Goodbye To Blueberry Pie, Hello Blueberry Mess

The food: Blueberry (Mess) Pie

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The story:

The 2009 Tony Award nominations were announced recently, which made me think about all things Broadway, and how my favourite musical has to be Gypsy. I grew up listening to Ethel Merman belt out the songs on the original cast recording and I’ve seen the show several times on Broadway over the years. I’ve seen the Mama Rose role played by Tyne Daly, Linda Lavin, Bernadette Peters, and most recently and brilliantly, in my view, by Patti Lupone. Watch her bring the house down performing Everything’s Coming Up Roses at the 2008 Tony Awards here:

In honour of Gypsy and the song Some People (and because I had some blueberries in the freezer), I decided to make a blueberry pie by adapting an easy and delicious raspberry pie recipe my sister’s friend Tiffany gave me several years ago, a recipe that’s a part of my regular repertoire.

I thawed the berries, then mixed in sugar, a little flour and some lemon zest.

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Next, I poured the mixture into a Loblaws No Name brand frozen pie crust shell – I know, I was skeptical too, at first, when my sister and Tiffany recommended that variety to me, but for sweet pies especially, I find the No Name brand has an appealing shortbreadish texture. After filling the bottom crust, I cut half of the the top crust into some comically inept-looking lattice strips, laid them down over top the berries, and bunged the pie in the oven.

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It came out looking pretty good, I thought.

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But when I cut it open, there was lots of blueberry juice, as in too much, as in blueberry soup. I had to spoon out about ½ c. of liquid from the pie plate before I could cut the slice shown above, put it on a plate and pretend it wasn’t totally oozy.

The thing was, though, that when I ate a soggy, juicy slice pile of pie dolloped with some vanilla yogurt, the combination, juice and all, tasted way better than when I suctioned off the liquid and tried a drier piece. So goodbye to blueberry pie, hello blueberry mess.

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Blueberry (Mess) Pie

1 1 lb./600 gram bag of frozen blueberries (such as the Europe’s Best brand)
1 c. sugar
4. Tbsp flour
Zest of 1 lemon
2 8” Pie Crust Shells, made fresh, or frozen

1. Thaw blueberries in bowl. When almost thawed, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. For a drier pie, drain off juice from thawed berries into a smaller bowl and use as sauce for the finished pie later. For a juicier pie, keep juice with berries. Either way, when berries are thawed, add sugar, flour and lemon zest to them. Stir briefly to incorporate ingredients.
2. Pour berry mixture into prepared bottom crust.
3. Lay top crust on cutting board. Cut half of it into ½ inch wide strips. (Reserve remaining half for another use.) Lay cut strips across berry mixture in facsimile of lattice pattern. Press end of strips into fluted edge of bottom pie shell.
4. Put pie, on cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, in middle rack of oven. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.
5. Bake about 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown at edges and filling looks slightly thickened.
6. Let cool before cutting open.
7. Scoop “pieces” of pie and juice onto plate. Top with vanilla yogurt. Drizzle yogurt with reserved juice from step 2 if you did that in step 2.
8. Sing like Ethel Merman. Or Patti Lupone, if you can.

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