Friday, June 15, 2012

Blueberry Crumb Pie

Blueberry Crumb Pie
(Listening to- Clogs: “Lantern”)

The history of the cultivated blueberry is tied to the daughter of a cranberry farmer. Elizabeth Coleman White is one of the two people responsible for the cultivated blueberry. White, a self-taught scientist, was the daughter of cranberry farmers in New Jersey.  In 1911, she read a USDA report written by Dr. Frederick Coville detailing his work on cross breeding wild blueberries. Coville was carrying out his work on his farm in New Hampshire. After reading Coville’s paper, White invited Coville to continue his research at her family’s farm in Whitesbog. Together they worked for five years, finding wild bushes in the Pine Barrens and offering cash rewards to other farmers who successfully propagated blueberries of a certain size.  In 1916, White and Coville presented their first crop of blueberries.
With blueberries arriving, it’s time for pie. Blueberry is one of the easiest.

“What kind of pie this going to be, a pie with a top crust or with a crumb top?”
I took this to be a not-so-subtle hint from youngest daughter.
“Uhhh.. a crumb top?” I ventured.
Right guess.
“Can we make ice cream, too?”

Blueberry Crumb Pie                                                        
For one 9“ pie
Needed: One recipe pie dough for a 9” pie

2 pints blueberries (4 cups)
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Crumb Topping
1 cup  all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ pound (one stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1. Roll out the pie dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of  1/8th inch. Be sure to roll the crust in one direction, turning the dough as you work, using additional flour as needed. Fit the crust into the pie plate. Lift and place the dough; do not stretch it in place. Trim the edge then crimp the edge of the dough. Refrigerate or freeze the pie shell.

2. Rinse the blueberries under cold water. Pick over the berries, remove and discard any stems that may still be attached to the berries. Place the blueberries into a bowl. Add the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice, and stir to combine. Set aside.

3. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

4.  To make the crumb topping, place all of the dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix the ingredients together. Add the butter and mix until the mixture comes together and forms medium-sized crumbs. Set aside. (Alternately, this can be done by hand using a fork or a pastry blender).

5. Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator/freezer. Fill the shell with the berries, scraping out any of the sugar/cornstarch mixture that may have sunk to the bottom of the bowl. Top the pie with the crumb mixture. Place the pie onto a baking pan and place the pie into the oven. Bake the pie for 50 to 60 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling. Remove pie from oven. Let cool before serving. Don’t forget the ice cream. There will be ice cream recipes in the weeks to come, too.

Before the end of blueberry season, freeze one or two pints of blueberries on a baking sheet, then store them air tight in a freezer bag.  This fall, when fresh cranberries arrive, I’ll pass along a recipe for blueberry/cranberry pie, celebrating the collaboration of a cranberry grower’s daughter and the blueberry.

Eating what you make is such dirty work and luckily we have two friend who meet us to help out on what has been called Wednesday Pie Nights. This week, they brought us a gift of Rhuby, a spirit from Philadelphia's Art in the Age. Admittedly, if I came across this in the store, I might pass it by but our friends tried their "Snap." Rhuby is made with rhubarb and other botanicals. It is surprisingly good, similar to a dessert wine in its complex flavor, but not as syrupy sweet.

Clogs is a musical project of National's guitarist Bryce Dessner. It is a quartet of Yale musician friends: Padma Newsome (violin, viola), Rachael Elliott (bassoon), and percussionist Thomas Kozumplik.


  1. The crumb topping was indeed a good suggestion!

  2. Always amazed when we can introduce you to something new, other than Nordic jazz