If you love those pops of sweet, plump blueberries and crisp, flaky pie crust soaked in melted vanilla ice cream, this recipe is for you... Not only is this an extremely elegant dessert but if you have some pastry already on hand, (store bought is fine), you can have these pies on the table within 30 minutes ..
Blueberry Mini Pie
Perfecting this recipe took a lot longer than expected - the corn starch to sugar ratio was not quite right and the first pie crust looked golden brown on top but was clearly under cooked at the bottom. I actually thought I could perfect the recipe within two tries given my familiarity with Ina Garten's Apple Tart and Bon Appetit's Mixed Berry Cobbler recipe- however several unexpected adjustments were needed to account for the fact that these were blueberries not apples, pies not tarts and that the lattice top cooked faster than the bottom crust.
But it was worth it! The final recipe yields a crust which is perfectly crispy on both top and bottom and the blueberries are perfect - sweet, plump and juicy with just a hint of lemon!
This pie recipe is particularly helpful to those of us who love to entertain but who only have a few minutes to spare - like new moms or dads who try to fit in work between baby naps or folks for whom every minute counts.
What you need for the filling:
- Blueberries - both fresh and frozen works
- Sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and cinnamon
- You will need about two 10x10 inch pie crusts.
- Buy it or make your own - it only takes about a minute to make pie crust in a food processor but once you are done, the dough needs to be chilled for at least an hour.
- If you buy frozen pie crust - ideally you should thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. However if that is not an option - you will need to thaw it outside for about 30-45 minutes so that it is soft enough to work with.
How to make the Pies
Mix the filling mixture and set aside. Press the pastry into the tins, spoon in the blueberry filling and dot with butter. I made a simple lattice design on top but you can choose whatever design you like keeping in mind that you need a large opening so that the steam from the cooked blueberries can escape. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and bake.
Tips & tricks for first-time success
- Keep the pastry chilled - the pie crust needs to be kept in the fridge whenever it is not being used because the hard lumps of butter is the secret to flaky crust. Once in the oven, the butter melts in the dough creating air pockets result in those delicious crispy layers. Keep the assembled pie in the freezer until ready to bake.
- Add extra sugar if the blueberries are too tart - the sweetness of fresh fruit can vary based on multiple factors such as season, weather and degree of ripeness. If the blueberries are too tart, add upto one teaspoon or so of sugar to balance it out. Too much sugar will create clumpy sugar "crusts" in the pie.
- Add the blueberries after mixing the other ingredients - in one of my test cases, I had tiny crusts of cornflower in my pie. Blueberries don't release as much liquid as other fruit like apples. As a result you cannot assume that everything will melt together in the oven.
- Top crust needs to have a large opening to let the steam escape - I prefer a lattice design on the top of these pies because its easy, bakes very well and solves the steam issue.
- Let the pie cool for a few minutes in the oven to ensure an even top and bottom crust bake - After about 20 minutes in the oven, the top crust should be golden brown indicating that the pie is done. I have found that turning off the oven and keeping the door closed for about 5 minutes helps ensure that the bottom crust has a that perfect crisp
- Its easier to remove the pies from the tart tin soon after the bake - The blueberries release liquid after cooling and may act like a glue making it more difficult to remove the tin. After removal - place the pies on a cooling rack for maximum crispness.
- Soak the tins and baking sheet in hot water for easy clean up - Stuck on blueberry juices is super easy to clean up just pour some hot water over it - the stains dissolve and wash away.
Mini Blueberry Pie Video
- 2 pie crusts 10x10 inch
- 2 cups fresh blueberries washed and dried
- ¼ cup sugar granulated (147g)
- 2 teaspoon corn starch (10g)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (4g)
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice (10 ml)
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon (1g)
- ¼ teaspoon salt (2g)
- 1 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter cut into small ½ inch dices (14 g)
- 1 egg beaten
- Preheat the oven to 400° F.
- Put all the filling ingredients except the blueberries together into a bowl and mix. Add the blueberries and mix well, coating the blueberries evenly. Set aside.
- Butter four, 4 inch tart or pie tins
- Take out one of the pie crusts Cut into four equal pieces. Press each square into the pie tin - pressing against the bottom and sides. Cut or press off any excess on the rims. Put them into the refrigerator to chill.
- Take out the second pie crust. Slice 8-10 half inch strips for a lattice top. Put the strips into the fridge.
- Take out the pie shells from the refrigerator. Place the mini pies on a baking sheet. Spoon the blueberry mixture into the pie shell. Take the pastry strips out of the refrigerator and place two across the pie. Take another two pieces and weave in and out creating a lattice. Cut the excess from the sides and press the ends to the edges.
- Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
- Place the mini pies in the middle of the pan. Line the baking sheet with parchment if desired, for faster clean up later as the blueberry juices may spill onto the pan. Bake in the middle of the over for about 20 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.
- Allow to rest in the oven with the door closed for about five minutes before cooling on a rack.
- Fresh vs. frozen blueberries - doesn't matter.
- Keep the pastry chilled - the pie crust needs to be kept in the fridge whenever it is not being used.
- Add the blueberries after mixing the other ingredients - to ensure an even bake as blueberries do not release a lot of juice like apples.
- Baking tip - cool the pie in the oven for a few minutes in the oven to ensure an even top and bottom crust bake
- Cup measure differences - does not make a material difference to this recipe.
- Fruit substitution - you can substitute other fruit - just remember that some fruit like apples and strawberries release a lot more juices than others.
- Storage - Nothing beats warm, freshly bakes pies but that being said these pies can be kept overnight - I cannot speak to longer as my pies have never lasted that long.