Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blue Ribbon Blueberry Pie & a Pie Bird

Cooling on the rack!

I've had a bee in my bonnet since last September, when I entered a pie contest and didn't win anything!  Some of you may remember that post And the Biggest Looser Is.  Then, my sweet friend Susan at From Beyond My Kitchen Window told me about a recipe she found in Yankee Magazine, and she gave me the magazine with the recipe!

Thus my quest for the perfect pies began. So, about a month ago I made this wild Maine blueberry pie for the first time - when I tell you it's "lick your plate amazing" I'm telling you the truth! I served it to my Maine friends and all they could say was "ohhhhh" &"ahhhhh" & "mmmmm" ~ that's a Five Star review if you ask me!!!

Then for Valentine's Day, my wonderful husband gave me a pie cookbook, How to Build a Better Pie and I'm looking forward to making a few pies from that book! Wait until you see what I've got planned next!

In the mean time, I hope you enjoy this pie from Yankee Magazine! The recipe is from Mary Blenk. Mary didn't win her first contest either, but she kept trying. She's 56 years old now, with 92 ribbons and many trophies to show for her culinary efforts. I'd call her an expert!  I'm serving Mary's pie for dessert tonight! It's cooling on the rack right now!

Ready for the oven!

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Start to Finish Time: 1.25 hours

Yield: 1 double-crust pie

  • dough for a 9-inch, 2-crust pie: 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface and crust bottom 
  • 1/4 cup cake flour 
  • 1 teaspoon table salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1/3 cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening 
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon regular(unflavored) vegetable shortening 
  • 5-7 tablespoons ice water, divided 
  • Granulated sugar (for crust bottom) 

Preheat oven to 400°. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flours with salt and baking powder. Add butter-flavored shortening; use a pastry blender to work it in until the mixture has the consistency of fine meal. Add regular shortening, and blend until mixture looks like wet sand with pea-sized bits of shortening (Mary says this will make the crust flakier).

Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time. Toss with a fork until dough starts to form a ball. Turn dough onto floured counter, and knead three times, until smooth. Divide dough into two balls, one slightly larger than the other.

On a floured surface, roll out larger ball to a 13-inch circle and transfer into a 9-inch glass pie plate. Dust bottom of crust with a bit of sugar and flour. Trim any excess dough that is draping over the edges of the pie plate, and set aside.

  • 1/2-1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon light-brown sugar 
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon Minute Tapioca mix 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
  • 4 cups Maine wild blueberries (preferably frozen) 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice 
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter 
In a separate mixing bowl, prepare the filling. Whisk together sugars, flour, tapioca, and spices. Toss berries in dry mixture. Pour berries gradually into crust, holding back flour mixture with a big spoon. When the coated berries fill the bottom, pour the rest of the dry mixture on top of berries. Drizzle lemon juice over berries; dot with butter.

Roll out top crust to a 10-inch circle and set atop pie. Fold bottom crust up over top crust; crimp to seal. Cut slits in the top. Use leftover dough to make berries and leaves to decorate the top. Bake 40-45 minutes for fresh berries, 5-10 minutes longer if you're using frozen, until juices bubble up out of the vents.

Now, if you're short on time and can't or don't want to make the crust - don't!  Just buy refrigerated pie crust and skip down to the "Filling" instructions to make your delicious pie!

Pie Birds
Pie birds were used to prevent pie filling from boiling up and leaking through the crust by allowing steam to escape from inside the pie. I've read they originated in Europe, and I've also read that they were invented by the Shakers.  Whoever invented them, all I can say is "they work."


  1. oh boy, blueberry pie is my absolutely favorite!

  2. Oh my gosh, Maine Blueberries are the best! And I love love love your little pie bird!

  3. Mmmm ... blueberry pie! I love pie birds!

  4. I have just had a conversation about desserts lately give me a pie any day over a cake while I like them both I think that a pie is my favorite and blueberry is the best. My grandparents had hills of wild blueberry so there were many pies in my past.

  5. Hi there, This does look amazing-in fact, our entire family is going away to the mountains next weekend so maybe I'll make it. Of course, there will be substitutions because I'm gluten free but I'm sure it will be incredible.
    Thanks for sharing; have a great weekend.

  6. So thoroughly 'all-American' I cannot fault it. I must save this recipe for a later date. This is simply divine x

  7. Blueberry pie is my very favorite kind of pie. I think the addition of tapioca sounds interesting as a thickener. Did you use Wyman's frozen wild blueberries? I love them! And I must be shopping for a pie bird, too. I've read such rave reviews.

  8. Your crust is beautiful!
    I have never used a pie bird but there are people who collect them like crazy!
    I need to work on my chocolate meringue pie (southerners' favorite, usually)

  9. I love your pie bird! Blueberry pie is one of my favorites, but I'm not so good at making crust. I need to try your recipe. :)

  10. Oh boy, was is at amazing as it looks?

  11. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving a lovely comment ! My back ground is British and as soon as I saw that delish pie with the bird in the middle it reminded me of the old British rhyme Sing a Song of Sixpence The birds they used in Europe were black in the pies to help vent steam as it backed as to prevent the pie from being to wet .Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
    Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
    When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
    Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?
    The king was in his counting house counting out his money,
    The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey
    The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
    When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose! Blueberry is my fave by the way lol ! Lovely blog am a new follower ! Have a good evening !

  12. This looks wonderful and I am sure you win all the prizes this year! I was given an antique black-pie-bird (to scared to use it, in case I break it!).
    Happy baking!

  13. what a great looking pie. pies are one of my most favorite things to make! cherry is my favorite but blueberry is a close 2nd.

  14. This looks so good and I LOVE the pie bird!

  15. Hi lovely lady.
    Your pie looks so Yummy with the bird in it.I hope you are doing well. It been a long time no comments from you and I do miss you. Come see me if you can !!!
    I hope you are having a wonderful weekend with your family.
    XXOO Diane

  16. I can't wait to try your new version. I can't imagine anything better than the old blueberry pie you use to make. Looks ribbon worthy to me.

  17. Some of the best pie makers I have know entered theirs in contests or State fairs and did not even place. There is no accounting for taste, so I glad you just keep motivating yourself to improve. I wish pie crust making was genetic because my Mom used to make the most flakey crusts and the bottom was never soggy. She used the recipie on the Crisco can. She tried to teach me & I never did manage to make a curst that was very good, so I stick to crisps & cobblers.I think pie crust making is an art, either you have the touch or you don't. My Mom did say that how well your crust turned out depended on the humidity. High humidity days are not good days for crust making. Trader Joes sells wonderful frozen organic wild blueberries and I have 2 bags out in the freezer along with their Gourmet pie crusts - your timing is perfect.

  18. I wish I had someone near me who was on a quest for the perfect pie - I'd willingly offer my services as a taster :-D
    Never knew about pie birds, but they are a very clever idea!

  19. Brilliant! Got a tons to learn from this post now my blueberry pie will never be the same again. Can't wait to try. Got my eye on your next posts.

  20. Blueberry pie is my all time favorite, Mary! I had a subscription to Yankee magazine but I gave it up when I moved and I sadly had to discard all the past issues I loved, so I'm so happy you've made this recipe! I never thought to add tapioca to a pie mic but I can see how it would make the filling less runny. I love your pretty white pie bird.

  21. What a beautiful down-to-earth blog. Keeping things simple....

  22. It looks amazing! And the pie bird is the perfect touch! I love these little guys!

  23. I love blueberry pie! We had wild Maine blueberries in our wedding cake (it never occured to me to serve blueberry pie....). And I have always had success with Yankee magazine recipes. So, I will try this recipe soon. I also recently got a pie bird (found at GW), and haven't tried it yet. You've inspired me!

  24. What a beautiful pie! I never get blueberry pie because my hubby doesn't like it but it's one of my favorites. I need that pie bird :)

  25. Sounds like a winner to me! I can't wait until we can enjoy blueberry pie without snow on the ground. :) Karen

  26. I've been having trouble on blogger with my comments not going through...hopefully this one will. Your pie looks like a real winner to me. Hopefully, we can eat blueberry pies without snow on the ground soon. Karen


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