This pie with freshly picked berries was inspired by my childhood. Ever since I was a baby, my family would wake up at the crack of dawn on the first Saturday after the 4th of July. We would drive to Blueberry Hill farm and pick bucket loads of berries before the morning dew had time to evaporate. As an infant, I would be strapped to my mom or dad’s back as they picked the blueberries.
This cherished family pastime continued through my middle school and high school years. My sister and I would have epic competitions to see who could stuff more blueberries in their mouth at a time. We wouldn’t need to eat until dinner, because our bellies would be bursting with berries! As I’ve grown older, I am a little more refined in my blueberry intake. For instance, I baked this delicious pie with freshly picked berries! Do I still see how many blueberries I can fit in my mouth at once? Maybe. 😝
Picking Your Own Berries
Unfortunately, massive building developments encroached on our beloved Blueberry Hill and it’s been permanently closed. My fiancé and I now go annually to Hoffman Farm Store, which is an adorable U-Pick just 15 minutes from our home in a picturesque farming valley. They have a wide variety of berries to pick, including raspberries, blackberries, tayberries, marionberries, strawberries, and of course, blueberries.
The act of picking blueberries brings back memories of childhood and quality family time. It’s a tradition I plan to pass down to my own kids someday. We’ll forgo the whole waking up before the sun wakes up part though. Taking a small active part in where your food comes from is unmeasurably rewarding. And it instills a gratitude for all the folks in the world who spend their working days out in the fields, growing and harvesting the food we so easily take for granted on the grocery store shelves.
What to Do With All Those Berries!?
When we come home from berry picking, the first thing we do is start washing and drying all the berries. We rinse scoops of blueberries in a colander, then spread them out on paper towel-lined baking trays to dry for a few hours. For the majority of our berries, they get poured into ziplock bags and stored in the freezer to enjoy through the rest of the year. But nothing beats freshly-picked berries. My favorite way to eat them is of course, by the handful on their own. Fresh blueberries are also great on oatmeal, topped on pancakes, and baked into a delicious homemade pie with freshly picked berries. 💙
Blueberry Lattice Crust Pie
I’ve been wanting to try to make a lattice pie crust for ages. In fact, it’s been on my 2021 kitchen bucket list since January, along with French macarons, cookies decorated with royal icing, and homemade pop tarts! The recipe for the pie crust that I followed is from the pie queen herself, Erin Jean McDowell. I tried to do an extra fancy braid of pie crust on one strand of the lattice. But the pie dough kept falling apart… I think my apartment in the middle of summer with no AC was too hot. Unfortunately, the butter in the dough melted before I got it in the oven. It still tasted delicious though and I think it looked alright for my first attempt. 🥧
How to Make a Lattice Crust
I found it extremely helpful to watch a few video tutorials of how to make a lattice pie crust before I attempted my own. It can be daunting and intimidating because there’s a lot of factors at play. The crust needs to be kept as cool as possible so the butter doesn’t melt. If the butter melts, it won’t create steam when it hits the hot oven to create flaky pie crust. And if the butter gets too soft, the pie crust gets sticky and nearly impossible to work with.
I was definitely sweating a bit while making this pie crust, in part because it was so hot, but also because I was so nervous to make this pie right! So it’s also helpful to have a bowl of ice water and a towel nearby, in case your hands get too warm. You can cool your hands in the ice water, then dry them, so you don’t melt the butter in the crust. Also returning the pie crust wrapped in plastic cling wrap to the fridge whenever it gets soft helps prevent the butter from melting as well.
Overall, I’m really happy with the end result of my first attempt at a lattice pie crust! If your pie with freshly picked berries happens to turn out a little wonky, just cover each pie slice with vanilla ice cream. Nobody will ever know. 😉
Pie with Freshly Picked Blueberries
All Buttah Pie Dough (Doubled recipe from Erin Jean McDowell)
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled in the fridge
- ½ cup ice water (or more if needed)
Blueberry Pie Filing
- 6 cups fresh (washed & dried) blueberries
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup cornstarch
Prepare the Pie Dough (I prepared a double batch of the recipe, in order to create both the bottom pie crust and the top lattice crust. If you don't want a top crust, just use half of the ingredients listed above.)
- Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the cold cubed butter and toss in the flour to coat it. Squeeze each cube of butter between your fingers to smoosh it out into half-walnut-sized pieces.
- Add a few tablespoons of water at a time and mix the dough by hand until it just comes together. When you squeeze the dough in your hand, it should mostly hold its shape and not crumble.
- Shape the dough into two discs and wrap them in plastic cling wrap. Chill the dough in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Lightly flour a clean work surface. Roll out one of the discs of the pie dough. You can use the dish you'll be baking the pie dough in as a reference guide to know how big to roll out the dough. You'll want the dough big enough to line the bottom, sides and hang over the sides just a bit.
- Transfer the pie dough into a greased 9-inch round baking dish by rolling the dough onto a rolling pin, the rolling it back out right into your baking dish. Gently press down on the bottoms and edges to ensure the dough is snugly fit in the baking dish. Trim off any excess dough that hangs over the edge.
- Wrap the dough (now in the baking dish) in plastic cling wrap and chill again in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare the Pie Filling & Create the Lattice Top
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the fresh blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest, cinnamon and cornstarch.
- Pour the blueberry filling mixture into the prepare pie dough.
- Roll out the other disc of the pie dough. You may only need to use about half of this disc. Cut eight straight strips that are about one-inch thick. Place four strips parallel to each other, evenly spaced out, across the top of the pie, hanging over the edges. Fold back every-other strip to the halfway point of the pie. Lay one strip of pie dough perpendicular to the other four, placed a little closer than halfway across the pie. Place the two folded strips of pie dough back down to lay flat. Your perpendicular pie dough strand should now go under two strips and over two strips of pie dough.Repeat with the other strands, pulling back the two strips that were not pulled back before, to create a lattice pattern. See the photo above for reference. Crimp around the top edges of the pie with a fork.
- Wrap the pie in plastic cling wrap once more and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, while the oven preheats.
Bake the Blueberry Pie
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.Remove the pie from the fridge and immediately transfer it to the hot oven. Bake the pie until the berries are bubbling and the pie crust is deep golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes.
- Let it cool to room temperature (an hour or more) before slicing into the pie. Serve on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for pie à la mode!