Baking dessert seems better-suited for cooler months, but what to do amidst hot days of summer?
Unless you stick to popsicles & salt water taffy, you’ll probably need to fire-up the oven, and this was the house-heating dilemma I faced recently. I desired something delicious, non-frozen, and the idea of classic blueberry pie came to mind. I haven’t had a slice in years! I love all of this season’s fruits, but when fresh blueberries are ripe & sweet, I’m inclined to chose them (enter blueberry muffins & patriotic Champagne cocktails). My sweet tooth was calling, and making a pie came to mind. Though, pie means rolling dough, weaving crusts, and well . . . baking. Due to a time crunch—and a house now more likened to a Native American sweat lodge—I wanted this recipe to be simple, swift, and sub-500 degrees.
I decided to make miniature pies, and let them be topless! That’s right, we’re only pre-baking a bottom crust, and burying it with tons of berries we prep on the stove—no more oven needed. Store bought pie dough makes this even easier (and it still turns out golden & flakey). Miniature-sized pies bake & set more quickly, not to mention they’re already portioned for serving (not that I needed another excuse to eat pie)—shall we?
- 1 package of prepared pie crust dough (store bought, 2 dough rounds/box)
- 4 cups fresh blueberries (divided, rinsed and drained)
- ½ cup white baker’s sugar (finer granule)
- 2T cornstarch
- 2T warm water (to be combined with corn starch)
- ½ cup water (for heating with berries)
- ¼ tsp lemon zest
- ½ fresh lemon, juiced
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 dash ground cinnamon
- Whipped cream for topping, optional
- Prepare miniature pie dishes with shortening or butter (to grease).
- Remove prepared pie crust dough from fridge, allow to warm enough to be unrolled (10 mins or so).
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Lay one pie dough (pre-rolled into thin dough round) over prepared miniature pie dish, carefully centering & pressing to fit into dish (large portion of dough will hang over the dish rim).
- With kitchen scissors, trim dough around dish rim, but careful to leave an extra inch+ hanging over (as dough will shrink in oven).
- With hands pleat/finish the edges of crust by lightly pinching, and then use a fork to poke several holes over dough edges and center (as it will bubble in oven).
- Bake miniature crusts for ~15 mins on 400, until they’re golden brown (check so they don’t over-brown & bubble), then remove & cool on racks.
- While crusts bake, in a pot on stove, add 1 cup of the blueberries & ½ cup water, heat on medium until a boil begins.
- In a small bowl combine cornstarch & 2T warm water, whisking well to avoid clumps, set aside.
- Once pot begins to boil, reduce heat to a simmer & add pinch of salt, cornstarch mix & stir until well combined (mix will begin to thicken).
- Add sugar, dash cinnamon, juice of ½ lemon & zest, mix thoroughly, let the mix simmer for ~5-8 more mins on low (berries will begin to burst & mix thicken, stir every few mins).
- Remove blueberry mix from heat & allow to cool for ~10 mins.
- Once crust & mix are cooled, spoon generous amount of blueberry filling into each par-baked crust, allow to firm/gel for at least a couple of hours at room temperature.
- Top with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream and serve!
I didn’t want these overly-sweet, so I refrained from copiously sugaring the mix. If your sweet tooth is bigger than mine, more sugar can be easily added to the warm berries (just test & adjust to your liking). I really love how these turned out—simply fresh & FULL of blueberry flavor! The pies set easily, and saved well at room temp (though I moved to the fridge after a day). These little beauts would go perfectly with vanilla bean ice cream, or in my case, with fresh whipped cream & a blueberry on top (sorry cherries, not this time). Hope you too enjoy this simple, seasonal dessert.