Ode To The Blueberry: A Pie & A Poem
When the weather warms every spring and summer looms on the horizon, I find myself anxiously awaiting the bounty of the season. Since I was a little girl, blueberries have been my favorite fruit (whether that opinion stemmed from my obsession with Robert McCloskey’s Caldecott-awarded, Blueberries for Sal, or my genuine love for their taste and texture, I’ll never know.) With blueberry season just around the corner, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite recipes for blueberry pie — and a poem as well by Diane Lockward. The recipe was given to me by a dear family friend who happens to be a fabulous baker, among other things. Aside from being an antioxidant-rich dessert and a major crowd pleaser, it’s also super simple to prepare. For this reason, I often make it for last minute dinner parties after long days in the sun around our pool. My dad loves this pie so much that it’s become a birthday cake of sorts for him as we celebrate his anniversaire every July. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
SWEET LAURIE’S BLUEBERRY PIE:
¼ cup plus 4 cups of fresh, organic blueberries
¼ cup plus ½ cup sugar
7-½ teaspoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup cold water
7-½ teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon-flavored gelatin powder
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 9-inch pie crust, baked and cooked
Sweetened Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream
Puree ¼ cup of the blueberries, ¼ cup of sugar, the cornstarch, salt, water and lemon juice in a blender of food processor. Transfer to a heavy saucepan and cook over moderate heat until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Then, sprinkle the gelatin powder over the hot mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the remaining ½ cup of sugar. Add butter and stir until it melts. Fold in remaining 4 cups of blueberries and pour into a prepared pie crust. Refrigerate 3-4 hours to let it set and serve with whipped cream or a side of ice cream.
By Diane Lockward
Deep-blue hue of the body, silvery bloom
on its skin. Undersized runt of a fruit,
like something that failed to thrive, dented top
a fontanel. Lopsided globe. A temperate zone.
Tiny paradox, tart and sweet, homely
but elegant afloat in sugar and cream,
baked in a pie, a cobbler, a muffin.
The power of blue. Number one antioxidant fruit,
bantam-weight champ in the fight against
urinary tract infections, best supporting actor
in a fruit salad. No peeling, coring or cutting.
Lay them out on a counter, strands of blue pearls.
Pop one at a time, like M&M’s, into your mouth.
Be a glutton and stuff in a handful, your tongue,
lips, chin dyed blue, as if feasting on indigo.
Fruit of the state of New Jersey.
Favorite fruit of my mother.
Sundays she scooped them into pancake batter,
poured circles onto the hot greased griddle, sizzled
them gold and blue, doused with maple syrup.
This is what I want to remember: my mother
and me, our quilted robes, hair in curlers,
that kitchen, that table,
plates stacked with pancakes, blueberries sparkling
like gemstones, blue stars in a gold sky,
the universe in reverse,
the two of us eating blueberry pancakes.
(Can you handle these last 7 lines?? Beautiful writing.)