This is a very simple and classic Blueberry soft-fruit pie recipe, with a simple and delicious whipped cream topping, yet it is utterly scrumdiddlyumptious, to coin a phrase. A classic farmhouse pie with deep flavours which pushes all the right buttons, (a light and crisp pastry with a balanced sweet/tart filling and a summery cream) and which somehow seems right served as a dessert at a family gathering meal.
We recommend making four or five of these pies up at once, especially when blueberries are locally in season – these fruit pies freeze very well, for up to four months when packed well, and so it is handy to have a few extra in the deep freeze storage for when something ‘nice and comforting’ for dessert is needed at the last minute.
Arrowroot: Arrowroot is a natural ingredient from plant tubers and is used in this pie as a classic and natural thickener for the fruit sauce in the pie – it was often used in times past to make clear, shimmering fruit gels and to prevent ice crystals from forming in home-made ice cream, as well as being used as a thickener by the Victorians in the 1800s – today many people use a cornstarch or gelatine thickener instead. Why we should use it more often in our cooking: Arrowroot thickens at a lower temperature than does flour or cornstarch, it is not weakened by acidic ingredients, it has a more neutral taste, and it is not affected by freezing.
Blueberry Pie With Lavender Cream Recipe
For the pastry
- 400g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 200g butter, softened
- 150g caster sugar, (plus extra for dusting)
- 4 tbsp cold water
- 2 eggs, beaten for a glaze
For the pie
- 600g blueberries
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp arrowroot – mixed to a paste with 2 tbsp water
- 4 tbsp cold water
For the cream
- 300ml whipping cream
- 2 tbsp icing (powdered) sugar
- 1 tsp crushed dried lavender buds (buy them or dry your own – see below)
Drying Lavender Buds: lavender buds are very often used in creams, ice-creams, jams and preserves, they have a lovely smell and a light flavour when used sparingly, but the taste can be overpowering if used as an ingredient with a heavy hand. If you have a lavender bush collect all the sweet, little (unopened) flower buds when they come out – pick them on a warm day after several dry days in a row.
Put the buds, scattered out, on a plastic tray and place the tray in a very dark, almost pitch black place which is warm (26C and above) and well ventilated. After 9 days the lavender buds should be paper dry and fragile, store them in an air-tight container where little light can penetrate.
Making the Blueberry Pie:
The pastry: In a large mixing bowl sieve in the flour, sprinkle in the sea salt and rub in the softened butter. The flour and butter should resemble fine breadcrumbs once rubbed in with your fingers.
Into the flour stir in the caster sugar and bind together with about 4 tablespoons of water to make a soft, pliable pastry dough. Gently knead this in your hands for a minute or so to make it smooth and fully mixed in. Wrap it in some cling film and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
After 30 minutes pinch off a third of the pastry and reserve for later (as the pie lid or crust).
Lightly grease with butter a pie dish or tin (20cm x 5cm)
Roll out the two-thirds of the pastry on a lightly floured work surface (just under 1cm thick) and cut out a round disc in the pastry, enough to cover the base of a pie dish or pie tin – 5cm deep by 20cm wide. Work the pastry into the base of the tin so that it fits fully and comes up to hang just over the sides of the pie tin, trim off any excess pastry around the rim. Put this back in the fridge to chill.
The pie filling: take half of the blueberries (3oog) and reserve them for later – and take half of the blueberries and place them in a thick bottomed saucepan with 4 tablespoons of water. Bring this slowly up to the boil, stirring, and simmer for 5 minutes until the fruit is soft and breaking down. Turn off the heat and use the back of the spoon, fork or even a potato masher to mash the fruit down to a pulp.
Strain this fruit pulp through a fine meshed sieve into a mixing bowl, to remove all of the ‘bits’ and make a smooth puree. Make sure you push as much of the fruit and juices through the sieve as possible.
Clean the saucepan out and then return it to a medium heat and add in the blueberry fruit puree with the caster sugar to dissolve the sugar. In a small cup mix the arrowroot into a paste with a little water, then stir this into the fruit and sugar. Stir the arrowroot in and bring the sweetened fruit puree up to the boil, stir constantly at a simmer until the mixture thickens. Once thickened remove from the heat and stir in the reserved whole blueberries (300g). Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200C
Into the chilled pastry base in the pie dish spoon the cooled fruit puree and whole fruit filling. Roll out the remaining third of the pastry into a round pie lid or pie crust. Brush a little beaten egg all around the pastry edges of the rim of the pie base and around the edges of the pie lid.
Set the pie lid on the top and use the back of the fork prongs to crimp and seal the edges of the pie base and pie lid together. Make two small slits in the centre of the pie lid for steam vents and brush the top over with some beaten egg and sprinkle over a little extra caster sugar. Place the blueberry pie on a baking sheet or tray.
Bake the blueberry pie in the oven at 200C for 45 minutes. After 35 minutes remove the pie from the oven, brush over a little more beaten egg and re-dust with a little more caster sugar. Put the pie back in the oven for the remaining 10 minutes. Once baked golden brown remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool.
To make the lavender cream: In a mixing bowl pour in the whipping cream and whisk until it just starts ‘peaking’ i.e. the cream starts to stand and hold in strands when drawn up with a spoon. Sieve over this cream the icing (powdered) sugar and sprinkle in the crushed dried lavender buds. Using a folding motion fold in the sugar and lavender until mixed, store the bowl in the fridge until needed.
Serve slices of the Blueberry Pie warm with a scoop of Lavender Cream.
If freezing the Blueberry Pies bake them in a pie dish which is also freezer-proof, allow them to cool completely, wrap them in cling film then in tin foil. They will last 4 months frozen. De-frost in the fridge overnight for at least 16 hours and serve either at room temperature or reheat in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes.