PDA

View Full Version : Blueberry Pie Disaster


Saint Cad
06-26-2012, 04:01 PM
I used the standard recipe I always use for fruit filling
3/4C sugar
3T corn starch
salt
2-3T butter
4.5C frozen Maine blueberries

I tasted the filling and it was the perfect sweetness so I load everything into my crust, bake it and let it cool.

W
T
F
!
!

The juice had completely soaked the bottom crust and even after cooling, the juice flowed out like water. Obviously I should have used more cornstarch but what was the problem?

1) Frozen blueberries have more juice than fresh?
2) Blueberries have more juice than other fruit?

I get one more try at this so frozen or fresh blueberries and how much cornstarch?

Ike Witt
06-26-2012, 04:05 PM
I would be happy to eliminate any traces of your error. I love blueberry pie.

Kimstu
06-26-2012, 04:05 PM
Did you defrost and drain the berries first? If not, yes, they'll be more watery.

Zabali_Clawbane
06-26-2012, 04:07 PM
Thaw the berries first, before making the filling? ;) Edit: Or, to put it another way, what Kimstu said! :o

belladonna
06-26-2012, 04:09 PM
You can use frozen, but you should thaw them first. Lay them out on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels to absorb the melt off. Otherwise, all that extra moisture ends up in your pie and, as you discovered, throws off the consistency.

Earl Snake-Hips Tucker
06-26-2012, 04:11 PM
I have nothing to add to the OP, but for evermore, whenever I hear “blueberry pie,” I’ll be hearing Rev. Al Sharpton saying “The GOP have booberry pie all ovah dey face.” No, he doesn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s the way I’ll remember it.

needscoffee
06-26-2012, 05:02 PM
Yeah, when you thaw blueberries, there's a huge amount of juice, almost as much volume as the blueberries themselves. Yum.

Chefguy
06-26-2012, 05:03 PM
Corn starch? My mother is rolling in her grave.

Dallas Jones
06-26-2012, 05:16 PM
You forgot the cinnamon.

Left Hand of Dorkness
06-26-2012, 05:31 PM
I'll go exactly opposite from other people and recommend NOT thawing the frozen blueberries. It's how Joy of Cooking recommends. You use a lot of thickener, and you cook them pie for about 1/2 hour longer than normal, and somehow it works out. If you thaw frozen fruit, it ends up becoming super-watery, and if you drain it, you lose a lot of the good flavor.

Chronos
06-26-2012, 05:35 PM
A messy pie is not a disaster. It just means that you need to eat it with a spoon and with ice cream. Which is still a good thing.

Saint Cad
06-26-2012, 06:06 PM
I'll go exactly opposite from other people and recommend NOT thawing the frozen blueberries. It's how Joy of Cooking recommends. You use a lot of thickener, and you cook them pie for about 1/2 hour longer than normal, and somehow it works out. If you thaw frozen fruit, it ends up becoming super-watery, and if you drain it, you lose a lot of the good flavor.

Yep. JoC is how I learned to bake pie. It seems that for the amount of blueberries I need to (at least) double to 6T of cornstarch. Also I'm going to blind bake and seal the bottom crust first to prevent soakage.

Slithy Tove
06-26-2012, 06:07 PM
Freezing causes the cell walls to burst. The same principle that creates potholes when water seeps into cracks in the streets and freezes.

Saint Cad
06-26-2012, 06:16 PM
Freezing causes the cell walls to burst. The same principle that creates potholes when water seeps into cracks in the streets and freezes.

I thought fruit was frozen quickly enough that that was not a major issue.

Ludy
06-26-2012, 06:23 PM
I once made a blueberry pie with goats cheese in the filling. So yummy.

Slithy Tove
06-26-2012, 06:27 PM
Nutritionally, frozen is fine. Flavor-wise... well, you were going to put a bunch of sugar on it anyway, and bake it. But structurally, they still haven't developed a process or a fruit that will bear up.

FeAudrey
06-26-2012, 07:38 PM
(Slithy Tove -- "Freezing causes the cell walls to burst.")

I thought fruit was frozen quickly enough that that was not a major issue.

It's the expansion of the water as it freezes that bursts the cell walls.

I vote for the double-cornstarch, no-thaw method.

Roderick Femm
06-26-2012, 07:58 PM
I predict that if you use that much cornstarch your pie will taste like and have the consistency of glue.

In the spirit of America's Test Kitchen, here's what I think you should do:

Thaw and drain the blueberries. You will lose some of the flavor that way, and some of the volume, so add 20% more berries. Add genuine blueberry extract to replace an equivalent amount of liquid (you may have to experiment to see what works). Also try some other thickener like tapioca instead of cornstarch. Bake and enjoy.


Roddy

salinqmind
06-26-2012, 09:55 PM
I cook sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, lemon,some water, and berries to make a thickish filling - and add a bit of butter, then stir in lotsa fresh berries and put in a baked pie shell. But yeah, frozen berries have a lot of water. I'm going to make pie for the 4th.

Sattua
06-26-2012, 10:05 PM
You forgot the cinnamon.

No, forgot the lime juice.

kittenblue
06-26-2012, 10:49 PM
If you do decide to use fresh berries instead, do what I do for my kick-ass French Blueberry pie....cook only half of the berries with the cornstarch and the sugar and such, and then stir in the remaining uncooked berries just before you fill the pie.

And cinnamon is a wonderful addition to blueberry pie.

Left Hand of Dorkness
06-26-2012, 11:45 PM
Thaw and drain the blueberries. You will lose some of the flavor that way, and some of the volume, so add 20% more berries. Add genuine blueberry extract to replace an equivalent amount of liquid (you may have to experiment to see what works). Also try some other thickener like tapioca instead of cornstarch. Bake and enjoy.
I reject all of your suggestions except for the last two sentences :).

Tapioca makes for superior fruit pies, IMO. And I've never needed to prebake the crust or to use nearly 1/2 cup thickener for a single pie (!)--I think it's closer to 3 Tbsp tapioca for a single normal-sized pie. I do use the lower amount of sugar, FWIW (my wife prefers extremely low-sugar pies, so we compromise with just somewhat low-sugar pies).

As for my favorite additions for blueberry pie, I like EITHER nutmeg OR ginger. Both are delicious, but I don't think they'd be particularly tasty together.

In any case, the single most important thing you can do is to use wild blueberries. I understand that may not be possible, but if you ever get a chance to use wild blueberries, I highly encourage it: their flavor is amazing, and they seem to have a much higher flavor-to-water ratio.

Lynn Bodoni
06-27-2012, 01:17 AM
I suggest making blueberry shortcake instead of blueberry pie from frozen berries. This takes advantage of the excess fluid, rather than trying to fight it.

Balance
06-27-2012, 01:33 AM
No, forgot the lime juice.
Personally, I'm wondering where the cream cheese is.

Ruken
06-27-2012, 07:13 AM
I once made a blueberry pie with goats cheese in the filling. So yummy.

Personally, I'm wondering where the cream cheese is.

I have never tried cheese in my blueberry pie. Do you just throw blobs in, or do you try to mix it in thoroughly?

kayaker
06-27-2012, 07:37 AM
For me, the perfect blueberry pie requires allowing sufficient cooling time. At least 24 hours.

Made one from freshly picked berries on Sunday. We each had a messy slice that night. We had more on Monday and Tuesday, much better.

IvoryTowerDenizen
06-27-2012, 07:46 AM
Now I want pie.

salinqmind
06-27-2012, 08:12 AM
I have never tried cheese in my blueberry pie. Do you just throw blobs in, or do you try to mix it in thoroughly?

I spread sweetened cream cheese in the bottom of the crust before the berries. I've done the same with pumpkin pie. So it turns out like blueberry (or pumpkin) cheesecake pie.

IvoryTowerDenizen
06-27-2012, 08:19 AM
I spread sweetened cream cheese in the bottom of the crust before the berries. I've done the same with pumpkin pie. So it turns out like blueberry (or pumpkin) cheesecake pie.

I combine sweetened cream cheese with whipped cream for the bottom of my (unbaked, one crust) strawberry pie. That's yummy too.

njtt
06-27-2012, 09:05 AM
Blueberry Pie Disaster

Band name!

Athena
06-27-2012, 09:35 AM
In any case, the single most important thing you can do is to use wild blueberries.

Yeah, this is the key. And also the downfall, because picking enough wild blueberries to make a pie is back-breaking work. And they're so yummy that I rarely want to do anything with 'em except eat 'em raw.

Here's to a good blueberry crop this year. I hope it's good enough that someone else picks 'em and sells 'em at the farmer's market, because I hate picking them as much as I love eating them.

Balance
06-27-2012, 10:19 AM
I spread sweetened cream cheese in the bottom of the crust before the berries.
Exactly. I soften/slightly pre-cook the cream cheese in the microwave before mixing in sugar, and it makes a smooth, sweet layer under the berries when baked. I do the same with cherry pie, where the cheese offsets the tartness of the cherries nicely.

Dogzilla
06-27-2012, 10:58 AM
• Crushed pecans for pie dough.

•Lemon or lime juice -- just a smidge.

•Cardomom and a pinch of cinnamon.

•Frozen blueberries? Slam in the middle of blueberry season? Good lord, why?

• Blueberries are on the low end of the acidity scale and have plenty of natural pectin. A pie should set up nicely if you start with fresh berries and you let the pie cool completely before cutting into it. I've made several blueberry pies and it has never once occurred to me to add starch or any manner of thickener. You would probably need to use starch if you only have access to frozen.

Turble
06-27-2012, 12:42 PM
. A pie should set up nicely if ... you let the pie cool completely before cutting into it.

I think this might be the problem. Cut it while it's still warm and it will never set properly.

My favorite addition to the flavor profile is a spoon or two of balsamic vinegar.

Dogzilla
06-27-2012, 02:07 PM
I think this might be the problem. Cut it while it's still warm and it will never set properly.

My favorite addition to the flavor profile is a spoon or two of balsamic vinegar.

BTW, runny pie that hasn't set up properly is a perfect topping for ice cream. Oh yes. ;)

I like tossing a handful of crumbled pecans on top. Gives the pie a top "crust" and some crunch in general.

kittenblue
06-29-2012, 12:59 AM
My French Blueberry Pie recipe has a layer of cream cheese under the berries, in a graham cracker crust (that's where I sometimes slip in some cinnamon. And then rosettes of the Cream cheese mixture on top. Here's the recipe in case you're getting hungry reading all these variations.

French Blueberry Pie

Crust: 20 square graham crackers, crushed or processed to fine crumbs
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 c sugar

Place in small bowl and blend together thoroughly. Press into a 9" pie plate, making an even layer on sides and bottom.

Bake for 8 minutes at 375' and then let cool.


Fruit filling
1 qt. blueberries, washed and drained
1 c sugar
3T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
1 c water
1 T butter
Mix 1 cup of the berries in a saucepan with the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water (I always make a slurry of the cornstarch and some of the water before adding it to the pan, so that the cornstarch is dissolved and not lumpy).
Cook and stir over low heat until thick. Add the uncooked berries and the butter. Mix well and cool.

Make the

Cream Cheese Filling:
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 t. Vanilla
1 c. whipped cream

Cream together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well mixed.
Whip cream and fold into cream cheese mixture.
Pour into crust and spread evenly.
Spoon cooled fruit filling over the cream cheese mixture.
Chill for one hour before serving.

Optional: Make a double batch of the cream cheese mixture. Use a little more than half for the pie, then place the rest in piping bag with rosette tip and pipe a ring of stars around the edge of the crust, on top of the blueberry filling, then chill.

Roderick Femm
06-29-2012, 03:34 AM
I reject all of your suggestions except for the last two sentences :). Genuine question: you mean you don't think it's a good idea to thaw the berries first? Or to drain off the excess liquid? Or to add more (thawed) berries to make up the volume of the lost liquid? Just wondering.

For some of the other suggestions, I gathered the OP wanted to make a regular double crust fruit pie with frozen blueberries for the fruit filling. Telling him to add cream cheese and use a graham cracker crust (not to pick on Kittenblue, who was very kind to me once) doesn't seem to quite fit what he was asking for.

So, to strengthen my case, I went to the America's Test Kitchen website and looked up their (http://www.cookscountry.com/recipes/detail/36618) blueberry pie. Unfortunately, you have to join to see the full recipe.

However, you can see some of their suggestions to get the right consistency without a gluey texture:

Cook and reduce half the berries in advance of cooking the pie (to me this implies adding more berries overall, due to the reduction of volume involved in this step);
Don't thaw the other half of the frozen berries (so I was wrong about that);
Peel and grate a Granny Smith apple into the mixture to get lots of pectin;
Use a modest amount of tapioca to keep the bright, fresh taste.


Roddy

Left Hand of Dorkness
06-29-2012, 07:39 AM
Genuine question: you mean you don't think it's a good idea to thaw the berries first? Or to drain off the excess liquid? Or to add more (thawed) berries to make up the volume of the lost liquid? Just wondering.
Clearly other folks have ways of making pie that work, so I'm not all that serious about rejecting the suggestions. But yeah, when I make pies from frozen fruit, it's like this:
-Make the crusts.
-Preheat the oven.
-Toss the fruit in a bowl, and break it up if necessary.
-Throw in the sugar, lemon juice, and tapioca.
-Fill the pie, dotting the top with a little butter if I remember and care to.
-Put on the top crust.
-Bake.

I don't thaw the fruit, and I don't drain excess liquid, and I don't add more berries to make up for the lost liquid. This is the Joy of Cooking method, and it's worked very well for me. (You do have to bake the pie at a higher starting temperature and for about half an hour longer.)