Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Blueberry Pie

My husband's uncle had a birthday yesterday. He LOVES pie, and last year I made him pumpkin pie. This year I decided to make him blueberry pie because he absolutely loves it. Of course, I made an extra one since they are my favorite too.

There is nothing like a fresh berry pie. Blueberries tend to turn somewhat bitter during the baking process, so a fair amount of sugar is necessary when baking a blueberry pie to allow them to retain their sweetness. A lot of fruit pies, like apple or peach, require time to macerate in the sugar before being baked. Blueberries, however, do not, so this is a fairly quick pie to make. I always make my pie dough way ahead of time so that it has a lot of time to chill. Pie dough is best when it is super cold. So, I made that the night before. All in all, it took me about 10 minutes to get these pies in the oven. If you are not experienced with pastry, it may take you a little longer to get the dough rolled, but with a little practice, you could whip up some pies very quickly too :) The berries are a nice blend of sweet and tart. A little bit of lemon zest make this filling just divine with the crumbly, somewhat salty pie dough. I could eat blueberry pie after every single meal, happily :)

If you are someone who likes fruit desserts, the best tip that I can give you is to buy fruit when it is in season and freeze it yourself. It may not actually be fresh, but I can guarantee you the quality is better than what you can buy already frozen at the grocery stores. The fruit that you can buy in bags in the grocery store is called IQF, or individually quick frozen. That means that the fruit was laid out in a single layer and frozen very quickly in a blast chiller. This prevents them from sticking to each other. Never buy a bag that is just one solid clump. That means that it most likely thawed and was re-frozen at some point. You definitely do not want that fruit. That is why if you freeze it yourself, you have a lot of control over how the fruit is treated in the freezing process. I just prep the fruit how I would for a pie, lay it out in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze it. Once it is frozen completely, I put it in a freezer bag and label it. So, if you find an exceptionally good batch of Chambersburg peaches, go ahead, buy a bunch. Now you can have peach turnovers, pie, dumplings or whatever you like all winter long when you cannot buy a decent peach.

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