Ashley English certainly is a busy woman. She’s a gardening/backyard chickens/honeybee enthusiast like me… she’s also an amazingly prolific writer with five (!) books under her belt. Her latest book, A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies, landed in my mailbox last month and is well on it’s way to becoming as well loved a resource as her others.
This beautifully photographed cookbook begins with a user-friendly section that will answer any question you’ve possibly got about pie; Ashley also provides six master recipes for pie crust. The rest of the book is arranged by season, and features sweet and savory recipes for many of the pies one would “expect” (like Coconut Cream), but with Ashley’s unique take on each one: candied pumpkin seeds stud the top of her gingersnap crusted version of Pumpkin Pie and limoncello makes its way into her Lemon Meringue Pie. It’s also got recipes for many pies (as well as tarts and other pie-like creations) that are not so familiar (at least not to me): like the Blackberry Sonker and the Honey Pie.
Not being a huge fan of classic blueberry pie but wanting to do justice to some tasty local blueberries I had on hand, I decided to try Ashley’s Blueberry Refrigerator Pie a few weeks ago. I did not have any graham crackers so I used “Mi-Del” vanilla snaps in the crust instead and it worked out just fine; also, I substituted mascarpone cheese for the cream cheese.
This pie was really easy to prepare, and I served it for dessert to some friends who stopped by for an impromptu potluck while my kids were away at camp. We all went absolutely “gaga” for each dreamy bite.
My pie ended up being a bit soft: I think this is probably because I did not chill it long enough (or maybe it was because of the mascarpone). The taste and texture were lovely, though…I’d make it again in a second were it not for all the other pies from the book I want to try.
Ashley English's Blueberry Refrigerator Pie
Yield: Makes one 9″ (deep-dish) pie
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
*8 ounces/about 2 cups graham crackers (I substituted Mi-Del brand vanilla "snaps")
*8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
*2 tablespoons granulated sugar
*1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the Pie:
*1 tablespoon unsalted butter
*1 pint blueberries
*1/2 cup granulated sugar
*2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
*1 tablespoon lemon juice
*Grated zest of 1 lemon
*8 ounces cream cheese (I used mascarpone cheese instead), at room temperature
*2 cups ricotta cheese, at room temperature
For the Topping:
*1/2 pint blueberries
For the crust:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Crush the graham crackers either by pulsing them in a food processor or placing them in a plastic freezer bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin.
3. Combine the crushed graham crackers, melted butter, sugar, and salt in a medium-size bowl and stir until fully mixed. Press the mixture into a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, covering the bottom evenly and pressing the crumbs halfway up the sides (my pie plate was semi-deep-dish, so I pushed my crumbs up the sides a little higher…almost to the top).
4. Bake the crust 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and cool completely before filling.
For the Pie:
1. Melt butter in a medium sized saucepan. Add blueberries and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until berries begin to release their juices.
2. Mix together sugar and starch in a small bowl. Stir in the blueberry mixture, then add the lemon juice and zest and cook 5 minutes longer, until the mixture thickens.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese (or mascarpone) and ricotta.
4. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and puree for about one minute, until the mixture is smooth and creamy.
5. To assemble the pie, pour the blueberry and cheese mixture into the prepared pie crust. Arrange reserved blueberries evenly over the surface of the pie, then refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.
Adapted just a teeny bit from A Year of Pies: A Seasonal Tour of Home Baked Pies.
I am quite sure you’re going to adore A Year of Pies, so make sure to head over to Lark Crafts to enter their giveaway to win a signed copy :)
More Recipes from A Year of Pies:
More Fun with Blueberries: