I was introduced to the world of baking with a hundred watt lightbulb. I remember as our car finally pulled into the woods near our home in Salem, Connecticut after a long drive from seeing our cousins in New Jersey. I had just inherited an avocado colored Easy Bake Oven as a hand-me-down, which was packed in the trunk for the four hour drive. As tired as I was, I couldn’t sleep, anxious to get my hands on it.
The next day, my mom entrusted my older brother and me with a box of Jiffy pancake mix and a little bit of sugar. We were suddenly on our way to culinary autonomy. Hours upon hours of it. As we would mix our batter we’d laugh ourselves silly doing our impression of the Swedish Chef and Julia Child all in one: “A leeetle bit more water. Now, a leeetle bit more flour.”
With experience, our creations improved, though I’d have to say that our triple layer Apple Lump Gunk Cake, though ambitious, did not win any awards. Improvising with jelly as the frosting when we were out of powdered sugar was the main downfall. What a sport my dad was that night when he ate his third of it while my brother and I watched.
At the end of that summer, Josh and I did have one real success. One that great chefs would envy. At least, they’d envy one of the ingredients. In the woods to the side of our house were hundreds of bushes of wild huckleberries.
Our little pie did not boast a perfect pie crust, but the insides were delicious.
I’ve never found huckleberries since we moved away from that house, and now, living in Utah, I can’t even find any place to pick blueberries. I can, however, buy huge bags of wild blueberries from Walmart, which is what I did for this pie. If you are lucky enough to have acres of huckleberry bushes, then by all means, use those. Then, please, please, please, would you mail me a slice?
And here are some other blueberry recipes I found around the web, if you’re interested:
Katie’s Blueberry Lemon Curd Coffee Cake
Brooke’s Blueberry Quinoa Waffles
Julie’s Strawberry Saskatoon Jam (I had never heard of Saskatoon berries until today. I guess they’re like blueberries or huckleberries—Thanks, Julie, for enlightening me!)
wild blueberry crumble pie
for the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter, cut in pieces
2-3 tablespoons ice cold water
for the crumble:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond flour, optional (or 1/2 cup slivered almonds chopped up in a food processor)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons, or 170g) cold, unsalted butter, cut in pieces
for the filling:
8-9 cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries, defrosted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
3 tablespoons unbleached, all-purpose flour
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade attachment, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Toss the butter pieces in the flour. Pulse in short bursts until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Distribute the water over the mixture and pulse (or mix by hand), until the water is well-distributed and the mixture holds together like dry clay. Dump mixture onto a floured board, knead a time or two, form into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
2. Pound dough with a rolling pin a few times to soften the butter. Roll into an 11 inch circle on a well-floured board. Place the dough in a 9 inch pie plate. Roll up the edges and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork several times. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all ingredients for the crumble until it all comes together.
4. Combine ingredients for the blueberry filling in a large mixing bowl, and pour into prepared pie crust. Spread the lumps of crumble topping all over the top of the filling. Cover the edges of the pie crust with thin strips aluminum foil. Bake the pie for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue to bake pie until crumble topping is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes more.