Nell Huffman’s Blueberry Pie
Use fresh or frozen berries to make this classic dessert any time of year.
makes one 9-inch pie
1 hour 30 minutes
In Alaska, wild blueberries (also called Kyani berries) are picked in the summer and frozen for use during the winter, especially in pies. During crunch time just before the Iditarod, locals have been known to resort to commercial crusts; when time allows, we like to make this flaky all-butter crust from scratch. (This recipe is a favorite of Nell Huffman’s, adapted from The Joy of Blueberries by Theresa Millang.)
Featured in, "Pies and Alaskan Hospitality Along the Iditarod Trail."
- Rolling Pin
- 9-Inch Aluminum or Glass Pie Plate
- Sharp Knife
- Large Bowl
- Fork (optional)
- Small Bowl
- Large, Rimmed Baking Sheet
- Dough for two prepared pie crusts, homemade or store-bought
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling the dough
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- 6 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp. whole milk
- Coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Heat the oven (with one of its racks positioned in the lower third) to 400°F.
About 15 minutes before you plan to roll out the pie dough, remove it from the refrigerator to soften slightly. Lightly flour a clean work surface and a rolling pin; roll out one of the pieces into an even, ¼-inch-thick circle, then carefully lift the dough into a 9-inch aluminum or glass pie pan. Use a sharp knife to trim the edges, leaving 1 inch of overhang all the way around. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the blueberries and vanilla and toss well to coat, then transfer the filling to the pie shell, mounding the berries slightly in the center. Dot the surface of the berries with the butter and set aside.
Once again, lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll out the second piece of dough into an even, ¼-inch-thick circle, then carefully lift the dough and set it over the pie. Use a sharp knife to trim the edges, leaving about 1½ inches of overhang all the way around, then tuck the edges of the top crust under the edges of the bottom crust. Pinch the edges together decoratively to seal, or use the tines of a fork to crimp them all the way around. Using the tip of a paring knife, make 6–8 slits on the surface of the crust to vent. Set the pie in the freezer just until the crust is firm, about 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolk and milk. Brush the surface of the chilled pie crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar, if using. Place the pie on a large, rimmed baking sheet, transfer to the oven, and bake until the crust is set and just beginning to brown, 20–25 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 350°F and continue baking until the crust is evenly golden brown and the juices are bubbling and thickened, 30–40 minutes more for fresh berries or 60–70 minutes more for frozen. (If the edges begin to darken before the filling has thickened, cover them with strips of aluminum foil to finish baking.) Cool to room temperature before cutting into wedges and serving.