When I was growing up, one of my favorite picture books was The Blueberry Pie Elf by Jane Thayer, a 1961 book that (I believe) originally belonged to my dad.
Therefore, I think it's fitting that my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner is my dad's "famous" blueberry pie. My dad contends that it's not really that special, but I'm definitely addicted. There was one Thanksgiving or Christmas when he wasn't going to make it, but despite being miles away at college, I used my steel-edge determination and I'm-your-only-daughter card to wear him down and force him to make at least one that year (all for me, of course).
I like to think my dad's blueberry pies were always the greatest because of the three mature blueberry bushes that we planted in our backyard in the early '90s. Or maybe it's his not-so-homemade crust. Or, maybe I just really like blueberry pie. Whatever it is, I'm spending this Thanksgiving with my family, and the one dish I'm looking forward to feasting on is this blueberry pie.
So while The Best Thing We Ate this week isn't a dish you can find at a Birmingham eatery, it's certainly something you can make in your Birmingham kitchen (or wherever you're spending the holidays). An extra bonus: Because blueberry pie isn't seasonal like pumpkin pie, you can enjoy this pie year-round. I just think the holidays make it special.
My dad's blueberry pie
Makes four pies. My dad halves the recipe to make two for our family celebrations.
- 12 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3 cups sugar
- ¾ cup cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
- ¾ cup lemon juice
Combine all the ingredients in a medium- to large-size saucepan and cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken. My dad doesn't have a ballpark time schedule for this, but advises you to "sit there, stir it and keep an eye on it" for however long it takes to thicken up.
Because my dad says he's awful at making pie crusts, he uses the Pillsbury brand to line the pie pan and then to cover the filling. Fill the pie pan almost to the rim with the sauce, then cover, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake the pie for 10 minutes in a 425-degree oven, then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes. When the outer edge of the crust turns brown, use a pie crust shield — or construct your own with aluminum foil — to cover the rim of the pie crust to prevent it from burning while the rest of the pie continues to bake.