This summer’s drought and heat, combined with the insane March heat wave, have pretty much decimated the Michigan fruit scene this year: plums, pears, apples, peaches, cherries…all gone. The only spared fruits are the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. While I’ll miss making cheap vats of applesauce, I’m really not mourning a season’s reprieve from peach & pear canning. Given options, I’ll take berries over stone fruits any day. My grandmother’s fresh blueberry pie is a summer tradition and is a real treat with freshly picked berries. It loses nothing in adaptation for the allergic generation. The “cream cheese” base is not-to-be-missed. It sounds odd, I know, but trust me on this one.
Nana’s Fresh Blueberry Pie
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
3 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
3 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 container Tofutti “cream cheese”
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
1 pre-baked pie crust (Homemade, or a Pillsbury crust)
1.) In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, water, corn starch, lemon juice and 1 cup of blueberries to a boil. Cook until the berries just start to explode and the sauce turns purple and thick. Remove from the heat.
2.) Add the remaining 3 cups blueberries and allow to cool down.
3.) While the blueberry filling cools, mix the Tofutti cream cheese and the powdered sugar together in a small bowl until smooth.
4.) Spread the cream cheese mixture over the bottom of the baked pie crust.
5.) Pour the cooled blueberry pie filling on top and chill the whole pie. Serve with vanilla ice cream or dairy-free whipped cream ( I use Rich’s Whip).Basic Dairy-Free Single Pie Crust: Blind Baked
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup shortening, sliced into chunks and frozen
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ice water (about 3-4 Tablespoons)
1.) I’m lazy, and crust stresses me out. I use a food processor. If you have a pastry cutter and know how to use it, you’re probably better at pie making that I, so you can figure out how to adapt.
2.) Dump the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor and give it a few pulses to mix things up.
3.) Dump in half of the sliced shortening. Give it 8 short pulses.
4.) Dump in the rest of the shortening. Give it another 8 pulses.
5.) Spoon in 3 Tablespoons of ice water, give it another 8 pulses. Test the dough by pinching a bit of it together. If it seems really crumbly or dry and looks like it might hassle you while rolling it out, add the other 1 T. of water and give a few more pulses.
6.) Collect into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, flatten down into a nice disk and refrigerate until you want to use it or at least an hour.
7.) Preheat oven to 400. Roll the dough out into a thin circle, between two sheets of plastic wrap and carefully place dough into a pie pan. It will fall apart, don’t stress. Just smash it back into shape. Crimp the edges nicely. Patch up any holes. Prick all over with a fork. Put in the freezer while the oven heats up.
8.) Line the crust with parchment or foil, use some pie weights or dried beans to hold the crust in place while baking (this is called blind baking)
9.) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden brown. I remove the parchment and pie weights after about 15 minutes, once the edges are set, so the bottom of the crust will get baked as well.