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Tuesdays with Dorie: Double Crusted Blueberry Pie

In every culture, there are certain foods that just inherently represent home, family and love. We call them “comfort foods”. These are the foods that, no matter where you may be or how old you become, manage to invoke Norman Rockwell-esque [1]memories of backyard barbecues, county fairs and church socials. They represent safety, security and nostalgia of simpler times. Chicken & Dumplings, Macaroni & Cheese, Chocolate Chip Cookies and even the ubiquitous Meatloaf have found their way onto this list. Perhaps, the most representative of these is pie. 

According to What’s Cooking America?, [2]historians surmise that pies have been around since the times of the ancient Egyptians, who incorporated nuts, honey, and fruits in bread dough. They believe that the Greeks actually originated pie pastry and the Romans expounded upon it. The idea caught on and by the 12th century the allure of the pie had begun to spread throughout Europe.

In those days, pies were predominantly savory, usually filled with meat or fowl. Examples of this are the ever popular Shepherd’s and Cottage Pies from England. Ironically, these were called “coffyns” because the fillings were sealed up in the pastry. The crusts of these pies were usually just vessels for the fillings and too hard to actually eat.

Pie came to America with the first English settlers. The Pilgrims brought their favorite pie recipes with them when they came to the New World. They adapted their pies to the ingredients available to them, such as the native berries and fruits found growing wild.

Pioneer women regularly served pies with every meal, cementing its place in traditional American culture. As settlers moved to the West and South, various regional specialties were created, most likely as a result of different conditions and available ingredients. When you think about it, is there anything more quintessentially American, or more comforting, than a home-baked, fresh out of the oven fruit pie – especially a luscious blueberry pie?

This rather long, drawn out preamble brings me to this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe: Double Crusted Blueberry Pie. I’ve chosen to give you this mini history lesson on the evolution of pie because frankly, there isn’t a whole lot to say about this pie and I didn’t have a funny/clever/witty story to tell you to pick up the slack. I don’t mean to say that this isn’t a good pie, because it is. It’s a very good pie. But, that’s all it is – a very good, basic, homey fruit pie with no bells or whistles or fancy techniques. It is a refreshingly honest pie. What you see is what you get. In this day and age, where few things are ever what they seem, I think that’s a very good thing.

The recipe for Dorie’s pie is very straightforward. I pretty much followed it to the letter, with only one minor tweak. I added about a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger to the filling. Rachel from Coconut & Lime [3]had done this with her Blueberry-Ginger Ice Box Pie [4]and it sounded like a great addition. The ginger combined with the lemon already in the recipe gave the filling an extra pop of flavor. It went so beautifully with the tart/sweet blueberries. I really liked it a lot!

This pie was quite a departure from the desserts that I’ve made lately. There was no booze [5], no ganache [6], no Swiss [7] buttercream [8]……. But, you know what? My family enjoyed it more than any of those other fancy concoctions I’ve made recently. The crust was flaky and tender. The filling was juicy and delicious. What more could I ask for?

Many thanks to Amy of South in Your Mouth [9]for selecting this great recipe. The recipe for this pie can be foud in Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours [10]. If you’d like to see some other interesting and creative takes on this pie, stop by the Tuesdays with Dorie [11]site and make your way down the blogroll.

UPDATE: I am submitting the above photo for the September ’08 edition of CLICK! [12]