In my backyard, I have four blueberry bushes. Three of them produce a small handful of berries every year. Just enough to toss in some yogurt or on my morning granola. Or just eat while I’m picking.
The fourth bush, is a power producer. It produces enough berries most years to make a few smoothies or a couple of batches of blueberry muffins.
This year, it went into overdrive. I don’t know why. I get asked about it every year. It’s well over 10 years old so it’s not like it has just reached its maturity. I didn’t do anything to it. And it’s treated exactly like the other three bushes.
There were so may berries on it that the branches were sagging – even drooping into the grass below it and getting caught up in it. I picked a few times and made some morning smoothies as per usual.
But, then, the motherload ripened and on Friday night, I picked two big bowls full. I suspected, but wasn’t sure, that I might have enough for a pie! This is only the second time I’ve collected enough to make a pie and the first time where I’ve had enough to make a pie plus… more stuff! And there’s still a lot more berries out there waiting to be picked.
There is something about picking your own berries – it’s very satisfying. Blueberries are my favourite to pick because they’re quite sturdy, unlike raspberries or blackberries – and there aren’t any thorns to scratch you or get stuck in your fingers.
I always pick berries in my bare feet at home. Not the smartest thing to do because wasps tend to hover around below going after overripe fruit that’s fallen. I’ve been stung more than once. But I love the feel of the grass or the warm dirt in my toes. And berries smell different when they’ve been soaked with warm sunshine. I always pick just before twilight when it’s cooled off a bit and the glare isn’t so harsh and you can see all the rogue berries hiding. But the scent from the afternoon sun is still there – it’s something you don’t get when you buy them at the grocery store or even the farmers market. It’s very heady and in the height of the day, can be almost dizzying!
So pie it would be. I’ve made a simple blueberry pie here on the blog before but I decided to take it up a notch with this version because I have a confession… I’m in love with cardamom.
Cardamom is such a neglected and under appreciated spice. But it really adds another dimension of flavour to fruit. I’ve used it in my rhubarb maple crisp and last summer, I had the chance to make pie with Janice from Kitchen Heals Soul while I was visiting Montreal. We made a simply delicious maple apple cardamom pie.
Which reminds me… did I ever tell you about my pie making experience with Janice?? Jan taught me how to make pastry – which if you’ve followed along for a while here, you know is my absolute nemesis in the kitchen! It actually turned out really well. I’ll have to write about that another time!
I did not, however, make my own pie crust this time. It was too hot for that kind of nonsense! But it still tasted delicious!
- 6 cups of fresh or thawed blueberries (make sure the stems are all removed - nobody wants to find a stem in their pie!)
- ¼ cup of all purpose flour
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- 2 9 inch pie crusts so you can do a lattice or full top for the pie.
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk
- Preheat your oven to 420F
- In a large bowl combine the berries, flour, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, lemon juice and zest - stir gently - especially if using just thawed frozen blueberries - you don't want to break the berries
- Set the berries aside and prep your base pie crust into a 9 inch pie pan
- Pour berry mixture into the pie crust - it may look way too full but don't worry - it shrinks down while baking
- You can use your second pie crust as a full top or, you can cut it into strips to make a lattice. If you do a full top, make sure you cut slits into it to allow the steam to vent while cooking.
- Wisk egg and milk together in a small bowl to create an egg wash and use to brush the top of the pastry before putting in the oven. If you do a full crust, you could also sprinkle with course sugar but skip that if you're doing a lattice crust.
- Bake at 420F for 20 minutes and then lower temperature to 350 and bake for another 30-35 minutes or until crust is golden and filling is bubbling.
2. Check the pie often during the last 15-20 minutes of baking. If it looks like the crust edges are going to burn before the filling is cooked, you can wrap them in tin foil for the remaining time. I hate burnt bits of pastry!