FARGO — My family has some fairly strict standards about pie. If you make the crust by hand, you must keep all ingredients cold and handle it gently.
If you are stretched for time, it is OK to buy a pie crust — but only if it's Pillsbury and you hide the wrapper way in the bottom of the garbage can.
And lastly, apple pie is apple pie. Blueberry pie is blueberry pie, and never the twain shall meet. You don't start mixing fruits together, all willy-nilly, as if sanctioning some sort of gluttonous and untamed fruit-for-all.
Well, maybe it's OK to mix strawberries and rhubarb in a pie. But that's only because rhubarb is one of the sourest things on the planet, and so the strawberry is basically doing its civic duty by giving up its own life to make Rheum rhabarbarum palatable. The strawberry is kind of like the responsible exchange student to rhubarb's unruly neighborhood hoodlum. We need the strawberry's people-pleasing and courteous ways to tame the rule-bustin' and terrifyingly tart Rhubarb Without a Cause.
Fortunately, COVID has forced us all to bend the rules a bit in our kitchens and homes. Everyone out of canning supplies? Learn to blanch and freeze, baby! Pants don't fit? With just three seams, you can turn that old shower curtain into a caftan! Want to make pie but you only have three squishy apples? Hello neighbor, meet the Blueberrisons who live next door!
So that's exactly how I tried my very first apple-blueberry pie.
And you know what? It was a fruitopian dream! Blueberries add a juicy sweetness that nicely complements the slightly firm apple.
I also found a recipe from Allrecipes that was extremely adaptable. It has a sour creamy-semi-custardy layer and then a buttery, nutty, brown-sugary crumble. In fact, you could probably cut out the pie crust and just shoot straight for crumble territory. It would still be delicious.
The initial recipe calls for yogurt for the cream layer. I've made it twice. The first time, I used sour cream and it was amazing. The second time, I realized I only had 1/2 a cup of sour cream, so I dumped in black cherry yogurt to make up the difference. And you know what? Still amazing.
Here's my adapted recipe. After the exhilaration of exploring new pie frontiers, I will boldly suggest that you try some of your own fruit combinations, like blackberries and pears. Or raspberries and peaches. Whatever sounds good to you. It's a very flexible, inclusive, "We are the world, everyone's welcome except — blech — zucchini" pie.
Just don't get the sleeves of your new caftan caught in the oven.
'Blapple' Crumble Pie
- 3 cups apples, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and well-drained
- Lemon juice
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish pie crust
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (adjust according to preference)
- 1 cup plain yogurt (or 1 cup sour cream)
- 1 egg, well-beaten
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/3 cup brown sugar (if you prefer things sweet, add a couple of additional tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup soft butter
- Whipped cream, for serving
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss apples and blueberries in a small amount of lemon juice to avoid browning, and pour into unbaked pie crust.
To make cream layer, mix 1/4 cup flour and the white sugar, salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir in yogurt or sour cream, egg and vanilla extract. Blend well; pour batter over apples and blueberries. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the crumble: Combine 1/2 cup flour, nuts, oats and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Use fork or pastry blender to cut in butter until it resembles coarse crumbs; set aside.
After pie has been in oven 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking until crust is lightly browned (about 30-35 minutes). Sprinkle crumble mixture over pie and bake till golden brown (about 15 minutes or until apples feel soft when tested with a fork).
Cool before serving with a dollop of sweetened, whipped cream and a side order of fruitopian abandon.
Tammy Swift can be reached at email@example.com.