11 July 2012

Blueberry Season!

Silent Bob took his first exploratory hike up to the blueberry banks on Gap Mountain yesterday morning. He came back with a nice big bucket and chortled about it being a good berrying year. Then, he plunked the bucket on the counter and asked what I thought I might make with the bounty.


Well, that was a no-brainer! Muffins and pie!







My blueberry muffin recipe came out of an old Country Living magazine from the 1980's. I love it and have kept every measurement intact except for one thing. I substitute buttermilk for the milk in the recipe. The buttermilk reacts with the baking powder in the dry ingredients to make an airy puffy muffin. The other thing I like about these muffins is that they are not overly sweet. The blueberries and lemon zested sugar are the true stars here.






Blueberry Muffins


Preheat the oven to 425° F and grease a muffin tin that holds a dozen muffins.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together:
2 c. flour
⅓ c. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
In a small bowl mix with a fork until crumbly and set aside:
1 ½ tbsp. sugar
Zest of one large lemon
In a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk with a fork:
1 c. buttermilk
1 large egg
Add to the milk/egg mixture and stir together:
¼ c. melted butter
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and mix lightly just until the liquid is incorporated.
Quickly and gently, fold in:
1 c. fresh blueberries ( frozen can be used, but use them right out of the freezer)
Spoon into greased muffin tins, sprinkle the reserved sugar and lemon zest on top of the batter and bake in a 425° F oven for about 20 minutes or until the muffins are puffed up and golden brown.
Serve warm with soft butter.




I ate one right out of the oven ... and it was sooo good! Can you guess what breakfast will be tomorrow morning?




While the muffins baked, I made a blueberry pie filling and the usual pie crust that I always make ... the twist today was making another item on my culinary bucket list ... a lattice topped pie.  This is a recipe that also came from the same issue of Country Living ... it was a theme article on blueberries, as I recall. What drew me to this pie filling is that it contains a wee bit of cloves and cinnamon with the bit of lemon ... makes all the difference in the world! Really!





This is where I do my rant about pie-making. Pies are a passion for me. I have found a crust that I love. It's easy and fast and as long as you keep your hands off the dough, it pretty much guarantees a nice flakey crust. I can't stress the 'keeping your hands of the dough' aspect enough. I touch the pie crust no more than ten seconds in total. I cut the Crisco (yup, I'm a shortening girl when it comes to pie crust) into the flour and salt with two ancient knives that belonged to my grandmother. I work the ice water in with a fork. I dump the lump of dough onto an oversized sheet of plastic wrap that I use to gather the dough into a compact ball. Then, I flatten the dough ball with my hands and pop it into the freezer for 20 minutes. When I flatten that dough ball, it's the first time I've touched the dough ... I am convinced that the heat from your hands messes with the flour and shortening and makes for a gummy dough, so I don't touch the dough with anything warm ... hands being the big offenders.







The other issue with pie crusts is assembling procedures. I always have the oven pre-heated and the filling prepared before I begin to roll out the crust. I load the lower crust into the pan and have it ready for the filling, but I never put the filling into the pie pan until the top crust is rolled and ready to top the pie. I really think those precious minutes of rolling the top crust can make the bottom crust get soggy, if you've put the filling in and left it there while you are rolling and readying the top crust. Just sayin' ...






So ... I made a lattice crust top for the filling  ... rolled out extra dough and cut long strips to place around the outer edges, and then cut some decorations for the top of the lattice, using my ancient knife and the tube from my pastry bag ... did the weave and plopped the decoration atop all.









 Plop! Everything got placed ! I crimped the pie edges, ran a milk-soaked finger along the lattices, popped the pie into a hot oven, and had another muffin. So much for my diet today! 





Forty-five minutes later,  there was a beautiful pie sitting on the counter top and Silent Bob was dashing for some ice cream from the freezer in the garage. Dessert tonight will be pretty yummy!






Blueberry Pie Filling

Wash and pick over:
4 – 5 c. fresh wild blueberries
Drain the berries well and place them in a deep bowl.
Sprinkle on:
1 c. sugar
¼ c. flour
2 tbsp. corn starch
¼ tsp. salt
2 tsp. zest of lemon
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. pomegranate juice
Leave the bowl until you have the crusts rolled and ready for pie assembling.
Place bottom crust in pie plate, toss the blueberries and other ingredients lightly in the bowl and turn the whole mess into the pie plate.
Place the top crust in place, crimping the edges as you prefer.
Brush the top surface with cold milk, sprinkle on just a dusting of sugar, and bake in the center of a preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes until the juices are thick and bubbly.
Cool to warm before slicing.
Note: Oven baking is different for different pies … for blueberry pie, I bake the pie at 425° F for 15 minutes. Then, I lower the heat to 375° F for another 30 minutes or so …til the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling.














9 comments:

  1. Yum! I love blueberries. Will definitely be trying this muffin recipe. Haven't made pie in quite some time, but I'm a Crisco gal, too. Have a wonderful day. Tammy

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  2. That is just the yummiest looking pie I've seen for a long time. And I applaud your patience in making that lattice crust :)

    I am going to try out the muffin recipe too, it would be a big hit with my crew!

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  3. o my..both pie and muffins are gorgeous!

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  4. Oh yum! Your pie crust and the decorations are stunning. It could be a page in a cookbook. Lemon always is a friend in baking pies. It brightens other fruit so nicely. I'd love a muffin right now while I'm enjoying my morning coffee.

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  5. Oh my, you're the Queen of Pies! So much talent here. It really makes sense not to touch the dough with your hot hands. Everything looks so good! (Wish I was your neighbour)!

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  6. I haven't seen any local blueberries yet, but they would be the cultivated kind. No wild blueberries to dig into here in the wild wild west. They are my favourite whichever kind I can find.

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  7. What, no blueberry fool? LOL!!! WOW, everything looks amazing! I agree with Susan, the photos look like they belong in a cookbook . . . hmm, some food for thought!

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    Replies
    1. Ahhh! Mary, I AM the blueberry fool!

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  8. Our local blueberries are nowhere near that pretty, and we won't see them for another couple of months. Wow!

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