The best blueberry pie in the world is made with wild Newfoundland blueberries. There, I’ve said it and I’m prepared to stand behind my statement. We have low bush blueberries here in the far north-east and a short growing season which produces very sweet, intensely flavored blueberries that do not compare with commercially grown high bush varieties.
I’ve sampled blueberry pie from Ontario and east in Canada and all over the northeast US and although I’ve enjoyed almost all of them, none compare to the concentration of blueberry flavor to be found in our local berries. Unfortunately, I know most of you will not have access to these little blue gems and will have to substitute available fresh or frozen berries but if you ever get to this neck of the woods, be sure to sample a local blueberry product and you will soon taste what I mean.
I’ve come to the conclusion that many fruit pies benefit from cooking the fruit filling and then cooling it down before adding it to the pie crust, especially if using the old fashioned flour thickening method as I have always done. It prevents clumps of flour or sugar from depositing at the bottom of the pie crust and leads to an overall better appearance and texture in the pie filling.
This is my version of Newfoundland Wild Blueberry Pie that I have been making for over 25 years. The addition of a little lemon zest and a touch of spice complement the blueberries very well.
This version is a little unusual in that it prepares the filling first and allows it to cool to room temperature before being added to the pie. I’ve found that this method doesn’t have the juice from the berries sitting at the bottom of the pie before the filling begins to bubble and thicken inside the pastry. This goes a long way toward preventing a soggy bottom crust on the pie.
- ⅓ cup flour (depends on the juiciness of your berries, you can use up to half a cup)
- 1 cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 6 cups fresh blueberries (thaw to room temp if using frozen berries)
- 1 tsp finely chopped lemon zest
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp butter
- ½ cup very cold vegetable shortening cut in small cubes
- ½ cup very cold butter, cut in small cubes
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ to1/3 cup ice water (Only enough to make a dough form.)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- It is best to start with making your filling because it has to be cooled to room temperature before being used to fill the pie.
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- In a large saucepan, bring the blueberries, lemon zest and lemon juice to a gentle boil.
- Stirring constantly, gently stir in the flour, sugar and spice mixture. Cook for only a minute after the last of the dry mixture has been stirred in. Your filling should now have thickened.
- Remove from heat and stir in the 3 tbsp butter.
- Cool the filling to room temperature before adding to the pie crust. This is very important or your bottom pie crust will be soggy.
- Pour into prepared pie crust. Top with the second pastry round, tucking the edges of the dough under the bottom crust and flute the edges together using your fingers or a fork. Brush with egg wash made by whisking together 1 large egg yolk & 1 to 2 tbsp water
- Lightly sprinkle sugar over the top of the egg washed pie if you like. Turbinado sugar works well for this. Slit a 1 inch hole in the middle of the top crust to allow steam to escape.
- If you prefer to make a lattice crust on top, roll the second dough round into a 12 inch square-ish shape and cut that into 8 equal strips for the lattice crust top. Place the pastry strips on top of the blueberry mixture, interweaving them to form a simple lattice pattern. Tuck the ends of the strips under the edge of the bottom crust and crimp with a fork or your fingers to seal the pastry together. Brush the edges of the crust and the lattice top with an egg wash.
- Chill the pie in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. This will help make a flaky crust. Place the pie on a cookie sheet to catch any dripping filling as it bakes. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F or until filling bubbles and thickens, about 45 minutes to an hour. If the crust begins to get too dark around the sides, cover the edges with strips of aluminum foil and continue baking until the rest of the pie is completely baked. Cool completely before serving.
- Using a food processor or a pastry blender cut cold shortening and butter into flour, brown sugar and salt until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Small pieces of shortening and butter should still be visible.
- Pour vanilla into cold water then pour over the mixture and work in by tossing with a fork until dough begins to form. Use your hands as little as possible and work the dough as little as possible.
- Divide dough into 2 balls, flatten into 2 rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 20 - 30 minutes.You can make your dough the previous day but make sure you take it out of the fridge for 10 minutes to warm slightly before rolling out.
- Roll the dough into a 12 inch round and place in the bottom of a 10 inch pie plate. Push the dough well into the pan to make sure that it is not stretched at all. This is important to make sure your dough does not contract during the baking time. Trim the dough to edge of plate by running a sharp knife around the edge.
- Roll the remaining dough round into a 12 inch round and reserve for the top of the pie.