Blueberries! They’re in season from June through August. They’re delicious—succulent blue gems eaten fresh off the bush or incorporated into sweet things like blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins or blueberry pie. They’re good for you—high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories (which don’t diminish with freezing). These nutrients translate to improved cognition and cardiovascular health for those of us who love to eat blueberries. My freezer is now full with these little beauties!
This year’s summer vacation was one of those stay-at-home types. You know the kind—lounging, day trips, walking on the beach, spending time with each other and the kid, playing with the dogs. Somewhere mid-week my food meanderings landed me on a journey for local organic blueberries. It didn’t take long to locate Emery’s Organic Blueberry Farm in central New Jersey and convince my husband we needed to find this sweet little place. Right. Now.
My intention was not to drag the hubs out into the blueberry fields—I thought we’d just buy a flat of organic blueberries for me and maybe a pie for him. Once there the head lady in charge of the little market brought us outside and declared it was the best day of the year to pick. Other incoming blueberry pickers echoed her sentiments and before we knew it we were riding in the back of a tractor on the road to harvesting fresh organic blueberries.
It was a spectacular day…sunny, breezy, warm. In no time we’d wandered well into the fields of bushes laden with berries in shades of muted lime green, light blue and that bruised dark purple color that signifies a ripe sweet blueberry. A gentle shake of each clump and ripe berries just fell into our buckets.
Voices of parents locating kids, women discussing the sizes and colors of the berries, and a mom expertly teaching her daughter how to pick the best berries wafted around us as we picked.
While we enjoyed the earthiness of the day we most definitely let our Type A personalities shine through. Everyone else jumped onto the tractor with a few quarts of blueberries. Not us—we had 20 pounds of the little beauties spilling over the tops of our buckets! OK by me. We’ll have organic blueberries tucked away in the freezer for use all fall and winter long.
So, on to blueberry pie. This is the first pie I’ve made since becoming gluten-free. Never really much of a piecrust maker in my previous life the blueberries demanded I try my hand at it—blueberry pie was begging to be part of my kitchen this weekend. While the piecrust was not the stunning success I’d hoped for—the dough was very tender and wound up being more of a pressed-in affair than a tradtional rolled out crust—the pie turned out spectacular. Cutting the dough into star shapes for the top prettied it up a bit but the winning success was the taste and texture—bursts of sweet berry and a hint of delicate lemon thyme crust. Yep. That’s what I’m talking about.
Fresh Blueberry Pie with Lemon Thyme Crust
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a medium bowl whisk together:
1 teaspoon minced lemon thyme
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Cut into small chunks and mix in with a pastry knife (or two forks) until largest pieces are a bit smaller than a pea:
8 tablespoons (one stick) Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks
Add in the liquids, one tablespoon at a time, mixing between each until all dry ingredients are incorporated and the dough can be gathered into a ball:
1 tablespoon cold lemon juice
5-6 tablespoons cold water (use only as much as is needed to form the dough)
Divide into two balls (one a little larger than the other), place back in the bowl and refrigerate for a least an hour.
Now for the tricky part—managing the dough. Because the dough is tender it’s not hard to roll out but getting it into the pie plate without crumbling is another story. (Next time I may choose to skip the rolling out the dough and instead press it evenly into the pie plate.)
Cut two pieces of parchment paper each about 16 to 18 inches long. Place one down, flour it lightly and place the larger of the two dough balls on top. Sprinkle the dough ball with more flour, lightly coating the entire piece, and place the second sheet of parchment on top.
Working quickly, gently roll out the dough between the two pieces of parchment until it’s about an 1/8 inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment, lightly flour the dough and gently spread it across the entire surface with your hands. Gently fold the crust in half using the end of the parchment paper to lift the dough over on itself. Repeat to fold into quarters. Lift the parchment up with the quartered dough and invert it over onto the pie plate with the point in the center of the plate. Remove the parchment and unfold the dough. If the dough breaks don’t be concerned…it presses together nicely with a little pressure.
Place the piecrust in the preheated oven for about 6-8 minutes—it will not be browned.
Roll out the second ball using the parchment method and cut out shapes using small decorative cookie cutters. These will be used to top the cake. (Place these back in the fridge until you’re ready to use.)
Clean, rinse and place in a large bowl:
6 cups fresh or frozen organic blueberries
Mix together in a separate bowl:
2/3 cup organic cane sugar
6 tablespoons tapioca flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Gently toss the blueberries with the sugar mixture until well combined.
Place the blueberries is the partially cooked piecrust, top with the decorative piecrust shapes you cut out earlier, and sprinkle with a tablespoon of organic cane sugar.
Cover just the edges of the pie crust with strips of foil to avoid overbrowning of that area. Pop in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the berries are tender. Check halfway through to make sure the decorative pieces aren’t overbrowning—if they are you can tent the pie with a piece of foil.
Here’s a great pie crust making tutorial to check out if you’ve never made one before: All Recipes’ Making a Pie Crust, Step by Step.
Feast your eyes on some other delicious blueberry recipes: