The Recipe: An easy recipe like pie, berry season is here

Blueberry season is upon us, which means blueberry-studded cakes, pies, salads, and smoothies. The plump, juicy berries — believed to have the highest levels of antioxidants of all everyday fruits — are also a great base for a sweet summer pie and jam, with a hint of flavor for balance.

This easy-to-make blueberry pie brings out the flavors and textures of fresh blueberries, with a crisp, nutty graham cracker crust. (Gretchen MacKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)

This super-easy recipe from Cook’s Country magazine combines a sweet-sour pop of fresh blueberries with cooked raspberry puree in a simple (but very good) graham cracker crust. Topped with a creamy, no-bake cheesecake-like topping that is whisked together in a mixer in about 5 minutes. Don’t bother with dough means the whole process isn’t a big deal, which makes it the perfect pie for novice bakers, 4th of July chefs, or any other summer cookout.

The original recipe in the June/July magazine featured a rose striped on top of the pie, but I don’t fit in with a pastry bag. So I chose the easiest option of spreading the toppings over the top of the pie with an offset spatula, then stirring the marbling-shaped mash with a butter knife. I also added a strawberry flower in the middle.

Be sure to refrigerate the pie after it’s been prepared for the recommended 4 hours, or it will fall apart when sliced. (You have cooled mine overnight). The magazine posits that the dessert “may be the best blueberry pie you’ll ever eat,” and they’re not kidding: Everyone who tasted it begged for more.

Blueberry Cream Pie

for the crust

12 pieces of whole-grain graham crackers, cut into pieces

2 tablespoons of sugar

pinch of table salt

6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter

to fill

1/2 cup sugar

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 1/2 pounds (about 4 3/4 cups) divided berries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

up

8 ounces soft cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chilled heavy cream

Set the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Make the crust: Process the biscuit pieces in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and salt and beat until combined, about 3 legumes. Add the melted butter and beat until combined, about 8 pulses.

Transfer crumbs to a 9-inch pie plate. Using the bottom of a dry measuring cup, press the crumbs into the bottom and top sides of the plate. Bake until crust is fragrant and just beginning to turn brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer plate to wire rack.

Meanwhile, make a filling. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan until clumps of cornstarch disappear. Process 2 cups blueberries in a clean, dry work bowl until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Strain the puree through a fine mesh strainer into the sugar mixture in the saucepan, pressing down on the solids to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the solids. Mix the puree with the sugar mixture until homogeneous.

Bring the mashed mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the trail of leaves slowly fills up, about 1 minute (it took me about 4 minutes total). Remove from heat, whisk in lemon juice. Reserve 2 tablespoons of puree for garnish.

Stir the remaining blueberries with the rest of the purée in a saucepan. Spread the filling evenly over the pie crust. (It must be completely cooled.)

Making the topping: Using the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla on medium-high speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl as needed. With mixer running, slowly pour in cream and whisk until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes, scraping bowl as needed.

Spread the cream cheese over the filling. Reserved spray over top layer. (If it’s thick, put it in the microwave until loosened, about 15 seconds.) Using a butter knife, move the purée through the top, to make a marble pattern.

Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours, then serve.

Serves 8-10.

– cookscountry.com

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