I confess. I was at Costco the other day. That’s where I found a 32oz clamshell of California blueberries for $6. I adore blueberries, so I bought them without a second thought. (Actually, I did check to make sure that they were grown nearby, which they were). I had recently also purchased pre-made pie crusts thinking I might make a chicken pot pie, but when I got home and saw them in the refrigerator, it was only a matter of minutes before I was putting them together with the blueberries in pie formation.
I’ll admit, I’m intimidated by making my own crust. I do do it, but on this busy day, the thought of being able to basically dump 2 lbs of blueberries into a pre-made crust and have a pie an hour later was totally satisfying.
I consulted my well-used copy of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything to find a recipe. I was relieved to have the fresh lemon on hand that it calls for. I’ve also become a big fan of grating my own nutmeg with a microplane grater, by the way. So sure enough, my idea of making a pie really fast was going to become a reality with little stress or strain.
Since I’m reprinting the recipe here, I hope you’ll
1. Buy the book
2. Follow @bittman on Twitter
3. Subscribe to Mark Bittman’s NYTimes RSS Feed and subscribe to the NYTimes
4. Watch Mark Bittman’s videos
5. Otherwise throw love and money at Mark Bittman
It’s funny. Now that I’ve watched so many of Bittman’s videos, I can hear his voice in my head when I read the instructions in his cookbook. It’s such a relaxed and reassuring voice, like, “Anyone can cook, and most everyone should.” (which is the first sentence of the Introduction to the 1998 edition of How to Cook Everything).
5 cups blueberries, picked over, briefly rinsed, and lightly dried
1/2 to 1 cup sugar, depending on your taste and the sweetness of the berries, plus a little for the top of the pie
2 tablespoons cornstarch or 3 tablespoons instant tapioca
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground allspice or nutmeg
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced lemon zest (optional)
1 recipe Pie Shell for a Two Crust pie (I used Pillsbury pre-made shells)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
Milk as needed
1. Gently toss the blueberries with the sugar, thickener, salt, and spices. Stir in the lemon juice and optional zest and pile into the rolled-out shell, making the pile a little higher in the center than at the sides. Dot with butter. Cover with the top crust. Decorate the edges with a fork or your fingers, using any of the methods illustrated on page 686 (of How to Cook Everything). Refrigerate while you preheat the oven to 450˚F.
2. Place the pie on a baking sheet and brush the top lightly with milk; sprinkle with sugar. Use a sharp paring knife to cut two or three 2-inch long vent holes in the top crust; this will allow steam to escape. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350˚F and bake another 40 to 50 minutes, or until the pie is golden brown. Do not underbake. Cool on a rack before serving warm or at room temperature.