Blueberries for His Birthday

Today is The Dude’s Birthday. Here is a picture of us 11 months ago on our wedding day. Happiest day of my life because I married my best friend.

When planning his special birthday dinner I asked what he wanted for dessert. Which everyone knows is the most important part of the meal! Did he want cake? Nope. He wanted blueberry pie. So how could I refuse the love of my life? Blueberry pie he wants – blueberry pie he shall get!

But I wanted to do something other than my typical blueberry pie. So I scouted around a found a recipe for a new crust with the addition of a fabulous lemon cream to serve on top. I think there is nothing better than pairing blueberries and lemons.

Fortunately, I had one bag of blueberries that we had gotten from a farm up the road from us last summer that I had frozen. So, it was a little reminder that summer will be here soon and I’m going to need a lot of blueberries to get through next year!

Here is the recipe. Make sure to make the lemon cream! It takes a bit of work but it is oh so worth it!

Blueberry Pie with Cornmeal Crust and Lemon Cream

Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal (preferably stone-ground, medium grind)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks total) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening, frozen, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons (or more) ice water

Filling:

  • 5 cups fresh blueberries (about 27 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Milk (for brushing)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raw sugar (Turbinado)

Best pie pan around. Emile Henry bakeware. Heats evenly and crusts don't stick. Invest in a couple of these if you can!

For crust:
Blend flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; using on/off turns, blend until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tablespoons ice water; blend just until moist clumps begin to form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into disk. Wrap disks separately in plastic and chill at least 1 hour. Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Soften dough 10 minutes at room temperature before rolling out.

For filling:
Combine blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon water in large bowl; toss to blend. Let stand at room temperature until juices begin to form, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place rimmed baking sheet in bottom of oven. Roll out 1 dough disk between 2 sheets of generously floured parchment paper to 12-inch round. Peel off top parchment sheet; invert dough into 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Carefully peel off second parchment sheet. Gently press dough into pie dish, pressing any cracks together as needed to seal and leaving dough overhang. Spoon filling into pie crust.

Roll out second dough disk between 2 sheets of generously floured parchment paper to 12-inch round. Peel off top parchment sheet. Carefully and evenly invert dough atop filling. Peel off second parchment sheet. Trim overhang of both crusts to 1 inch. Fold overhang under and press to seal. Crimp edges decoratively. Cut five 2-inch-long slits in top crust of pie to allow steam to escape during baking. Lightly brush top crust (not edges) with milk. Sprinkle with raw sugar.

The turbinado sugar does something magical to the crust. And the cornmeal adds an extra crispiness that is wonderful.

Bake pie 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and continue baking until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling thickly through slits, about 1 hour. Cool pie completely on rack. Cut into wedges and serve with Lemon Cream.

Lemon Cream (just a little taste of heaven!)

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Pinch of salt

Combine 1 cup sugar, lemon juice, 4 eggs, egg yolk, and lemon peel in heavy medium saucepan and whisk to blend; add butter. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and coats back of spoon thickly (do not boil), about 12 minutes. Pour mixture through strainer into medium bowl. Place bowl in larger bowl filled with ice water and whisk occasionally until lemon curd is cooled completely, about 15 minutes.

Whisk egg white and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in small metal bowl to blend. Set bowl over small saucepan of barely simmering water and whisk constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture is just warm to touch, about 1 minute (do not overheat or mixture will curdle). Immediately remove bowl from over water. Using electric mixer, beat egg white mixture until thick and glossy (texture will resemble marshmallow creme; volume of beaten egg white will be very small). Gently fold egg white mixture into cooled lemon curd. Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

The egg white/sugar glossy and ready to be folded into the chilled lemon curd. This is sublime!

The lemon cream would also be fantastic drizzled over fresh blueberries or blackberries.

FYI – The entire dinner consisted of grilled lamb chops with garlic, rosemary and olive oil, mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus. But oh that pie! A star is born!

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About Eileen Dominick Long

Diva, dog lover, and main squeeze to the Dude.
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