Summer berry season makes it easy to make a patriotic dessert for Fourth of July. A cheery red strawberry shortcake is always welcome, but for an all-American pie, it’s hard to beat this – a delicately creamy blueberry pie with a crisp crumb topping. Regular blueberry pie can get syrupy and jam-like, but this variation has a light custardy base to complement the juicy berries and a crunchy pecan topping to contrast with the soft sweetness beneath.
This is honestly the easiest pie recipe, but I am such a pie-making ninny I make it look hard. In my long baking life I’ve made many good-tasting pies but painfully few good-looking pies. I think it’s because good pie making takes a mix of cooking skill (of which I have some) and crafting skill (of which I have none). I know my limits, and as a result I rarely make rolled cookies, iced cakes, or anything remotely decorative. I am in awe of people like Bakerella who seem, Martha-Stewart-like, to make elaborate creations with ease.
I say this for any pie-shy folks out there: Do not be afraid. Any pie I can make, you can make better. I promise you this is true, and I’ve adjusted the recipe so your crust doesn’t turn out as alarmingly overbaked as mine.
My great friend Nancy (she of the unbeatable banana chocolate chip muffins) introduced me to this Bon ApÃ©tit recipe many years ago, and I’ve made it every blueberry season since. I love the combination of almond-flavored custard with a pecan topping. But if you don’t like nuts or have allergies, vanilla in the custard and rolled oats in the topping would be just as wonderful.
I’m away from the dream kitchen for the summer and in my California reality kitchen (ignore the huge mess on my catch-all “dining” table through the doorway; it was hard enough to clear out the kitchen for a semi-tidy picture). Space is tight here, housing prices are insane, but the weather is awfully nice and my sweet parents are practically next door.
For obvious reasons, I’ve given up making pie crust. Trader Joe’s – blissfully everywhere in California – sells a good frozen one.
Thaw the frozen crust, unfold and place in pie pan, patching together any dough that breaks in the process. Put in in the freezer to chill.
Mix sour cream with sugar, flour, salt, an egg and almond extract.
Add blueberries. So easy compared to other fruit – no peeling, no chopping, just dump them in.
Pour into chilled pie shell. I prebaked mine according to the Bon ApÃ©tit recipe, which contributed to my overbaked result. In our revised version, freezing of the pie crust serves the same purpose of preventing sogginess.
Make the topping while the pie bakes. Flour, sugar, cold butter in pieces.
You can use fingers to blend the butter into the flour; press and release quickly so the butter doesn’t melt. Or you can use a pastry cutter or two knives.
When the butter is blended in and the topping is crumbly, stir in chopped pecans (or walnuts, almonds or whatever you like). I made half with nuts and half with rolled oats for the kids.
Take the pie out of the oven – filling will be just set but still jiggly in the middle. My crust is already way overbaked and breaking off, and I still need to bake the topping.
Sprinkle topping evenly on top. Later I added some slivered almonds to the nut side, just to make it more obvious.
I promise yours will not look like this. I would have re-done this before posting, but I wanted you to have the recipe for holiday planning.
Fortunately no one in my family cared about the look. Even overbaked, the pie was a big hit as always. (I broke out some wedding china for the photo – virtually never used before!)
With a little strawberry accent, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a soft dollop of whipped cream, it’s an all-American, red, white and blue finale to a patriotic midsummer celebration.
Blueberry Sour Cream Pie
I make this delicately creamy blueberry pie with a crisp crumb topping almost every Fourth of July. I love the flavor combination of almond extract and a crunchy pecan streusel topping, but there are plenty of good substitutions (see notes below). Adapted from Bon ApÃ©tit.
- 1 unbaked pie crust – your favorite recipe or store-bought (Trader Joe’s has a good one in the frozen section)
- 1 cup sour cream (low fat versions work just as well)
- 1/2-3/4 cup sugar (more for tart berries, less for sweet)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/3 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- Place pie crust in 9-inch pie pan and freeze for at least 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400Â°F.
- Mix sour cream, sugar, flour, salt, beaten egg and almond extract in medium bowl to blend.
- Mix in blueberries. Spoon into prepared chilled crust.
- Bake until filling is just set, about 25 minutes.
- While pie is baking, mix topping. Use a pastry cutter, two knives or fingertips to cut cold butter into flour and sugar until crumbly. Mix in pecans.
- Spoon topping over pie. Bake until topping browns lightly, about 15 minutes.
- Cool pie to room temperature or chill before serving.
- Substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for almond extract if you prefer.
- Substitute almonds or walnuts for the pecans. Or use rolled oats instead (and vanilla extract) for a nut-free version.
- Substitute other fruit if you like; just consider the sweetness/tartness of your fruit when determining amount of sugar to use.
- Works well with frozen blueberries, but they bleed more than fresh. Thaw and drain before adding to filling.
Here’s the link to a printable version.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.