Important things first - have you signed up to win a free Gooseberry Cookbook, Dinners on a Dime? I'm drawing the name first thing Friday morning, and I don't want you to miss out!
Now...back to the task at hand...
Does anyone out there like pie?
I do. I know my husband does. I'm actually surprised he didn't add "must make pie" to our wedding vows. His love for pie is pretty darn serious. So, just because I love him, I made him a pie...a blueberry pie!
Since blueberries and cream cheese are a match made in heaven, I decided to try out a recipe I saw by A Cozy Kitchen on Tasty Kitchen for cream cheese pie crust. It was amazing!
For one pie crust, you mix together 3 teaspoons of cold water and 1 teaspoon of cold apple cider vinegar.
In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoons salt.
Add four ounces of cold cream cheese and four ounces of cold butter, cut into small pieces.
Notice that so far, the key word has been cold. Everything must be cold for the crust to bake effectively. Brrrrrrrr.
Cut the butter and cream cheese into the flour until the mixture resembles course crumbs.
Add the water and vinegar to the crumbs and mix together until a soft dough forms. I found that this worked best if I just got down and dirty and used my hands. Don't worry - I washed my hands first, and then I licked them afterward. Haha...I'm kidding about the licking. Maybe...
Once you you've got a ball of dough, flatten it out, wrap it up in plastic wrap, and then refrigerate until it's firm (it took me about an hour).
A very important fact: those were the instructions for one pie crust. This recipe calls for two.
Once your pie crust is firm, you want to pull one out of the refrigerator, roll it out, and place it in your greased pie dish.
Trim any excess dough around the edges (add that to the other pie crust you have in the fridge), flute the edges the best you can, and then put the pie dish back in the fridge. We've got to keep it cold!
Now for the filling! This would probably taste amazing with fresh blueberries, but I'm too cheap for that. I went ahead and used frozen...and nobody could tell!
My surprise ingredient was this little guy...
Adding an apple helps the pie's texture (something about the pectin in the apple). I peeled it, sliced it, and then shredded it.
I thawed a small package of frozen blueberries (I think it was 14 oz...might have been 12...doesn't really matter though, either will work), and then I dumped the whole thing into a saucepan. I added the shredded apple to the blueberries.
I cooked the blueberries until the juice was bubbly and used a potato masher to smash half of the blueberries.
I added two tablespoons of tapioca and then turned off the heat.
Then I added 3 cups of frozen whole blueberries, 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar (depending on your sweet tooth), about 1/4 t. of freshly ground nutmeg, a few tablespoons of butter (optional...I didn't use it), and my other secret ingredient...a vanilla bean.
What's that? Never cooked with a vanilla bean? Don't worry - it's easy. You run a knife down the length of the bean to split it open. Then, take a spoon and scoop out the insides. Those insides can go right into the pot with the blueberries.
After you do this, smell your hands - they'll smell so good you'll never want to wash them again. Then you'll start dreaming up ways of using the leftover bean shell to scent the house...or you. Unless, that is, you are a normal person who is content to light a candle and splash on some body spray. Me? I played with the remains of my vanilla bean.
Mix everything up, pull your prepared pie crust out of the refrigerator, and fill the crust with the blueberries.
Doesn't that look delicious!
For the top crust, you have a few options. You could roll it out, lay it over the top, cut pretty slits in it, and be happy. Or, you could do it my way and be happier. Just sayin...
I rolled the pie crust out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
I used a table knife to cut it into smaller bits.
Then, I literally sprinkled these bits of crust over the top of the pie! It's fast, it's easy, and it's quite the showstopper.
To finish it off, I sprayed the crust with cooking spray and then sprinkled on some sparkling sugar (just for show).
Baked your pie at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
This pie tastes amazing (if I do say so myself). It's light, fresh, and holds together nicely when sliced. The cream cheese in the crust and vanilla bean in the filling add subtle and delicious touches to the flavor. I highly recommend having a slice today...you won't regret it!
P.S. As you know, I like taking photos of my husband while eating. Well, I've now started a new trend...photos of him when he's realized that he has no more pie. What a puppy dog face!
Blueberry Vanilla Pie
6 cups (approximately) frozen or fresh blueberries, divided
1 small tart apple, peeled and grated
2 T. tapioca
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 t. freshly ground nutmeg
1 vanilla bean
3 T. butter (optional)
2 prepared pie crusts
In a small saucepan, heat about 3 cups blueberries and grated apple until juice is bubbly. Mash approximately 1/2 of the blueberries with a potato masher. Add tapioca and then remove from heat. Stir in the rest of the blueberries, 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, nutmeg, the insides of the vanilla bean, and butter (optional). Pour into one prepared pie crust and top with remaining crust. Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes. Serves 8.
Gluten Free Variation - use an almond or rice flour crust (see Bob's Red Mill rice flour package for recipe).
Are you sure you want to read the nutritional info?
Really? You sure?
Okay...you asked for it...
...don't say I didn't warn you.
Nutrition (blueberry pie filling without butter): 124 cal, 1g fat, 0g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 31g carbs, 3g fiber, 24g sugar, 1g protein, 1% vit. A, 6% vit. C, 1% calcium, 1% iron.
Nutrition (cream cheese pie crust): 368 cal, 22g fat, 13g sat fat, 0g trans fat, 61mg cholesterol, 463mg sodium, 37 carbs, 1g fiber, 1g sugars, 7g protein, 14% vit. A, 0% vit. C, 4% calcium, 13% iron.
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This Week's Cravings: Pie!