Summer is the best time for pie bakers and lovers of fruit desserts. Fresh berries, peaches, plums and pears are abundant at farm stands and farmers’ markets, making those bakers among us shiver with excitement.
Two of my favorite desserts showcase the texture and deep flavor of native New England blueberries: Wild Maine Blueberry Molasses Cake and Blueberry Streusel Pie.
Maine, famous for blueberries as much as for lobster, shines in summer with a constellation of time-tested blueberry recipes and products. From Bluet’s Wild Maine Blueberry Wine to Worcester’s Blueberry Chutney, Maine’s entrepreneurs take full advantage of ‘Blueberry Tourism’ to concoct a huge variety of tasty items to take home. And for some attractive blue summer drinks, try one or more of the Blueberry Cocktails from Maine Spirits.
Wild or Cultivated?
Whenever I have the opportunity or ambition to pick wild blueberries, I make this version of the famous Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins, from Alexander’s Wild Maine Blueberries. Or, even better, I revert to my most cherished recipe for wild Maine blues: Dot Ouillette’s Wild Blueberry Molasses Cake – ambrosial! There’s no comparison between the sweet, petite wild blueberries and the larger cultivated ones, which still make an acceptable pie, scone or muffin. But when wild are available, they’re the best choice.
Life of Pie
In the rarified realm of blueberry pies, I’ve tested innumerable recipes, mostly from Maine. This straightforward recipe from Yankee Magazine is a winner for those who like a simple, old-fashioned pie that’s a bit runny.
This Contest Winning Pie from Taste of Home is an easy, single-crust pie, with a filling that’s thickened by briefly cooking the blueberries first. The filling sets up firm and flavorful.
More complex, yet excellent, is the pie recipe made with frozen blueberries created by Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland, ME. It can be a godsend in the dead of winter, when made with wild blueberries you handpicked at their peak on that hot sunny day in Maine.
By far the new favorite among blueberry pies is my version of Blueberry Streusel Pie. Somehow, immersing plump blueberries in a creamy custard yields a pie with super-intense blueberry flavor, smooth consistency and overall yummy-ness.
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