There isn’t much that feels more summery to me than a crispy-crusted juicy-centered blueberry pie. This particular recipe is one that has been a go-to in my recipe notebook for the past 5 years. I’ve been meaning to get it up on the blog so all of you can enjoy it too, and I’m glad I finally stopped procrastinating so y’all can enjoy it, too!
This method requires white, granulated sugar. Cane, raw, or semi-refined sugars do not work as the granules are coated in molasses which may cause the sugar to burn or clump in the oven.
To make Roasted Sugar:
1. Heat oven to 320°.
2. Fill a ceramic or glass baking dish 2-inches deep with white granulated sugar. Place in oven and roast, stirring every 30 minutes, until sugar is a light tan, about 2 hours.
Want to know more? Here’s a more detailed recipe and how-to from Food52!
When retesting to confirm final measurements and times for this recipe, I decided to see if there were any ways I could improve the overall enjoyment of this pie without changing its flavor profile. I opted for using Roasted Sugar instead of plain granulated sugar. What this did for the overall flavor of the pie is remarkable while staying subtle. It essentially builds a strong foundation of flavor without stealing the spotlight from the fruit and cardamom. Using Roasted Sugar isn’t going to give you a noticeable flavor burst like adding almond extract or something similar would, but instead it adds a rich, slightly nutty sweetness to the pie versus simply increasing the glucose content and making it just plain ‘ole sweeter.
If you’re saying “Um, what are you even talking about, you can roast sugar?” the answer is “I know, it sounds weird, but yes!” Essentially, you are slowly caramelizing the sugar particles in the oven, while keeping them in their pantry-stable granulated form. Typically, this flavor is introduced to sweets by cooking sugar into a form of caramel on the stove top. But, this changes the molecular structure of the sugar and it can’t always be used in the same ways granulated can. Roasting the sugar brings out those same flavors while keeping the sugar in a form that can be creamed into fats for cakes and cookies, or used as it is here: stirred into the filling and worked into the pie crust.
In regards to the other maybe-weird ingredient in this pie: If you aren’t familiar with cardamom, it’s definitely a spice worth keeping in your pantry. (Confession, I first typed that as “panty” and I think it was really funny, so I’m sharing.) You can find already ground cardamom pretty easily in grocery stores these days. If you don’t think you’ll use it often, opt for buying the seeds (not the pods), and grind them when you’re ready to cook with it. It’ll taste much better. Penzey’s has the most flavorful cardamom in my opinion. (BUT, you should try Diaspora Co.’s heirloom cardamom when it’s on the market in August!)
blueberry cardamom pie
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
¾ cups Roasted Sugar* (see above)
⅓ cup tapioca flour
4½ cups fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoon ground cardamom
Classic Pie Dough (recipe follows)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 425°.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, tapioca flour, and cardamom. Mix in blueberries, lemon juice, and vanilla. Set aside.
Let pie dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. (This softens the dough slightly, so it’s easier to roll.) On a lightly floured surface, roll one disk of dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate, pressing into bottom and up sides. Fill with blueberry mixture.
Roll second disk of dough into a 14x9-inch rectangle. Cut dough into 2-inch-wide strips. Arrange strips in a lattice design on top of filling. Trim dough to extend 1 inch beyond edge of pie plate, if necessary. Fold edges over, pressing to seal, and crimp as desired. Brush with egg, and sprinkle lightly with additional sugar, if desired.
Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°, and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool for 2 hours before serving. Store pie covered at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Classic Pie Dough
Makes 1 (9-inch) double crust pie
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons Roasted Sugar*
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
⅔ cup ice water
1 tablespoon bourbon
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in cold butter until largest pieces are the size of almonds.
In a small bowl, stir together ice water and bourbon. Using a fork, stir in ½ cup ice water mixture until a shaggy dough forms. Add additional ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary. (Dough should be shaggy, but still look somewhat dry.)
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured counter, and shape into a disk. Cut in half and shape again. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Pie dough can be double wrapped and frozen in freezer bags. Just thaw in fridge for 24 hours before rolling. Frozen dough is best if used within 4 months.
*Regular granulated white or cane sugar can be substituted in either recipe, if desired.