While cruising down a two-lane highway on a weekend trip to Maine’s Penobscot Bay region, a road sign painted with the words “fresh blueberries!” flashed before my eyes. I hit the brakes and pulled into a roadside farm stand, with my wheels kicking up plumes of dust in dramatic fashion. It was August, and the tiny wild bleuets, unique to Maine, were in their prime. For me, and many other New Englanders, that could only signal one thing: That it was high time for pie.
Typically, wild Maine blueberry pie, the state’s official dessert, is baked with a top crust, cut into slices, and smothered by a scoop of melting vanilla ice cream. I took the double-crust concept and miniaturized it for those on the go—say off to a picnic, beach, or day sail. Because the filling is completely encrusted with dough, these hand-held pies serve as portable pouches for perfectly plump blueberries. You’ll have to stop for ice cream along the way, though.
1¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
2-4 tablespoons ice water
2 cups blueberries
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Egg wash (an egg and splash of milk lightly beaten with a fork)
Sugar for top of crusts (I use coarse-textured raw sugar for a more rustic look)
For Pie Crust: Sift flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor, add sugar, and pulse once or twice until combined. Add butter and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add two to four tablespoons of ice water, one at a time, and pulse until dough comes together (dough should stick together when you pinch it with your fingers). Wrap with plastic and chill for at least an hour.
For Blueberry Filling: In a medium bowl, combine blueberries, brown sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice.
To Assemble: Preheat oven to 350° F, and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Roll out dough to about ⅛-inch thick, and make small, even holes in the dough with a fork. Cut into 3¾-inch circles (I use pastry cutters with a fluted edge, but a wide-rimmed glass or jar will work just fine too).
Divide circles into two even groups to serve as tops and bottoms. For the tops, make a cut in the center of the circles (I use a small, star-shaped cutter). Spoon about tablespoon or so of blueberry filling onto the bottom circles, leaving a ¼-inch edge. Brush the edges with the egg wash and then place the top circles over the filling and onto the bottoms, gently pressing the edges together. Brush tops with the egg wash and then sprinkle with lightly sugar.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (rotating pans halfway through) until lightly golden and buttery.
Yield: 7 to 8 pies