Crafting Articles

The Kitchen Witch

Blueberry Pie


Nothing says summer more than blueberry pie! Whether you’re using fresh blueberries picked from your own patch or from a blueberry farm or blueberries bought at a farmer’s market or blueberries frozen from an earlier picking session, this is probably one of the quintessential pies of summertime. Perfect with vanilla ice cream, it’s a treat that everyone loves.

I have made blueberry pie several times in my life. Usually I just make my standard pie crust – the simple one I have memorized and have made hundreds of times – and simply mix fresh blueberries with sugar and flour and then bake until the crust is a lovely golden brown. It’s so easy and uncomplicated that I never found the need for a recipe. But recently, looking through my personal recipe notebook, I found a recipe for blueberry pie pulled out of some magazine – probably The Lady’s Home Journal – to which I had a subscription for many years – it was one of my favorite magazines. I especially loved the column “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” I never missed reading that! I was very sad when the magazine went under in 2014.

But this recipe might have been from some other magazine – I had subscriptions to several woman’s magazines back in the day – Better Homes and Gardens, McCall’s, Woman’s Day, as well as the fashion magazines I loved – Vogue, Elle and Bazaar – and of course I could have torn it out of a magazine at a doctor’s office or something – you never know. All I have is the page from the magazine and no other information. Nowadays I would have noted the source of the recipe but I didn’t bother with that kind of thing back then! Here it is:

When I read the recipe, I thought, well, this is different! First off, I have been making pie crust for well over forty years but I have never heard of adding an egg, much less vinegar to the pastry mix! I had lunch with my mother and my sister and I mentioned this and my mother said she had heard of adding vinegar but not an egg – of course, we all knew about egg-washes to make a pie crust look shiny. But this was something else – the egg was being added to the pastry mix itself.

Well – I’ll try anything – so I did.

Preheat your oven to 425?. If you’re like me, if you don’t do this before you start, you’ll have a pie ready to bake and a cold oven. So I always preheat the oven before I do anything at all.

The first part of making the pie crust was the same as usual – sifting the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and then cutting the shortening – I used cold butter – into the flour mixture.

After the shortening is properly cut in – it should look like small peas – then you want to add the liquid portion of the recipe. Usually, this is just very cold water. But here is where this recipe was different from what I usually did.

First I beat an egg in a small bowl. I whipped it up real frothy and nice.

Then I mixed in a tablespoon of white vinegar to the beaten egg in the bowl.

And then I added three tablespoons of very cold water. I usually put a bottle of spring water into the freezer before starting the pie crust to ensure that it’s cold enough.

This is what the egg-vinegar-water mixture looked like:

Slowly add this mixture to the flour-shortening mixture, blending it well with a fork, until the dough will hold together.

With your hands, form the dough into two balls.

On a floured surface, roll out the larger of the two balls into a pastry round that’s about 1 ½ inch larger than an upside-down 9-inch pie plate. Carefully guide the dough into the pie plate so that it’s evenly distributed.

I was using frozen blueberries, so I had previously thawed them and drained them.

I put the drained blueberries in a bowl. In the past, I would have just added sugar – or maybe some honey – for sweetening and a dusting of flour or corn starch to create a nice “gravy” before putting the berries into the prepared bottom crust. But again, the recipe told me to do something a little bit different – take another culinary path to deliciousness.

Not only was I going to be adding sugar for sweetness and flour for the gravy, but I was going to be adding lemon peel for zest and cinnamon for zing.

The blueberries before I mixed everything in. The smell of the freshly grated lemon peel and the cinnamon was fabulous!

After the berries were thoroughly mixed with the sugar, the flour and the seasoning, I poured them into the bottom crust.

I dotted the blueberries with pats of butter. It was a hot day so they were really soft and more like lumps of butter than pats.

Then I rolled out the top crust and covered the pie.

So here’s the fun part. I think this is what attracted me to this pie in the first place – the opening in the middle of the pie, so you can see those glistening blueberries surrounded by golden crust. I mean – that’s a county fair prize winner right there, amirite? And it’s wicked easy to do! Take your knife and if you’re a kitchen witch like I am, it’ll be one that you do ritual with as well as cutting up your fruits and vegetables! Make an X in the middle of the pie crust.

Now carefully fold back the triangles of the crust so that there is a square opening in the middle of the pie. Isn’t that cool?

The only thing left to do is sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar and then pop it into the oven and let it bake!

After 40 minutes or so – the blueberry filling should be bubbling and the crust should be golden – the pie will be done. It’ll smell like summertime!

And what’s a slice of blueberry pie without a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of it?


About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan but she gets along with a few of the masculine deities. She loves to cook and she is a Bills fan.

She blogs at She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.