As I talked about last week, last Saturday I went blueberry picking with Mary (aka The Arugula Files) and Olga (Mango and Tomato) at Butler’s Orchard out in Maryland. It was definitely hot and the picking was actually kind of intense (like, I was suddenly filled with this maniacal urge to fill my entire bucket with blueberries – no matter what), but I had a great time. Considering it took me a good hour to pick my 7 and 1/2 pounds of berries, it certainly made peach picking look like, well, a peach.
And I asked for your help with choosing what to make with my massive blueberry haul. Many thanks to everyone who voted, and helped me with a decision of such monumental importance. The winner was clear – some kind of pie. Ya’ll really wanted a blueberry pie.
Unfortunately, I don’t really have an event coming up that’s pie-worthy (and pie really requires a crowd), so I opted (like I often do) for individual-serving pies. These blueberry pockets are adapted from my Strawberry Pop Tarts recipe – crisp flaky pastry circles encases a filling of blueberries and lemon. They actually kind of remind me of those Smuckers “Crustables” crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Except, you know, not disgusting.
Now, you might be tempted to skip lemon in the filling. You might think “but blueberries are so delicious – why could they possibly need lemon?” But oh, they do. See, I made a first batch of this filling without the lemon (it was late, I was out of lemons, and I didn’t feel like running to the store) and it was way too sweet. Blueberries are already naturally sweet enough, and you need more sugar to help the filling gel, so without the lemon the filling can get cloying. But the lemon balances out the sweetness and brings out the blueberries’ essence.
While I was rather enchanted with these little babies, I do think they lack the grandeur of an entire blueberry pie. But I can’t really give away a pie in my usual way (to the Adams Morgan listserve or my ModernDomestic Facebook fans – well, unless everyone brought a plate?). Um, could someone throw a party so I could make a pie? Pretty please?
Recipe: Blueberry Lemon Pastry Pockets
Makes approximately 14 4-inch pockets
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbs sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
1/2 lb + 2 tbs unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes and frozen
6 tbs shortening, chilled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
3/4 cup ice water
1 egg, lightly beaten (for egg wash)
Blueberry filling (recipe follows)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Freeze the flour mixture, butter, shortening, and the processor blade for 1/2 hour before using. Fit the blade on the processor, and then add the flour mixture, butter, and shortening to the bowl. Pulse a couple of time, in five second bursts – until the butter and shortening are the size of small peas. Add the ice water through the feeder tube – and pulse until the dough just comes together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide in half, flatten each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll between lightly floured pieces of parchment paper until 1/8 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or wine glass, punch out 14 circles of dough. Place 2 teaspoons of blueberry filling on 7 of the circles, leaving a 1/4 inch border all around. Lightly brush border with egg wash and top each circle with another circle of dough. Crimp edges of the pocket with the tines of a fork to seal and slash the tops of the pockets with a very sharp knife. Place pockets on a parchment lined baking sheet and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. Repeat process with second round of dough.
Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the pockets with egg wash and lightly sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees at the halfway point, until the pockets are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack. Pockets are best served warm.
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup water
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs lemon juice
1/4 cup + 2 tbs sugar
Pinch of salt
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is smooth.
In a small saucepan, combine the water, blueberries and lemon zest and heat to a simmer. Let cook for 3-4 minutes, until the berries soften. Add the cornstarch mixture, sugar and salt and cook for 1-2 minutes more, until the mixture is translucent. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using as blueberry pocket filling.