Joel spent a tiring weekend looking at new cars, so I wanted to make him some type of treat. He and his roommate both like blueberry pies, so I figured it'd be a good choice: they'd be able to demolish some pie pretty quickly, saving me from myself. I wanted to challenge myself a bit since my usual idea of baking is cupcakes from the box. (I know, I have nerve cupcake questing when my own cupcake skills are so limited. I'm working on it.) So, instead of making one big pie, I attempted muffin-sized "pielettes."
Since I had about a million other things on my to-do list, I took the easy way out and got ready-made refrigerated pie crusts. I found a very wide mug that helped me measure out perfectly-sized dough circles.
Then, I squished them carefully into muffin cups. This was a bit tricky, and as I found out later, I should have been more careful to make sure that the dough went over the edge of the cups. Later, I had some trouble pinching the top crust to the bottom crust. One of the two crusts in the Pillsbury package was enough for six muffin-sized bottom crusts. The remaining crust was more than enough for the top crusts.
I browsed around the web for a good blueberry pie filling recipe and settled on this one from The Cookie Shop. I think her mini pies are a bit bigger than mine. Otherwise, I have no clue how she fit so many rows of lattice on top! Anyway, the adorable photos and the easy recipe made this one a good choice. A couple differences: I used fresh blueberries (one pint) and added a dash of allspice.
After mixing up the filling, I spooned it into the cups and dotted the upper blueberries with butter.
Finally, it was time to attempt the top crust. I had never made a lattice crust before, so I referred to this tutorial on Gotta Little Space. It was slow going at first, but eventually I got into a rhythm. It was tricky since my pielettes were so small. In the end, I think they looked inconsistent but passable (or "rustic," said Joel).
I brushed them with egg so they'd be golden and shiny, and I threw them in the fridge to chill while I preheated the oven. And finally, I baked them!
While they were in the oven, I prepared sugary basil leaves for garnish. I had seen a recipe for mini strawberry shortcake sammies with sugared basil leaves on Delicious Dishings a few days earlier, and I was intrigued by the basil. (Actually, that whole recipe sounds amazing. I want to try it!) My basil was on the soggy side, but I was still pretty happy with it. Joel said it was good but didn't really go with the pie. I disagree; I think sugar and basil and blueberries are perfect together! The finished product, minus the Cool Whip that we added on just before serving:
My pielettes were a little rough around the edges, but I think they made up for it in taste! Plus, blueberries are extremely healthy.
What's so great about blueberries?
A substantial body of research in rats and mice has suggested that a handful of compounds found in blueberries, such as resveratrol and tannins, may have a protective effect on neurons, potentially delaying or alleviating age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's. Other studies suggest that blueberries may lower cholesterol, prevent urinary tract infections, delay the spread of hepatitis C, and help fight the development of some cancers, to name a few positive effects.
The US Highbush Blueberry Council has an extensive list of recent research detailing potential blueberries' health effects. The Council will of course tell you that blueberries are great for you, but you can browse through some of the papers to see that there is plenty of legit research being done.
I find this topic very interesting, so I'll be expanding on this section soon, but for now, I hope you enjoy reading about my mini pielettes!