I love desserts. So do most people I know. If I happen to be dieting or going through a no-carb phase, I can usually resist temptation ... except when it comes to fresh summer fruits. Those glistening colorful piles of fruit that they display so nicely, in neat little rows, are my absolute downfall. So when we went to the farmer’s market near our summer home and I saw those baskets of purple blueberries, I just had to buy some. The soft fuzzy peaches were winking at me, and the nectarines were calling my name! The apricots were simply begging to be made into some fantastic dessert that would make all you readers fall in love with fresh fruit all over again.
I got home with those bushels and baskets and tried frantically to fit everything into our cottage fridge. Of course it didn’t all fit, so I didn’t have much time to waste. Now I had an extra dilemma. All these amazing fruits honest- ly didn’t need my help to make them taste any better! I decided then and there to make this month’s cooking challenge a quest for a dessert that would showcase fruit as the star of the dish, with a healthy(ish) twist that would eliminate the guilt factor associated with desserts.
The blueberries were up first, and my first instinct was blueberry pie. I remembered vaguely a no-margarine pie crust recipe that had come into my Inbox from one of those many recipe sites that insist on sending free recipes (gotta love them!). I did some frantic searches and found it in a folder nicely tucked away, waiting to be tried. The dough came together easily, and I stuck it in the refrigerator to chill.
Now for the star of the show. After one very watery blueberry pie attempt last summer, I decided that bringing the filling together in a pot juicy blueberries and added just enough sugar to bring out their natural sweetness, along with some cornstarch and a bit of water. After about 10 minutes of cooking on a low flame, the sauce had thickened and the blueberries had just begun to fall apart. Perfect.
Now that the blueberries were basically cooked, I figured it would be best to bake the pie crust first, as the blueberries didn’t need to go too much longer. The dough needed lots of flour underneath it, and cracked in a few places as I lifted it into the baking dish, but I did some arts and crafts, and with just a bit of fancy finger work, the pieces were put back together and a beautiful crust was ready to bake. Some quick pokes with the fork, and it was in the oven for about 20 minutes.
It came out looking like real pie dough, and after pouring the blueberry filling into the baked shell, I started to get excited. This looked like the real thing! Now we needed a topping.
By this time, the kids had started walking in already from day camp, and I had to move on to making dinner. I reached into my trusty pantry and pulled out some of my favorite homemade granola. Store-bought granola would be fine, too, and I recommend the kind that has lots of nuts in it. After a generous sprinkle, the pie went back into the oven for 10–15 minutes. I took a picture (we always do that before we eat anything around here) and served it for dessert. Wow! Not one morsel was left and I was content, knowing that between blueberries and granola, there was plenty of nutrients and fiber packed into each piece. My family was eating pie, they were loving it, and so was I!
Apricots All Dressed Up
Healthy Blueberry Pie
This article appeared in Mishpacha Magazine, August 2012.