Blueberry Port Pie

It's PIE WEEK! It's like Shark Week...but more fierce.

I've got five pies lined up for you this week.  I've been eating and testing all sorts of flavors for you!

Recently, I attended a pie workshop to learn some tips and tricks that I hope to pass along to you.  The workshop was taught by the head chef at Cornbread & Caviar in Stafford, Virginia.  Many facets of the recipes were not vegan-friendly, including the pounds and pounds of butter!  I've taken some pieces of the recipe and veganized them for you!

The chef did start out by adding some Port to the blueberries, so I was definitely on board with that!  This recipe below is probably my favorite blueberry pie...EVER.  You won't be disappointed, whether you're vegan or not.  I did reduce some of the sugar so that this pie would be less of a guilty pleasure.

Although I always try to buy my berries organic, it's just not always practical on a tight budget.  My FAVORITE blueberry to buy frozen is Wyman's Wild Blueberries. They are natural and smaller, but they have so much flavor packed in them!  I think that this giant bag cost about $10 at Wal-mart.  It will make close to two pies.  They are the best-tasting blueberries.  For real!

Ingredients:
2 homemade pie crusts, recipe here

1/2 c. tapioca starch or cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 c. organic cane sugar
1.5 lbs. frozen blueberries, preferably Wyman's of Maine
1/3 c. Port, dessert wine
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 c. pure maple syrup

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°. As outlined in the pie directions, bake the bottom crust of the pie for about 10-12 minutes.  Change the heat to 370°. 

In the mean time, measure out your blueberries - I used my kitchen scale.  Take one-third of those blueberries and place them in a medium-sized, heavy bottomed pan.  Place the other two-thirds of the berries in a large bowl.

In the pan with the blueberries, add the Port, vanilla, and maple syrup.  Cook this mixture over medium-high heat until the blueberries are bursting and softened, maybe 15-20 minutes.

In the bowl with the other frozen blueberries, add the tapioca starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar.  Stir and coat the blueberries.  (Mixing it like this will keep the tapioca/cornstarch from clumping together!)

Once the blueberries are done bursting and cooking, pour the mixture into the bowl with the frozen blueberries.  Stir and combine all of the ingredients, maybe even another small splash of Port?!  Let it sit for another minute or two to thicken.  It will smell positively amazing!

Pour this filling into the semi-cooked pie shell. TIP: Be sure to keep a cookie tray underneath the pie pan while it's in the oven.  Juicy pies like this are likely to leak.  

Confession time - while rolling out the top half of the pie crust, I went to place a fancy design on top and it plopped right into the blueberry juice.  I fished it out and re-rolled it.  This is why the crust looks like it's blue tie-dye...because it is.

Instead, I made a lattice crust with the tie-dyed dough - and surprisingly it went well!  My one word of advice: take your time.  I need to listen to my own advice sometimes!

Bake this pie for about 25 minutes.

Remember to let it cool/stand for 30-45 minutes, or else all of the berries will flood out when you cut it!

The best combination is blueberry pie and ice cream.  Try to make one of my dairy-free ice creams!  The combo will make your day!

Cheers,
-Aileen