Looking back to the summer vacations of my youth, I fondly recall the blistering hot days in New England when my mother and I would truck over to the u-pick berry farm and fill our bellies and pails with as many blueberries possible. Most of the time the berries brought home were consumed by the handful. We enjoyed their perfection as nature intended.
No one complained that the berries weren’t safely nestled in pie crust because my mom never baked pie and we didn’t really know what we were missing. Don’t get me wrong, my mother is one of the best cooks ever. Her lasagna is so good that I can’t order it anywhere else because I’ll only be disappointed. But she’s never been much of a baker. Maybe it’s a sweet or savory thing. Sure, she makes brownies and sweet breads but never pies.
I get nostalgic for those hot summer days of blueberry picking. I miss the quietness of the farm. The scorching sun. Sweat mixing with sunscreen. Dusty feet in sandals. The long stretches of silence as my mother concentrated on picking out the best berries and I concentrated on stealthly eating more berries than the number that ended up in my pail. And consequently, my mother scolding me for eating too many berries.
Sure, I could drive up to the u-pick berry farms north of Seattle. But it wouldn’t be the same. Who would advise me not to eat all those blueberries? Gosh, I might not return with any… just a belly full of berries. And lately, I’ve been busy so it’s easier to run over to the traveling farmer’s market and pick up a few pints. As July runs out of days in the month it dawned on me that most of the berries purchased have been eaten by the handful. No berries have been safely nestled in pie crust. As a person who loves to bake, this feels almost criminal!
I know – I said I’d cool it on the baking for a little while but let’s be honest here, it was only a matter of time before I broke down and returned to the kitchen. (Must. Bake. Pie.) Plus, my hubby and I were getting ready for a road trip to Bend, OR (for yet, another wedding!) and I nominated myself to take care of the sustenance. The idea of a summertime road trip just beckons for a little picnic. And what picnic could ever be complete without something sweet? This road trip would be the perfect opportunity to try out blueberry pocket pies.
They are simple to make and super portable. All you need is love… and these ingredients:
Blueberry pocket pies
Yields 6 pocket pies
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- pie dough – insert your favorite recipe (I use a butter and shortening dough recipe)
Pre-heat the oven to 400°.
Mix the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt in a medium mixing bowl. To reduce trauma to the berries, simply mix by hand.
When the oven is just about done preheating, begin to roll out the dough. It was hot in my kitchen so I needed to return the dough to the refrigerator several times to keep the dough cold.
Once the dough is rolled out into a long thin sheet, divide it in half and then into thirds. Then scoop berries into each section and form into pockets.
A break down of the steps to pocket pie:
Here is the result of my first batch:
I thought they came out rather uncivilized so I ended up making several batches. In the end… not a single batch looked perfect. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I kept trying to over-stuff the little squares of dough with too many berries. But oh! The taste was heavenly. The crust was buttery and crumbly and the fruit inside was sweet but not overly sweet. The blueberry flavor remained true with just a zing of lemon. At some point I told my husband that these little pies were “pie-crack.”
I’m thinking about trying these out with sweet cherries or maybe a blueberry peach combo. Bridesmaid dresses (and any other fashion for that matter) be damned. I’m back in the kitchen baking and I’m going to enjoy the fruits of summer.
Have a super week!