'Old-fashioned,' true-blue filling

Cooking 101

July 05, 2006|By KATE SHATZKIN | KATE SHATZKIN,SUN REPORTER

July's blueberries are so wonderful, so abundant that they can inspire even the most dough-phobic among us to tackle a double-crust pie. In a previous tutorial, we talked about the basic rules of pie pastry. Here, we address the nearly foolproof filling that fresh blueberries offer.

Faith Kling, a pastry instructor at Baltimore International College, calls this the "old-fashioned" method of filling a pie, but it suits our modern purposes just fine. Blueberries are tossed with sugar, cornstarch, salt, spices and lemon juice, and put straight into the prepared bottom crust. Dots of butter smooth the filling and add flavor.

You can substitute black raspberries for the blueberries in this filling, Kling says. Just stay away from those pretty lattice crusts -- the juicy blueberries could overflow. Instead, a few well-placed snips of the kitchen shears on the top crust can create a decorative pattern that also vents the pie.

kate.shatzkin@baltsun.com

QUICK, FRESH BLUEBERRY-PIE FILLING

SERVES 8 TO 10 IN ONE DOUBLE-CRUST PIE

2 pounds fresh blueberries

1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar (6.5 ounces)

2 tablespoons plus 1 / 2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 / 4 teaspoon salt

3 / 4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 / 8 teaspoon grated or powdered nutmeg

2-1 / 2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter, cut in pieces

Wash berries and remove stems. Place them in a bowl and add sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; toss by hand. Add lemon juice and stir. Pour into prepared piecrust; dot with butter and bake according to recipe.

Adapted from "Professional Baking, Third Edition," by Wayne Gisslen

Per serving (based on 10 servings): 141 calories, 1 gram protein, 1 gram fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 67 milligrams sodium

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

STEP 1: Place the bottom crust of the pie into a tin or pan by rolling it loosely over a rolling pin, then unrolling the crust over the pan. Gently pat it into place, taking care not to stretch the dough.

STEP 2: Sugar the berries, then add cornstarch, salt and spices. Toss gently by hand, then add lemon juice and stir.

STEP 3: Spread filling over bottom piecrust. Dot evenly with butter.

STEP 4: Carefully roll or place top crust over the filling, leaving a large overhang. Tuck top crust under the bottom crust to prevent leaks. Squeeze crusts together, then squeeze them again, straight down, to form a ridge. Crimp edges, with fingers working against each other or in a V-shape. Then pinch the edges of the "Vs" together.

STEP 5: Snip slits in a pattern in the center of the top crust to vent the pie. Brush with an egg wash (avoid the crimped edges) and sprinkle with sugar before baking.

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