Vermont Blueberry Pie is on the menu in my newest cookbook, The Vermont Country Store Cookbook to be published mid-September. It’s not your ordinary blueberry pie, and while pie is easy, you’ll find this is one of the simplest pies you can bake. It has just one crust, a bottom that is sturdy and truly holds in the juice.
If you want to buy a pre-baked crust, that’s okay, because this pie is all about the fruit. Simmer half the berries, then add fresh berries, and turn off the heat. The blueberries puff up and are are juicy. The recipe works best with blueberries, yet you can mix and match with a variation of raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. (You can’t really go wrong with any type of berry when it comes to a fruit pie.) Just be sure to not cook all of them to achieve that fresh berry flavor.
Last summer, I wrote and tested the recipes for The Vermont Country Store Cookbook and this summer I get to share some of my favorite recipes, plus highlights of the writing process. You may think that the best part of writing a cookbook is testing the recipes, but actually it’s the photography. We selected a top notch team of five, who cooked and shot sixty full color recipes in just 10 days. They were truly a dream team, serious and accomplished cooks.
The photo shoot took place in an historic brick house on the Weston Town Green, former home of Vrest and Ellen Orton. Using all natural light, and the architectural details of the historic home, each shot combines beautiful food with heirloom qualities.
In this photo above, the team set up a blueberry pie shot in the bathroom. It’s was a comical yet serious scene, everyone scrunched into the small room, yet there was a beautiful old hand painted hutch, an original from the Orton era, which could not be moved. And the light was perfect.
If you have ever been on a food shot before, you know how much effort goes into every detail. While Matthew waited behind the tripod, Nora the food stylist, plumped up the whip cream in the bowl, while Sara, the prop stylist, tried out a dozen different small plates and spoons. After two hours, shooting the whole pie, they finally took the “beauty shot”, which is what they call the perfect slice taken out of the pie, yet this is the shot that made it into the book. Pre-order your autographed copy now–Vermont Country Store Cookbook Order Form.
Vermont Blueberry Pie
For the Crust:
1½ cups all–purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter (4 ounces), cold, cut into small 1/8-inch pieces
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
3 pints fresh blueberries (6 cups), divided
2 tablespoons butter
2 lemons, juiced (¼ cup)
Whipped Cream (optional):
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse together the flour and salt. With the machine whirring, add the butter, one piece at a time, until it is fully incorporated and looks like cornmeal. With the machine still whirring, add ice water, one tablespoon at a time, just until the dough pulls together into a ball. Scoop out and press together all the tiny floury bits, and light press down to form a disc. Wrap in plastic or a zip-lock bag and refrigerate for an hour (or more if you are baking another time).
Preheat oven to 375°F.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough, starting from the center and work you way to the edges. Since the crust will shrink while it bakes, make a circle slightly larger than your pie dish, so that the excess drapes over the side. Slide the dough into a 9-inch pie pan. Trim the excess edges and crimp with your fingers or a fork to make it pretty, leaving it slightly draping over the edge.
Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork, and line with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights or dried beans and bake until the crust begins to color around the edge, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and cool slightly before adding the filling.
In a medium saucepan combine 1/3 cup water with the dark and white sugars, cornstarch, and salt. Cook slowly over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil to dissolve the sugars. Add 2 cups blueberries, and keep stirring until the ingredients begin to thicken and turn clear and glassy, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and lemon juice and gently fold in the remaining 2 cups of uncooked blueberries. Cool slightly, and then pour or spoon into pre baked pie crust and refrigerate.
For Whipped Cream:
In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, combine the whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, and lemon rind. Whip the cream until peaks form. Serve the pie with several heaping tablespoons of whipped cream.