As we approach July and National Blueberry Month, we look at how this versatile fruit contributes not only taste but nutrition to baked goods. One of the most popular ways to use blueberries is in pie, as they keep it moist, add unique flavor, and provide numerous health benefits.
At the recent National Pie Championships, hosted by the American Pie Council, amateur and professional bakers showcased the power of blueberries in pie. Amateur baker Rhona Hull from Little Rock, Arkansas took first place in the blueberry category, one of six amateur awards she earned this year.
Her award-winning recipe, known as “I’m So Blueberry,” is a cheesecake base with blueberry filling and topped with a choice of whipped cream or pre-baked pie crust cutouts. Hull said her legacy of pie making is being carried on through her sons and grandchildren. “All of my children help their children learn to bake,” she said.
Meanwhile, the professionals also proved their pie mastery during the competition. Lisa Sparks, of Lisa’s Pie Shop in Indiana, came out on top of those submitted in the professional division with her “Razzle up Your Blue Ball” pie recipe. It is cheesecake-based and consists of layers that includes raspberry compote, chocolate and almonds, blueberry cream cheese, and blueberry jam. The whole thing is then topped with fresh blueberries.
You can find both recipes below, and more pie recipes can be found at the American Pie Council’s website.
I'm So Blueberry Pie
by Rhonda Hull
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup well-chilled vegetable shortening
- 3 to 4 tablespoons ice cold water
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In medium size bowl, mix flour, salt and sugar. Cut shortening into flour mixture until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until all flour is moistened and a ball of dough can be formed. Add more water if necessary. Refrigerate dough until ready to roll. On a lightly floured surface roll dough from center outward into a circle 2-inches wider than pie plate. Carefully transfer dough to pie plate. Trim edges of dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Fold edge under. Flute dough as desired. Line crust with parchment paper and add pie weights. Par-bake crust about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- 1 – 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup Granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Add egg, beat well. Gently stir vanilla into batter; pour into cooled par-baked crust.
Bake 20 minutes or until almost set. Cover crust with foil if browning too quickly. Remove from oven to wire rack. Cool completely.
Blueberry Pie Filling
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups blueberries
- ¼ cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
In a medium heavy-duty pot, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt; add half of the blueberries and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until blueberry mixture thickens and turns a very dark purple; this will take several minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and butter. Gently fold in remaining blueberries. Let mixture cool to room temperature.
Carefully pour blueberry filling over cheesecake layer. Cover berry filling with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2-3 hours. Before serving decorate top of pie with whipped cream or pie crust cutouts that have been previously baked.
Razzle Up Your Blue Ball Pie
by Lisa Sparks
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 1 /3 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup chopped blanched almonds
In a stand mixer cream together sugar, butter, and vanilla until well blended. Next, gradually add in flour one cup at a time and nuts until evenly incorporated. Mixture should stick together enough to form a ball, press into large pie pan and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
- 6 cups blackberries
- 2 ½ cups sugar
- 1/3 cup raspberry gelatin
- 5 Tablespoons cornstarch
Mix together until berries are coated, proceed to cook on stove top until mixture cooks down and thickens. Remove from heat once compote begins to bubble rapidly. Set aside to cool.
- 8 oz. softened cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 6 Tablespoons of the above cooled raspberry compote
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream
In a stand mixer blend together cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Add in 6 Tablespoons of the raspberry compote, mix again until well blended. Divide this mixture in half. In a stand mixer again, beat the heavy cream until fluffy – add in half of filling one to the heavy cream gently folding until well incorporated. Spread this onto cooled crust, set aside and chill.
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- 6 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup blanched almonds
Melt butter with heavy cream in a double boiler until butter is dissolved and it begins to bubble. Immediately add in white chocolate chips and stir until melted, add in ½ cup blanched almonds. Set aside to cool. In a stand mixer whip 1 cup of heavy cream until fluffy, gently fold in white chocolate-almond ganache and spread over first layer. Place fresh halved raspberries over this and set aside to chill in fridge.
- ½ of reserved layer 1
- ½ of remaining raspberry compote
Mix the reserved half of the first layer with half of your remaining raspberry compote until well blended. Spread over layer 2. Lastly spread the remaining raspberry compote over layer 3.
- 1 Philadelphia blueberry cream cheese
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons blueberry jam (homemade or store bought)
- 1 cup heavy cream
Blend together Philadelphia blueberry cream cheese and powdered sugar until well incorporated. Add blueberry jam and mix together well. Whip heavy cream in another stand mixer until fluffy, gently fold in blueberry mixture, divide in half, and spread over layer 3 saving half of mixture for later. Top with fresh blueberries.
- 1 ½ cup heavy cream
- Half of reserved mixture
- 3 Tablespoons of blueberry jam
Whip heavy cream until fluffy, add in and gently fold your reserved half of layer 4 mixture. Mix in blueberry jam until well incorporated and spread over layer 4. Spread the rest of the blueberry jam over the top of the pie and decorate as desired. Chill before serving.