-Topped Pumpkin Pie
1 15oz can pumpkin
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/4 tsps. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. each ground ginger, nutmeg, and salt
1 graham cracker pie crust
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. cold butter
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat over to 425 degrees. Combine pumpkin, condensed milk, egg, 3/4 tsp. cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well. Pour into pie crust.
Bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
Combine sugar, flour and remaining 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle streusel mixture over pie.
Bake 40 minutes or until set. Refrigerate leftovers.
Let’s take a quick pie break to talk about whipped cream. You simply cannot have pumpkin pie without whipped cream. I think it’s actually a law, look it up 😉 You can always just buy a can of whipped cream, which I always have in the house because, why not, but I like to make homemade whipped cream for pie and especially for the holidays. It’s very easy, and tastes much better.
I make whipped cream by whipping 1 cup of heavy cream with an electric mixer until it is just about stiff. Add 1 tsp. of vanilla and 2 tbsp. of confectioners sugar and continue beating until peaks form. Don’t over-beat or it will start to get lumpy. Now let’s get back to pie!
My son is not a fan of pumpkin pie, or any pie really, and since you just have to have pie on Thanksgiving, I have found a pie recipe that he loves. It’s basically a chocolate chip cookie in a pie crust. So easy to make, and people love it. Look how yummy that picture above looks! That piece has ice cream AND home made whipped cream. My son does his desserts right!
My husband’s favorite pie is blueberry. I usually don’t make one at Thanksgiving, but I have a feeling once he reads this blog I am going to receive a request for one from him. I also have a feeling my family is going to be watching me to make sure I am making my own crust. Just looking at that picture of blueberry pie is making me hungry! The recipe below is the one I have used the last however many times, and it tastes as good as it looks. And yes, that is also homemade pie crust.
Lastly, if you are craving apple pie, I have always used Betty Crocker’s recipe from my old cookbook. The recipe below that I found on-line appears to be the same, except it doesn’t mention how to make it into a French Apple Pie as it does in my cookbook. I prefer a crumb topping on apple pie and always use the French Apple Pie version. I have included the crumb topping recipe below the link to the pie.