Suzi's Blog

Blueberry Crumb Pie with Warm Blueberry Sauce from Carole Walter


The 4th of July approaches. Dessert is needed. There is nothing more American than blueberry pie on the 4th of July. For this treat, which we tested last weekend, Suzen turned to Great Pies and Tarts by Carole Walter. Carole is a friend, a wonderful author, and truly an American treasure. If you have not encountered one of her recipes before, then here is the place to start.

Now, about Carole. She is charming and lovely. And detailed. And very detailed. Don’t let this recipe frighten you. There are a lot of steps and your hand is being held every micro-step along the way. That’s Carole being a perfectionist. What’s going to happen when you follow these instructions? You’ll have the best fruit pie of your life.

This recipe calls for 6-7 cups of blueberries. Suzi actually made an 80-20 mixture of blueberries and perfectly ripe plums. Suzen beamed at the results, which she pronounced to be “pie perfect.”

Carole would be proud.

Oh, several of the steps here call for using aluminum foil. In fact, this recipe has more aluminum in it than any I have ever seen. Don’t worry. You’re not eating the foil and it can be recycled. It’s very necessary and very important to use the foil as directed to protect the pie and your oven.


Blueberry Crumb Pie with Warm Blueberry Sauce

Yield: serves 6 to 8



  • Your favorite Flaky Pie Pastry [Carol has two on pages 98 and 100 of Great Pies and Tarts, which is another good reason to buy her book!]
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon water


  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup water
  • 6-7 cups blueberries, washed and dried
  • 1 tablespoon instant tapioca
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 6 limes

Streusel Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid

Warm Blueberry Sauce:

  • Reserved syrup from filling
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons crème de cassis or Kirschwater
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


The Crust:

Preheat the oven to 400⁰ F. Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Butter a 9-inch ovenproof glass pie plate.

On a floured pastry cloth, roll the pastry into a circle measuring approximately 13 inches in diameter. Fit loosely into the pie plate. Trip the edge with scissors, leaving 1-inch overhand. Fold over and flute or crimp the edge. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg white and water. Brush the dough with a thin layer of egg white to seal the surface.

The Filling:

Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large skillet. Stir in the water. Add the blueberries and stir gently. Bring to a slow boil, then cook over low heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, for about 5 minutes, or just until the mixture thickens. Avoid mashing the blueberries. Be careful not to overcook them.

Using a slotted spoon, empty the blueberries into a large shallow container about 1/3 at a time, sprinkling each layer with tapioca. Let stand for 15 minutes to soften the tapioca. Reserve the syrup for the blueberry sauce. Empty the filling into the pie plate. Dot with lemon and sprinkling with lemon juice.

The Streusel Crumb Topping:

Combine the flour, walnuts, sugars, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add to the cooled melted butter and toss with a fork to make crumbs. Take a clump of the crumb mixture in your hand and squeeze gently to form a larger clump. Then break the large clump apart over the blueberry filling. Repeat using all of the crumbs. Do not press the crumbs into the filling.

To prevent the edges from burning, make aluminum foil bands. Cut two 3-inch-wide strips of 18-inch heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fold 1 inch of each strip to the center, making a double thickness of foil. Mold the foil around edge of the pie, keeping the double fold on top of the dough. Be careful not to crush the edge of pasty. Secure the bands with tape.

Make an aluminum foil drop pan to place on the rack below the pie halfway through the baking. Cut an 18-inch square of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fold each edge twice [about 1 inch per fold] standing the folding edge upright to form a 4-sided pan.

To prevent the crumbs from overbrowning, cove the pie loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil.

Bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil bands the foil form the top and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bottom crust and crumbs are golden brown. Cool on a rack for 4 hours before cutting. Serve with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt and Warm Blueberry Sauce

Warm Blueberry Sauce:

Place the reserved blueberry syrup and water in a medium, heavy saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly. Off the heat, stir in the cassis, then return to the boil, and cook for 30 seconds longer. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more water. Stir in the lemon juice and empty into a container. This sauce can be made ahead and reheated as needed.

Source: Great Pies and Tarts by Carole Walter

Photo Credits: Canon T2i, 18-55mm lens at F/5.0, 1/60th and 1/60th and 1/80th seconds at ISO 1250, 3200, and 2000 respectively [no flash]



Jalapeno and Apple Pie


The calendar says that fall is two weeks away. The abundance in our farmers markets says that fall is here. All those apples. All those potential pies. I blogged this pie two years ago. I’m doing it again.

We went to a party this weekend where our gracious hostess invited people to bring dessert, specifically pie. Her Labor Day party is famous for ending with the delicacies that 50 guests have brought.

Suzen and I had a discussion about what to bring. Not that either of us is competitive, but …

“My Coconut Cream Pie is the best I have ever tasted. We are doing it,” I said.


“It’s the best, Suzen.”


“We need something new.”


“We’ve done this before,” I gave it a last shot.

“Yes, and people rave.”

This is Suzi’s favorite apple pie, hell, favorite pie period. It is, in a word, spectacular. One of the ingredients is jalapeno jelly, which gives you remarkably leeway. We have used a very hot, brown-colored jelly in the past. This time, we went for color, using a deep green jelly from our local “chain” market, Adams Fair Acre.

You can depend on one thing. The jelly you use, the amount of pickled jalapeno peppers, and their sweetness, will make your pie distinctively different.

So, with fall here. With apple around you. Here is the apple pie you want to try. I will warn you: addiction is possible.

The photos above show you the pie before baking, after the streusel is on, and then at the end. Ah, we topped this pie off with some jalapeno jack cheese for one more layer of heat.


Apple and Jalapeno Tailgate Pie

Yield: 1 Pie


The Crust:

  • 1 Recipe Best Butter Pie Pastry, Refrigerated [recipe follows]

The Pie Filling:

  • 8 Cups peeled, cored and sliced Granny Smith or other tart, juicy apples
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ Cup jalapeno jelly, stirred to loosen
  • ¼ Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeno peppers [optional, check  the intensity of you jelly first]

The Cornmeal Streusel Topping:

  • ¾ Cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ Cup fine yellow cornmeal
  • ¾Cup sugar
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Cup (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut in ¼-inch pieces


If you haven’t already, prepare the pastry and refrigerate it until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the pasty into a 13 ¼-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Invert the pastry over a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Center it, then peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry down into the pan, without stretching it, and sculpt the edge into an upstanding ridge. Place the pie shell in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

To make the filling, mix the apples, sugar, and lemon juice together in a large mixing bowl. Add the jalapeno jelly and mix again. Stir in the cinnamon and flour. Mix in the jalapeno peppers, if using. Set the filling aside for 10 minutes.

Heat oven to 400° F.

Turn the filling into the frozen pie shell. Smooth the filling with your hands to even it out. Place the pie on a large dark baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and bake on the center oven rack for 30 minutes.

While the pie backs, make the toping. Put the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt n a food processor and pulse several times to mix.  Remove the lid and scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients. Pulse the machine repeatedly, until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Empty the crumbs into a large mixing bowl and rub them between your fingers to make large, buttery crumbs. Refrigerate.

After 30 minutes, remove the pie from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° F. Carefully dump the crumbs in the center of the pie, spreading them evenly over the surface with your hands. Tamp them down lightly. Put the pie on the baking sheet back in the oven and bake until the juices bubble thickly around the edge, an additional 30 minutes. Loosely cover the pie with tented aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes of backing if the top starts to get too brown.

Transfer the pie to a cool rack and let cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Best Butter Pie Pastry

Yield: 1 9” Pie Shell


  • 1 ¾ Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ½ Cup (1 stick) butter cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼- inch pieces
  • 1 Large egg yolk
  • 3Tablespoons cold water


Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to mix. Remove the lid and scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients. Pulse the machine repeatedly — 6 or 7 one-second bursts — until the butter is broken in a very small pieces.

Place the egg yolk in a 1-cup glass measure and add just enough of the water to equal ¼ cup liquid. Using a fork, blend the water and yolk. Remove the lid of the processor and pour the liquid over the entire surface of the dry ingredients. Don’t, in other words, pour it into one spot. Pulse the machine again, in short bursts, until the pastry starts to form large clumps. Don’t over process, or the butter will start to melt rather than stay in small pieces. Tear off a sheet of plastic wrap about 14 inches long and place it nearly.

Empty the crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, pack the dough as you would a snowball. Knead the dough 2 to 3 times, right in the bowl. Put the dough in the center of the plastic wrap and flatten it into a disk about ¾ inch thick. The edges will probably crack slightly; just pinch and mold them back into a smooth disk. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 1 hour.

To mix by hand: combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and cut them in, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the butter is broken into very fine pieces; the mixture will not be quite as fine as with the processor. Blend the yolk and water as directed above. Sprinkle about half of the liquid over the flour, mixing it in with a fork. Life the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl and press down on the down stroke. Add the remaining liquid a little at a time until the dough coheres. You may need to 1 to 2 teaspoons more water.


Source: Apple Pie Perfect by Ken Haedrich