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September 05, 2010

Too Late for Blueberry Pie?


Of course not! That's the beauty of living in the mountains--we still have wild blueberries growing all over the slopes!

A couple weeks ago, we took our kids up to a wonderful little spot along the Blue Ridge Parkway called Graveyard Fields. It's a popular stop for casual (kid friendly) hiking and berry picking. Acres of wild blueberry varieties grow in nearly every direction. So when one of my oldest, dearest friends came to visit last week with her family, we headed up the parkway again for more blueberries!


After my past blueberry picking post, I had several emails asking where to stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's a tricky question. The parkway runs 469 miles through the Appalachians and was started as a employment program after the Great Depression. It took over 25 years to complete and did, in fact, employ thousands of people. Several friends I have met here in Asheville, tell stories of their grandparents housing parkway workers or opening businesses to serve the new crowds coming through. Although there are many fantastic places to stop, my personal favorites (other than Graveyard Fields) within an hour of town are: Crabtree Falls, Mount Mitchell, and Craggy Gardens. For more info visit Romantic Asheville or the official Blue Ridge Parkway site.


With bundles of berries, we headed home to bake the most classic berry dessert I can think of, PIE! Who doesn't like pie? Really, can you imagine someone NOT enjoying flaky buttery layers of crust and juicy berry filing?

It is my opinion that when berry pies are made, they should be eaten at every meal until gone. Pie for breakfast? Yes. Pie for lunch? Definitely. Pie for an afternoon snack or dinner? Without a doubt! In fact, we sent our friends out for a date and kept all the kiddos at home. Then we served the little guys fresh blueberry pie for dinner...with ice cream! Don't tell on me!


If yours berries have faded away in hotter climates, don't fear! The great secret of berry pies is that they can be made with frozen berries all year long. Since berries are generally packaged at the height of the season, berry pies made with frozen berries are debatably just as good! No one has to know your berries weren't freshly picked!

This particular blueberry pie is a classic rendition. I like to keep such nostalgic dishes fairly straight forward. The only artist license I took was with the crust.

I tweaked my favorite pie crust recipe by incorporating ground almonds and amaretto! The almonds create a slightly more brittle, but exquisitely flaky crust and the amaretto deepens the sweet, nutty flavor. It was a superb crust, if I do say so myself!

A couple more things~ I like to start the baking process on a lower oven rack to ensure the crust bakes below all that oozing berry goodness! Usually 15-20 will do the trick, then I move it up so the crust is crisp, but not dark on the bottom! I also like to cut shapes out of dough for a decorative top. It's quicker and less frustrating than meticulously weaving a basket top!

Sommer

Blueberry Pie with Sweet Almond Crust

½ cup ground raw almonds
2 ½ all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tb. sugar
12 Tb. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
7 Tb. shortening, chilled and cut into cubes
2 Tb. amaretto
2-3 Tb. cold milk

6 cups blueberries
½ cup flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
¾ cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1 Tb. orange juice

2 Tb. butter, cut into cubes
1 egg

Ground the almonds in the food processor until fine.


Add the flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse a few times to mix. Add the COLD butter and shortening cubes and pulse until the mixture resembles peas.


Add the amaretto and 1 tablespoon of cold milk. Pulse again until the dough comes together. Add another 1-2 tablespoons of milk if needed. Dump the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Separate into two equal pieces and flatten into two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the blueberries with the following 5 ingredients and set aside.


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Move to racks to a lower and middle position.

Flour a work surface and roll out one disk of dough in a 12 inch circle. Fold the dough over the rolling pin to transfer it to a 9 inch pie pan. Repair any cracks.


Crimp or pinch the edges.


Roll out the second disk of dough and cut out shapes with a floured cookie cutter.


Pour the berry filling into the pie crust and top with 2 tablespoons of butter cubes. Arrange the dough shapes over the filling. Whisk an egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the egg wash over the pie crust.


Place the pie on the lower rack and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 375 degrees F, and move the pie up to the middle rack. Bake another 35-45 minutes—until the crust is golden brown and the blueberry filling in bubbling. If the pie crust browns too quickly, cover it with foil.

Once out of the oven, resist the urge to cut into the pie and have a slice. The pie needs to cool to room temperature for the filling to thicken up! It usually takes about 2 hours!


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Blueberry Pie With Sweet Almond Crust on Foodista

62 comments:

  1. The almond crust sounds amazing! I'll be using it in my next pie.

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  2. I love how you did the top crust. It looks almost like a bouquet. It's a truly lovely looking pie (and I am sure you all enjoyed eating the fruits of your labors)

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  3. Mmmm that crust sounds AMAZING! I want pie! :)

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  4. It most definitely is never too late for blueberry pie! I'm just like you with pie, I eat it every chance I get until it's gone. Your pie dough looks great--love the amaretto, and the flower top is so cute.

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  5. The creative license you took with the crust totally makes this pie extraordinary! I like the addition of raw almonds to the crust, too. Wish I had a piece with some ice cream - lucky kids :) I've only been to the Blue Ridge Mountains one time, many years ago - I'd like to visit again with my husband some day - so beautiful!

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  6. totally agree! pie at every meal...that's how I consume all my baked goods. I love your pie and the almond addition in the crust!

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  7. It's never too late for blueberry! Not to mention they are in a pie! Looks beautiful!

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  8. No, it's never too late if it looks THAT great....One of the best presentations I've seen! Congrats!

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  9. I love your tips and the crust you made sounds absolutely amazing. Looks like a great hiking trip and a great result! This recipe for Blueberry pie sounds delicious!

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  10. Superb ! That looks so good.
    That's true there is no season. When I was a kid, my family would get tons of brimbelles (a sort of wild blueberry you find in North-East France mountains) and we'd make lots of preserve in syrup to enjoy tarts year round. Now it's even easier with the freezer.

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  11. What a stunning & tasty bluebery pie!! Of course, it isn't too late at all!

    Lovely & fab pictures too!

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  12. Never to late for pie! Pie has to be one of the dishes that can make everything seem right. Love the idea of the flower cut out shapes. The Blue Ridge Parkway remains one of my favorite places once again thanks for the memory trip.

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  13. Oh, your pie looks scrumptious! Really, too pretty to eat. What a great outing for the family.

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  14. Blueberry pie is my absolute favorite! I was so excited to see your post this morning :)

    I'm trying bake/cook away a bushel of apples right now, so I made an apple pie last night for today's Labor Day picnic...and made my first from-scratch pie crust! I used a recipe from NPR's "The Splendid Table," and it turned out quite well, but I wish I'd caught your post last night, as I love the idea of adding ground almonds. I'll definitely be trying this crust recipe next time around (with all these apples, I'll probably be baking another pie soon!).

    Happy Labor Day!

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  15. Beautiful pie! I love the flowers on top :)

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  16. Wow... And wow... First those links are amazing, I feel like packing and going there, beautiful place. And your pie looks stunning...loved the almond crust, and the flowers.

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  17. My gosh! That pie is to pretty to cut up! I'm always so impressed with folks that can bake like you do.

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  18. So you just put my peach pie to shame! Not only does your pie crust look beautiful with those cut out shapes, but I'm sure that the almond crust tasted fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing with me!

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  19. The flower pedals look lovely!
    I love the addition of the almonds and amaretto. Great pie recipe.

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  20. It is never too late for a blueberry pie!!! Yours looks divine!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  21. So crunchy and fruity. It is love at first site.

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  22. Mmmm, looks so delicious and I am kind of envious of you living in the mountains. We're closer to the Rockies than the Appalachians, and when we go there, my husband and I LOVE to hike!

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  23. looks fabulous ! Love the top crust. Buzzed you :-)

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  24. That's the prettiest blueberry pie I've ever seen! It's so damn adorable I don't know if I'd be able to eat it.

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  25. How gorgeous, Sommer! I haven't had blueberry pie in ages and now I must. I've been blueberry picking in a couple of your spots - the berries are so sweet! ( :

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  26. Mmmm I agree! Pie for breakfast!! I haven't had a good blueberry pie in years. Times like this, I miss living in New England with all the pick your own farms.

    Lynn
    http://punkaroonie.blogspot.com/

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  27. It is never too late for blueberry pie!

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  28. That's right - never too late for pies! Your pie is gorgeous.

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  29. NEVER!!! Especially for a pie this beautiful and this luscious! Love, the almond crust and the gorgeous presentation. Now I need some blueberry pie in a almond crust ;)

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  30. How pretty! I love the flower cutouts. It's gorgeous! It also sounds tasty.

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  31. My mouth began to water as I scroll down the pictures...wild blue berries pie, can this get any better?
    It's my food fantasy to pick wild berries and make them into pies. Then the pies are left at the open window and the beautiful birds and butterflies started to wander into my kitchen...(This a sign of watching too much old cartoons, hehe)

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  32. this pie loos amazing love the way your cut the pastry, I am looking forward to returning to NC

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  33. That's a lovely pie and the almond crust sounds wonderful!

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  34. This pie is BEAUTIFUL and looks good enough to EAT! :) I love what you did with the top of the crust! I think that's cool that you fed the kids pie and ice cream for dinner. Hey berries and calcium is good for growing bones!

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  35. This cust looks amazing! I love the flowers and the nuttiness must be wonderful with the berries. And I totally agree - pie at every meal! I am a huge fan of pie for breakfast. Really, it's no worse than a muffin (unless you add ice cream, which I have been known to do!)

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  36. Your pie crust is GORGEOUS! Wow! I love the idea of cutting out flower shapes. It makes it so pretty (as well as delicious, I'm sure).

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  37. this is beautiful! Was it difficult to cut out the stars?

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  38. I can't wait to try that crust! We've got some hazelnut meal so I think I'll try that twist... Thanks!!! Kate @ kateiscooking

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  39. The sweet almond crust sounds amazing! And the star-crust looks beautiful too. And picking your own blueberries for this pie looks like it was fun.

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  40. Your blueberry pie looks awesome, love the idea of almond in the crust, what a great combination of flavor...yummie! Great pictures!

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  41. I absolutely love the way you did the top!! It's never too late for a good pie :) I'm going to pass the crust recipe along to Mountain Man.. sweet almond? sweet delicious.

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  42. I LOVE your crust...the almonds are a fantastic add. The Parkway is one of our favorite "get out for the day" things to do. Of course, we're a bit east of you so our piece it takes us into Virginia and WINE COUNTRY!

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  43. A wonderful blueberry pie! I love the idea of almond crust - super!

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  44. Never too late for such a beautiful pie!!

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  45. Congratulations on FB top 9, this berry pie is a beauty:)

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  46. Sommer...not only is it not too late for your stunner of a pie...I can have a piece at any time of day...just say when ;o)
    The ingredients that went into your crust...especially the Amaretto ;) is especially appealing!
    Your rustic pie could be served up at any elegant hotel brunch...just beautiful ;o)

    Ciao for now,
    Claudia

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  47. Gorgeous photo...and pie :) Such a beautiful blend of flavors...

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  48. Love the almond crust. This looks so, so, SO good!

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  49. Summer, that is a truly GORGEOUS pie! I love the idea of using cookie cutter pieces of dough on top as well. So much more gourmet and easier at the same time.

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  50. Wow...thats one beautiful pie! Simply gorgeous!I can have it all round the year.
    Love the flower cutouts !
    Sinfully Spicy

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  51. how could it ever be too late for blueberry pie!! That's such a great crust for your pie too! I love how you cut out the pie crust, it looks incredible!
    thanks so much!

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  52. Your pie is a thing of beauty! Love the way you flavored up the crust. And your mantra of pie at every meal rules!

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  53. YES!!!! I love this post and the recipe!!! Your pie looks totally delectable! And such a great way to engage children as well!

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  54. I love the cutout shapes, I can't wait to try this with my next pie! Thanks

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  55. Sommer, the crust is great, in particular the almonds ground into the dough is amazing!

    Bon appetit!
    =:~)

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  56. The creative license you took with the crust totally makes this pie extraordinary! I like the addition of raw almonds to the crust, too. Wish I had a piece with some ice cream - lucky kids :) I've only been to the Blue Ridge Mountains one time, many years ago - I'd like to visit again with my husband some day - so beautiful! summer, that is a truly GORGEOUS pie! I love the idea of using cookie cutter pieces of dough on top as well. So much more gourmet and easier at the same time.

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  57. almond crust, oh how delish, your cutouts make the pie even more stunning, perfect recipe I will have to try this one, surely a winner!!

    sweetlife

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  58. Gorgeous!! I have pie crust envy!!!

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  59. This is the most beautiful pie i've ever seen. I'm sure it was divine!

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