Here is another absolutely delicious way to use fresh blueberries. I asked Aunt Gaye, who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, for recommendations on using blueberries since I had such a large summer crop. (Aunt Gaye is a great cook.) In a second she replied that she indeed had a favorite blueberry recipe: “Fresh Blueberry Streusel Pie.” She promised to mail me the recipe. Mail. Isn’t that great? Everybody likes to get mail. On the down side, now I had to wait several days for the recipe. Well, the recipe arrived as promised and I made the pie. Aunt Gaye showed off her cooking talents again, this is another winning recipe. The pie really highlights the fresh blueberry flavor. The crunchy streusel topping also sets the blueberries off, too.
My generation, as well as Aunt Gaye’s generation — she is 89 years old and sharp “as a tack”— are probably the last ones who will remember life before the internet. Sending letters through the mail was how we communicated. We looked forward to getting weekly letters from loved relatives who were scattered far and wide such as our grandparents. My grandfather occasionally sent me letters while I was in college. He would type 5 or 6 letters at once using carbon paper. But sometimes he would get the carbon paper into the typewriter backwards so you had to put the letter up to a mirror to read it. What memories!
How about the phone? Sometimes we would call up relatives to check on them. But we were on a “party line” with seven other families so calling wasn’t much of an option. And what is a “party line”? I bet you are stuck. Ask the “prior to internet” generation or ask “Google.”
We are so used to instant responses in our culture, but we still have mail service. Send a card or letter to someone and watch for a reaction. Other than being surprised, I am sure that they will appreciate your thoughtfulness. I am guessing that you might get a reply through “Instant Messenger.”
Aunt Gaye is a great cook. She used to test recipes for Weight Watchers in their early, early days. We will occasionally visit Aunt Gaye on our travels and I always enjoy seeing what she is cooking. Over the years, she has “mailed” me several winning recipes — “Eggplant Caponata,” “Crawfish Pie Casserole” and “Yellow Squash Pickles” are three of these recipes which I have featured in past blog posts.
Making the Recipe and “Secret Ingredient”
This is a very quick — yes, let’s say quick — recipe to mix up, especially if you use a purchased pie crust. Here are the ingredients for the blueberry pie filling. The “secret ingredient’ in this recipe is sour cream. The filling actually tastes somewhat like a cheesecake flavor. In addition to sour cream, the custard filling is made with an egg, sugar, a little flour, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
Mix the custard ingredients together using a mixer. Fold in fresh blueberries and pour into the pie shell. Part way through the cooking, add the streusel topping made of flour, sugar, butter and pecans. The edges of the pie brown quickly — I added an aluminum foil barrier to prevent burning.
And that’s the blueberry pie. Easy to mix up and delicious!
Making a “Perfect Pie Crust“
You obviously need a pie shell for this pie. Purchasing a frozen crust is easy to do and that’s the route I often take. However, making a pie crust is really quite easy. Over the years, I have made enough pie crusts that I have perfected the process. And this is a very rich, buttery crust — which, of course, is made with lots of butter. I use a food processor to mix up my pie shell. So, if you want to make your own pie shell; get out your food processor and follow along.
The ingredients for the pie shell are flour, butter, just a pinch of salt and ice water. Keep the butter cold for this recipe and you must use ice water — not just cold water. (To make ice water, put several ice cubes in cold water in a measuring cup.) Blend the flour and salt together in a food processor bowl. Add the cold butter in chunks and pulse unto the butter is cut into fine bits. Add the ice water — exactly 1/4 cup — and run the food processor until it forms a ball.
Transfer pastry dough onto a well-floured board and shape into a ball. Also dust the top of the pastry ball with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll out into a circle until several inches larger than the pie pan. Turn the dough a 1/4 turn occasionally, flouring top and bottom, if needed as you go, so the dough doesn’t stick. When the pastry dough is the right size, roll the pastry circle around the rolling pin — shown in the third photo, perhaps hard to see. Look closely. Very loosely, unroll the pastry circle across the top of the pie pan, don’t stretch, carefully push it into the bottom of the pie pan. Trim shell and pinch edges. Poke holes in the bottom of the pie shell. You will have some dough left over. Either use this to decorate the top of the pie. Or roll the left over dough into a rectangular, add cinnamon sugar and then roll up. Cut off pieces and bake like miniature cinnamon rolls. Yum.
This is another winning recipe from Aunt Gaye! Thanks. Hope you make the pie and enjoy it, too. And this finishes my blueberries for this year.
Aunt Gaye's Fresh Blueberry Streusel Pie
Ingredients for pie filling:
- 1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell
Ingredients for streusel topping:
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp butter or margarine
- 3 Tbsp chopped pecans
Instructions and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine first six ingredients in a large electric mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer for 5 minutes or until smooth.
- Fold in blueberries and spoon into pastry shell.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.
- For streusel topping: Combine 3 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in pecans.
- Sprinkle this mixture evenly over pie.
- Add aluminum fold shield around edge of pie, if browning too quickly.
- Bake an additional 25 minutes.
Perfect Pie Crust
- 1-1/4 cups flour plus extra as needed
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter plus more as needed.
- 1/4 cup ice water
Instructions and Steps:
- Place flour and salt in large food processor bowl. Pulse to combine.
- Cut butter into chunks. Add chunks to food processor bowl and pulse for about 4 times until the butter is cut into the size of very small peas.
- With food processor bowl running, add 1/4 cup ice water. Continue to run food processor until dough begins to form a ball and pulls away from edges of bowl. Add additional water, 1 Tbsp at a time, if needed.
- Remove dough and place on well-floured pastry board and form into a ball with your hands. Flour top of pastry ball.
- With rolling pin, gently roll dough into a circle about 12″ in diameter. Turn dough occasionally as you work sprinkling more flour beneath and on top of the dough so that it does not stick to the rolling pin or pastry board. Work quickly so that the dough stays as cold as possible.
- When pastry is about a 12″ circle, pull dough up and roll around rolling pin. Transfer to pie pan and unroll, being careful not to stretch the dough.
- Trim and crimp the edges. Use scraps to decorate pie or make into cinnamon-sugar crust rolls and bake.