some days you need pie: blueberry pie

Some days just require pie.

Think about it a minute. I bet you can think of a day or two this year that could have been enhanced by a warm piece of blueberry pie.

Every day over the last month, with the exception of maybe two, I leave work at the end of the day to visit my dad in the rehabilitation center. My mom visits him in the morning or early afternoon, and I visit in the evenings. I sit with him in the rehab cafeteria or in his tiny, shared room, or I wheel him outside in his wheelchair so he can get fresh air and sunlight. Mostly I just keep him company. I’ve tried to stay out of the medical aspects, but it hasn’t worked. So, sometimes I question the staff about his medications, and occasionally I make polite suggestions for changes that I think should be made. Some days he’s encouraged by his progress, and other days he gets depressed. And, without fail, he tells me how much his grandchildren mean to him. That is his goal – to get well enough to spend time with his grandchildren again.

There have been more than a few days that could have been improved by a slice of comforting pie.

So many of you have asked about my dad – and about me and my mother – and for that I am touched. My mom and I (and my brother, too) have spent the last month learning how to care for and interact with a loved one with a brain injury. We’ve had some interesting experiences – and some heartbreaking ones – but mostly, we’ve learned how strong we can be during times of family crisis. My dad is supposed to go home from rehab later this week, and we (my mom, especially) will be faced with a new set of challenges.

But we can handle challenges. After this last month, I’m sure we can handle whatever is thrown our way.

So, let’s have that piece of pie, shall we?

Remember those Chilean blueberries I was suckered into buying? They were the star of the show in this blueberry pie that I made recently. My son, a devoted blueberry fan, requested a blueberry pie one weekend. Since I love him, and since I am not one to say no to making a dessert, I made a pie for him. Well, and for me too.

For this pie, I used my all-butter pie crust dough recipe, but you could easily use a package of refrigerated, rolled pie crust if you like. I chose to make a lattice crust, but you don’t have to. [I’ve included a couple of links at the bottom of the post, below the recipe, that give great guidance on making a lattice crust.] I think lattice crusts are beautiful. Plus, I get to eat the extra pieces of raw dough after I cut all those strips.

As you can see from the photos, I didn’t wait for the pie to cool off completely before cutting a slice. If you’re impatient like me, you’ll get a warm, juicy piece of pie, with plump blueberries oozing out onto your plate. If you have patience and can wait until the pie cools completely, it will set up more and your slice of pie will be prettier than mine.

Regardless, it will be a wonderful piece of pie. And you will thank me.

Yield: Serves 8-10.

Blueberry Pie

You can use refrigerated pie crust instead of making your own, but be sure to use the roll-and-fill kind. If you choose not to do a lattice top, be sure to cut decorative holes in the top crust using a cookie cutter, or at least cut some vents in the top crust.

Ingredients:

1 cup packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
6 cups fresh blueberries or 3 (10 ounce) packages frozen blueberries (not thawed)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pasty dough for a double-crust pie, such as this recipe (or 1 package of refrigerated, rolled pie crust dough)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Put a large baking sheet on middle oven rack and preheat oven to 425°F.

Whisk together brown sugar, tapioca, cinnamon, and allspice, and toss with blueberries and lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside.

Roll out one piece of dough, keeping remaining piece chilled, on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2 inch overhang. Chill shell while rolling out dough for pie crust.

Roll out remaining dough on lightly floured surface with floured rolling pin. Using a ruler to measure, cut 1-inch strips out of the dough. Re-roll the dough and re-cut into 1-inch strips wiht any remaining dough. Chill in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.

Spoon filling with any accumulated juices into shell, dot with butter pieces, and layer with the top crust pieces, weaving into a lattice formation (tips below). Trim any overhanging crust to a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold top crust overhang under bottom pastry and press against rim of pie plate to reinforce edge, then crimp decoratively, using your fingers or the tines of a fork.

Bake pie on hot baking sheet in oven for 30 minutes, then cover edge of pie with a pie shield or foil to prevent overbrowning. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes more. Cool pie completely on a rack, about 4 hours.

Adapted from this recipe in Gourmet, August 2006.

For more on making a lattice crust:
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16 Responses to “a summery salad: vine-ripened tomato and watermelon salad”

  1. Looks absolutely amazing! I love that combo of sweet and salty too and might have to try this one very soon 🙂 Perfect for this weather we’ve been having.

  2. Gail — July 5, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

    LOVE the new look of the site! And, this salad looks refreshingly delicious. Perfect remedy for these hot days we’re having. I’ll bet you could use a raspberry vinegar. Sounds weird, but I’ll bet it could work, too.

  3. SMITH BITES — July 5, 2010 @ 1:55 pm

    Love the new look and love the salad even more! Watermelon is one of my favorite things to eat in the summer – cool, light, refreshing and sweet all rolled into one!

  4. rebecca — July 5, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

    wow this salad is wonderful for summer great site

    Rebecca

  5. WritingLeigh — July 5, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

    I may not like tomatoes by themselves, but I guarantee you I’d be a fan of this. Also, I love the new site design!

  6. marilyn — July 5, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

    This looks wonderful, will be making this during the week, we are starting a 95+ heat wave here in Massachusetts

  7. There is nothing more refreshing in the summer than tomatoes and watermelon. I’d never thought to put the two together, but this looks incredible!

  8. bunkycooks — July 5, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

    The hot weather is going to continue (and even get worse!) in the South next week, so I will remember this salad. I am sure it is very refreshing on a hot day.

  9. LOVE the new site! And this looks delicious. Kudos for goin’ all out to recreate that salad!

    A+

    [K]

  10. Magic of Spice — July 7, 2010 @ 1:30 am

    Looks wonderful…I am sure your rendition is superb:)

  11. Kathleen Seide — July 7, 2010 @ 5:43 pm

    I saw you mention this one on facebook – I decided to try making it tomorrow for our out-of-town guests. They are visiting from Scotland, so this should be an unusual treat ; )

  12. Jason Phelps — July 19, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

    We have a friend who makes something similar to this. I’ll have to ask where the recipe came from.

    Jason

  13. Cucee Sprouts — October 19, 2010 @ 4:23 pm

    Basil and watermelon – yummy!!! Have you tried pairing it with oregano – also a delicious variations: Chile-Roasted Feta and Watermelon Slab http://cuceesprouts.com/2010/10/chile-roasted-feta-and-watermelon-slab/

  14. Joy — June 27, 2011 @ 11:08 am

    Such a beautiful salad. I love chasing those perfect meals in my own kitchen. I nearly cried when I found the recipe for mine, tucked into an unassuming cookbook on my dad’s bookshelf this whole time. Have you tried grilling the tomatoes and watermelon? I saw it done once and it looked fabulous (much like your salad).

  15. debra — June 17, 2012 @ 1:20 am

    discovered this site yesterday and i made this salad for a Father’s day brunch at work today. absolutely amazing!!! i was out of champagne vinegar so i substituted 2 parts red wine vinegar and 1 part Vermouth cooking wine (i am not good at substituting) 5 stars.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — June 17th, 2012 @ 8:30 am

      I’m so happy to hear that it worked out well for you!

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