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Monday, August 1, 2011

Fresh Blueberry Pie

I can't believe I almost missed blueberry season. Granted, it comes a bit earlier than I'm used to down here in Florida. I was somewhat worried when I called the blueberry farm and was told the berries were getting slim and I'd better hurry up and get out there. All I've got to say is, if that's "getting slim," I'd hate to see it when the bushes are going all out!

I've picked a lot of blueberries in my life, but I've never been blueberry picking like this. I picked fourteen pounds in less than an hour. I simply had to put my bucket under a branch and rake my fingers through. The berries hung so heavy, thick, ripe, and sweet on the bush it was amazing! And the guy charged, get this... one dollar a pound! I felt like I had died and gone to heaven.

While there are all kinds of blueberry recipes out there, this is quite possibly my favorite. My mom made a version of it when I was growing up and if ever there were left overs, they would mysteriously disappear... into my tummy! I was a food sneak as a kid. Dang, who am I kidding? I still am!

I love a traditional cooked blueberry pie as much as the next gal, but the fresh berries in this pie just are so pleasing in flavor and texture, you've got to give it a try!

First, bake an empty pie shell. You can use any crust, homemade or store bought. Obviously, I would advocate the homemade one, but use your best judgement. In this case, I used a whole wheat crust for an added nuttiness.

In a medium sauce pan, combine one cup of the berries, the one cup of water, sugar, lemon juice, nutmeg, lemon zest, and corn starch together. Stir well and then place over medium high heat. The amount of sugar will depend on how sweet your berries are. I had really sweet berries, so I used only half a cup of sugar; if your berries are more tart, you'll want to increase the sugar to 3/4 or 1 cup. Separately, soften the gelatin in 2 tablespoons of water.

Once the blueberry mixture has come to a boil and is nice and thick and well cooked, pour and then press through a sieve.

This process will leave you with a beautiful blueberry syrup. Add the softened gelatin, stir well, and then set aside to cool.

Once the blueberry syrup and the pie crust are cooled, mix the syrup with the remaining fresh blueberries. Toss well to be sure all berries are covered.

Lastly, pour the covered blueberries and syrup into the cooled pie shell. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours before serving.

Fresh Blueberry Pie
Yield: 1 - 9" pie

1 baked pie crust shell

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup water
1/2 - 1 cup sugar (depends on berry sweetness)
1 TBS lemon juice
pinch nutmeg
pinch lemon zest
1 heaping TBS cornstarch
1 tsp unflavored gelatin
2 TBS cool water

3 more cups fresh blueberries

Mix the one cup of berries, one cup of water, sugar, nutmeg, zest, and cornstarch together in a medium sauce pan. Separately, mix the gelatin and 2 TBS water together in a small bowl and set aside. Heat the blueberry mixture over medium to medium high heat. Stir regularly until the mixture comes to boil and thickens well. Remove from the heat and press through a sieve, discarding solids. Stir in the softened gelatin mixture and set the syrup aside to cool.

Once the syrup and the pie crust (if necessary) are both cool, mix the remaining three cups of berries and the syrup together and pour into the pie shell. Chill at least four hours before serving.

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