Every week I am finding fresh local Oklahoma-grown produce in the markets. This week as I ventured into Matthew Burch's Urban Agrarian Market in Oklahoma City, I found Porter peaches and blueberries. It was an exciting Saturday morning with plenty of each to take home.
We love fresh fruit anytime of day, but to enjoy fresh blueberries and peaches with homemade granola and yogurt is a treat. With both available it is hard to decide which one I love the most. Better go for the blueberries now as like strawberry season in Oklahoma the season for blueberries is also a short one.
There are so many things to do with fresh blueberries. I love to stir them into muffins or make blueberry jam to perk up our toast and biscuits. They make fantastic pancakes oozing their deep dark juice inside the pancake. The heat from the griddle makes them burst with flavor just waiting to get out. It is hard not to enjoy them as fast as they come off the griddle.
Finding a pint
The ultimate treat for blueberries is a blueberry pie. You'll need about 6 cups to fill a 9-inch pie — that's 3 pints of berries. The local ones I found at Urban Agrarian came in pint containers not the single cup variety often found in supermarket selections. This week's Urban Agrarian selection came from Thunderbird Berry Farm near Broken Arrow.
Making a blueberry pie is easier than you might think. If you don't have a favorite pastry recipe, consider making one with dough from your grocer's freezer case. You will probably want enough for a double crust pie unless you wish to make a crumb topping.
We like the double crust for a blueberry pie as the filling is so intensely rich the pastry is needed to counter.
I partially pre-bake my piecrust and heat up the filling to make the perfect blueberry pie. This little extra step assures me the crust will be crisp underneath the filling. The filling will be thoroughly cooked and lightly thickened. For my Oklahoma Blueberry Pie, I baked the insert on a baking sheet and added it to the top of the pie as it came out of the oven.
I just wanted it to look picture perfect with a golden crust and yummy blueberry filling that would entice even the most reluctant pie eater — if there is such a thing. Once the piecrust is fitted into the baking dish or pan, I pop it into the freezer so that the edging or border of the crust holds its shape in the early stages of baking. This holds true for most any pie shell I make.
An egg yolk and water or cream wash helps achieve a golden finish to the crust. I find it easier to put on the rim of the crust before adding the filling. The same is true of crust that will top the pie. Roll out the crust and cut into strips for weaving across the pie.
Pace the strips of dough on a wax-paper covered baking sheet to weave or assemble as you plan to arrange them on top of the pie. Pop the baking sheet in the freezer to freeze the dough, bring it out and brush on the egg wash the sprinkle it with sugar if desired. Transfer the top to the filled pie for baking.
June is a great time to cook seasonally and locally. We are set to enjoy the bounty of it all yet to come: Vine-ripened tomatoes, green beans (got some last week), peaches, squash, melons and blackberries to name a few of the grown in Oklahoma produce ahead. I say bring it on and cut me a piece of that pie.
Sherrel's Blueberry Pie Filling
Pop this filling into your favorite pastry and bake till it is bubbly hot and the crust golden. It is enough for 1 (9-inch) pie.
6 to 7 cups fresh blueberries
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Sherrel's cooking notes: You may want to taste the filling and adjust the amount of sugar. We prefer filling less sweet to enjoy the natural sweetness in the berries.