I love August. I love the cicadas calling in the high grass and the smell of blueberries ripening on the air. I love swimming in the afternoons and trying to get the purple out from under your fingernails after a long day of raking. And I love the blueberries. There is something so intensely satisfying in picking a sun warmed blueberry and popping it in your mouth with that tartness on your tongue. It’s also a very short window this heaven of blueberries in Washington County Maine (it’s one of the best parts of the whole year there… long hot days and blueberries for as far as you can run along 1A).
This year the blueberries are not cooperating – they’re super early (like when I was little raking started last week and the season ran for two weeks)and at this point have completely gone by. I went home last week and in a panic of not getting blueberries for my year demanded my mom help me out – she did because she loves me and raked about 20 pounds of blueberries for my big sister and I to split when I got home. I of course got home and promptly came down with a cold that put my out of commission for two days, and my blueberries sat in the fridge wiating for me to feel better. On Thursday I did feel better. With that good health came THIS PIE. This pie is my ode to perfect fresh pie. As a late night snack or breakfast it is delicious – the tartness of the berries makes it a not-too-sweet dip into the delightfulness that is this pie. Top it with sweetened slightly whipped cream and its “practically-perfect-in-every-way.”
With August running hot and humid everywhere this is cooling in all the right ways, not to mention picking the berries on the right piece of land makes you feel as though you should live in the country slowly getting sunburned while berries pop off of their stems forever, though I may be a bit partial.
Fresh Berry Pie a la Mom
Note: This pie can go in a crust or just in a bowl topped by whipped cream, it’s delicious either way. Either way its a “day-of” kind of pie. You can use frozen berries to create the glaze, thus preserving your fresh if you like.
For the Crust – Buy it. Brush it with egg white and bake at 350 for 10-15 mins until its golden. Let it cool completely.
For the Pie
2 Qts fresh berries (any kind though I like blueberry) cut to bite sized pieces, washed and picked over, 3/4 cup reserved
1 cup Sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
3 Tbs Cornstarch (shaken with 1/4 cup water)
1/2 Lemon, juiced (about 1 Tbs)
Add water, sugar and 1 cup of the berries to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the water/sugar/berries/nutmeg/cinnamon have come to a boil add the cornstarch/water to it. Continue to simmer that sauce for 5 minutes until it is clear and think (this is a great fruit glaze in general). Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. In a large bowl gently fold the sauce into the fresh berries, evenly coating them. Drop this pie filling into your pre-baked crust and smooth it out until it’s even, it will slightly overfill an 8″ crust and come to the top of a 9″. Top the filled pie with the reserved berries and refrigerate for 2-3 hours – I suggest taking this opportunity to locate more berries for your second pie. Serve with a generous dallop of very slightly whipped cream. DELICIOUS. Enjoy.