They say scent is the strongest sense tied to memory; for me, it’s the combination of all five senses that really locks the good ones in. I have a strong memory of the first time I ever fell in love with blueberry pie, and it doesn’t all solely lie in that intoxicating smell.
As a child I didn’t care for fruit-based desserts like blueberry pie, and subsequently I turned my nose up at any sweet treat containing fruit, from apple turnovers to jelly donuts. Chocolate was my thing.
Since fruit was often a side item served to me during lunch or dinner, I felt I wasn’t getting my money’s worth if I ate fruit—something that had been deemed healthy—as my dessert—an important “fourth meal” for which I saved the baddest and richest of processed foods, like mint chocolate chip ice cream and brownies from a box. But regardless of my reasoning, even an orange-zested chocolate cake couldn’t hold my attention; I simply wasn’t interested.
I was about 15 years old when my taste buds underwent a holistic metamorphosis. I began to enjoy the majority of the foods that I put into my mouth—even those that I had previously despised. As a result I became more adventurous in the culinary realm, I became more pleasant to have at the dinner table, and I became a much easier dinner guest for whomever had previously been burdened with my presence.
Fruity desserts suddenly hit the scene; they went from “not” all the way to “hot.”
Aside from its sheer deliciousness however, the reason I fell in love with blueberry pie was due to how and where I ate it: smack dab in the middle of the afternoon—not as a post-dinner reward, as I was normally accustomed—and in the most #SouthernSummer-y setting I could dream: sitting on the front porch of my best friend’s Monteagle Tennessee mountain house, and surrounded by soaring trees, sweetly chirping birds, thick wet heat, and streaming streaks of sunlight.
The heat of the day didn’t hinder my desire for warm, fresh-from-the-oven pie since the scoop of vanilla ice cream offered that desired punch of cool, and the quickly growing puddle of violet cream that took over my plate only made me eat it faster.
It was at that moment that I fell in love with blueberry pie: in the middle of the South, where the blueberries were at their peak; in the middle of the day when I was worn out from playing and hungry for a snack; and in the middle of the summer, when a blueberry pie reigns supreme in the realm of desserts—fruity, or not.
Southern Blueberry Pie with Whipped Cream
for the crust & lattice:
2 ¼ cups AP flour
½ cup Banner Butter unsalted
½ cup PRB lard*
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup whiskey** (can substitute for water)
for the filling:
3 pints blueberries (this may vary depending on the depth of your pie plate)
1 Tbs. lemon juice
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
for the wash:
yolk, 1 Tbs. cream (or water)
1 tsp. sugar in the raw
for the whipped (Chantilly) cream:
1 cup Hatcher Dairy heavy cream
1 Tbs. powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
*We like to use lard in the crust because with the heat of the oven, moisture (aka water) from the lard evaporates and then leaves these air pockets in the dough, which makes your crust nice and flaky. Butter doesn’t have the same water content and therefore doesn’t provide the same result, but too much lard will leave you with a wet, soggy crust due to too much water. That’s why we like a mixture of both.
**We use whiskey instead of water because the alcohol will never allow the flour to develop gluten, so you’ll never be left with a tough dough. Plus, if you don’t use it all, you get to drink it, which makes pie-baking even more fun.
- Using an ice cream scoop, scoop lard into 1/2 cup (baseball-sized) ball. Put lard in freezer until frozen or as cold as possible.
- Measure out whiskey, and put in freezer until very cold, about 15 minutes. Transfer to fridge to keep cold until ready for use.
- Remove lard from freezer and using a cheese grater on the larger setting, grate lard into a large, chilled bowl. Return to freezer. Note: the fat must be kept cold. If it begins to soften, return grated lard to fridge until thoroughly chilled before moving to the next step.
- Remove butter from refrigerator and cut into small cubes. Remove lard from freezer and add to bowl with lard.
- Using a pastry cutter, combine lard, butter, salt, and flour until mixed. It is normal, and desirable, for larger pieces of lard to remain amidst the mixture. Mixture should resemble cornmeal.
- About two tablespoons at a time, slowly add chilled whiskey mixture into flour and fat mixture, using a rubber spoon or spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and fold the liquid in. Once dough can be combined into a ball, quickly kneed it together with your hands, separate into two pieces, and then flatten into two patties. Be sure not to overwork the dough.
- Wrap dough patty in plastic wrap, and return to fridge for at least 30 minutes to re-chill before using. Note: it’s best to make the pate brisee the day before, allowing it to refrigerate overnight. This also makes the actual pie assembly a snap.
- Preheat oven to 400o
- Remove one dough patty from fridge. Flour a cleaned surface and, using a rolling pin, begin to roll out your dough until about 1/8” or thinner. Sweep away excess flour, and then fit crust into a 9” glass pie plate, pressing it down to fit the plate. Trim dough to about ½” overhang around the entire circumference.
- Return piecrust to fridge until cold, 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together blueberries, lemon juice, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Separately, in a small bowl, mix together egg yolk and cream. Set aside.
- Fill pie shell with pie filling, allowing berries to slightly mound at the center.
- Roll out remaining dough in the same manner as before, until about 1/8” thick, or thinner. Using a pastry wheel, pizza wheel, or a regular knife, cut dough into strips ½ inch to ¾ inches wide.
- Now make your lattice. We find this method very easy. Remember – it’s best to work with very cold dough, so if your lattice dough is too soft, return it to the fridge before continuing.
- Once the lattice is complete, trim the lattice edges so they are even with the pie shell edges. Lastly, crimp the edges of your pie to seal the lattice and make your pie look very profesh and beautiful.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly brush egg wash over lattice and crust until glistening. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
- Place pie in the center of a parchment-paper lined baking sheet (this will make cleanup less of a headache if your pie bubbles over). Bake pie in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes, or until crust begins to turn golden. Lower heat to 350 o F and, rotating halfway through, bake for another 40 – 50 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown and the filling is thick and bubbling. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Using an electric mixer or hand mixer, combine cream, vanilla, and sugar in a bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Serve on top of pie. Can also substitute for vanilla ice cream.