Blueberry pie, just blueberries

The glorious finished pie.
The glorious finished pie.

All my cooking life I’ve tended toward recipes that jazz things up. Not this one.

Marion Cunningham’s Fresh Berry Pie in her revised Fanny Farmer Baking Book adds scarcely any thickener, which means it’s runny if you eat it before it’s sat on the counter overnight. It also means you taste nothing but blueberries (when those are the berries you use) and the buttery crust. And you can spoon those juices over your vanilla ice cream.

These were our berries, picked by Stoic and Snow White. I don’t think I’ve ever really tasted them before because I’ve always combined them with lemon or cinnamon and nutmeg.  Blueberries have a flavor beyond their purple color and sugar (this recipe also uses very little of that, comparatively speaking). The taste begins with just a whisper of acidity and then blooms into something more, a sweetness resonant of warm evenings flickering with fireflies and soft summer rains (which we haven’t had enough of this year). I understand why the wasps love to eat them.

Marion Cunningham’s Fresh Berry Pie

Two piecrusts, make your own or buy pre-made

5 to 6 cups fresh berries (I used 6)

4 tablespoons flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Heat oven to 425º. Lift bottom crust into pie pan. Lay remaining dough on lightly floured surface and cut it into about 14 strips.

Pick over berries. Wash if you see any dirt and drain, spreading on paper towels to dry for a few minutes. Place in mixing bowl.

In another bowl stir together flour, sugar and salt. Pour over berries and toss gently to mix. Pile fruit into pastry-lined pan and dot with butter. Weave a lattice top with the dough strips. Trim pastry all around, leaving about 1/2 inch of overhang. Crimp or flute all edges, using a bit of water to get edges to stick together if necessary.

Bake 25 minutes, until juices bubble and crust begins to brown. Reduce heat to 350º and bake for 20 to 25 minutes more, until top is well browned. Remove pie from oven and cool on rack. Makes 8, really messy, really yummy slices.

What 6 cups of blueberries look like. Notice the duct tape "handle" on the right-hand "bucket."
What 6 cups of blueberries look like. Notice the duct tape “handle” on the right-hand “bucket.”

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