When it comes to fruit pies, to thicken or not to thicken, that is the question. I’m talking about the filling, of course! I like a fruit pie that still tastes and looks like the fruit it was made of, not too gelatinous like the filling came from a can. I came up with the perfect compromise: cook down about a third of the fruit, add a small amount of cornstarch to thicken and fold in the rest of the fruit. You’ll end up with a pie that still lets the fruit shine. With blueberries in season and lemon balm invading my garden like a weed, it seemed like the perfect pie to bake. With ginger, lemon zest, nutmeg and cinnamon, this pie says summer in every bite.
BLUEBERRY LEMON PIE WITH LEMON BALM CRUST
- 6 cups of blueberries (3 pints)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
- 1 pinch salt
- sugar for pastry top
- 3 tablespoons lemon flavored herb such as lemon balm, lemon basil or lemon thyme leaves, finely chopped
- 2 pie crusts
1- Preheat oven at 400 F. In a casserole, combine 2 cups of blueberries with sugar. Simmer over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the berries start to cook down into jam consistency.
2- Dissolve cornstarch into water then add to saucepan. Bring to a boil, while stirring, then reduce heat and cook until mixture is thickened and clear.
3- Add the remaining 4 cups of blueberries, butter and spices and stir to just combine.
4- Spinkle your prepared pie crust with the chopped lemon balm.
5- Pour fruit mixture on top.
6- Create lattice strips or other shapes of pastry cut outs to top pie. I made pastry stars since I was taking this pie to a dinner under the stars. Brush top crust lightly with the egg wash and salt mixture. Sprinkle with sugar. Place pie on a cookie sheet to catch overflow juices. Reduce heat to 375F once pie is in oven. Bake for 45 minutes. This method will produce a perfect mix of fruit filling with a unaltered texture of the fruit with just the right amount of binding for thickening. My final pie was a bit runny but I like it this way. If you want a more gelled pie filling, cook down half of your fruit and add one more tablespoon of cornstarch and water each.
I have been craving blueberry cobbler for the past few weeks, but it’s been way too hot to make it. This has given me inspiration, and just in the nick of time. We have enjoyed 2 days of unseasonably fair weather with lows dipping down into the 50s at night. HIGHLY unusual for the Kansas City area!!! We get 2 more of those days before it goes back to being a kiln around here, so I will get busy trying to do this with your thickening method. I’m like you in that I don’t like a lot of “jelly” in the pie or cobbler. The fruit should be predominant. I’m a BIG crust lover, and I always make it from scratch. Never thought of lemon balm as a fresh way to perk it up, but it sounds good!
Thanks for the kick in the pants to get this thing goin’ around here! 🙂
Enjoy the cooler weather Alycia! I actually turned the A/C off today and have had the windows and doors open all day and evening. It feels so good! Only mid 60s at night but it is divine! Actually wore long slleves on my daily bike ride today. Lovin it! Heading to Canada next week where it has been freezing! Might have to feature my mom, a great cook, in a post! Now, she is the queen of pastry! I’m happy to have given you the encouragement to get that cobbler made!
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