Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blueberry Pie

There are so many wonderful things about Texas summers.  The heat is not one of them.  Although I've lived here all my life, I can't get used to this heat.  But, if you want what summer reaps from the gardens and orchards, you have to endure it. 

As some of you may know, I quit my corporate job of 1,000 years to embark on my passion of cooking.  This is the first summer since my son was 5 (he's now 11) and daughter was 2 (she's now almost 9), that I've had the fulfillment of taking them back to the blueberry farm to pick blueberries and blackberries.  The first time I took my daughter, she ate her way through the orchards only leaving with what appeared as gun shot wounds on her white shirt.  This time, she and my son were real troopers, picking alongside me to fill our buckets with fresh, juicy blueberries coming into season.  The kids lasted 30 minutes, after an hour plus in driving, filling only a 1/4th of their bucket.  It was HOT.  I pursued in the plucking as they bathed themselves with cold water and shade as I, undoubtedly, sweat through every orifice of my body.  I never knew one could sweat that much and I'm a sweater. 

Once finished, I think I lost around 50 pounds and my kids shrunk at least an inch or two.  We left with blueberries/blackberries galore to make our pies, all the while thinking about just how lucky I am to have a summer to sweat with two great kids.  And, no gunshot wounds to prove it.  Just salty skin and another notch in the memory, or blueberry, basket.

Blueberry Pie

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.  Preheat to 425.  Combine the following and let sit for 15 minutes:

premade pie dough (comes 2 to a pkg, one to be used for top and bottom) from Central Market or Whole Foods (or, you can make your own)
5 cups blueberries, picked over
3/4 to 1 cup sugar
3 1/2 to 4 tbs of quick cooking tapioca
1 tbs strained, fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest(optional)
1/8 tsp salt

Pour the mixture into the bottom crust and dot with :

1 to 2 tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Brush the overhanging edge of the bottom crust with cold water.  Cover with the top crust, then seal the edge, trim, and crimp or flute.  If using a closed top crust, cut steam vents.  Bake the pie for 30 minutes.  Slip a baking sheet beneath it, reduce the oven temperature to 350, and bake until thick juices bubble through the vents, about 25-35 minutes more.  Let cool completely on a rack.  The pie is best the day it is baked, but it can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.

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