Some people are bound by rules of what foods they ought to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’m not. I enjoy cold pizza (and pasta, and leftover Chinese food) for breakfast, and pancakes, scrambled eggs, and toast for dinner. It’s not because I’m such a contrary soul, although there’s something to that, but it’s more that I have an appetite and a palette that don’t recognize the idea that delicious should be represented by a time of day. Hence, there’s very little wasted food at my house: If there are leftovers, I’ll eat them. Which brings me to this blueberry pie…I love blueberry pie, and it’s no news that it’s one of the best things about summer. Years ago I perfected a formula that I live by when blueberries are in season (and even when they’re not and I just feel like making it). I often add spice to my pies to temper the sweetness and add an aromatic quality to them, and this pie is no exception. Orange zest and allspice bring out the blueberry flavor without overpowering the fruit. And I happen, this very morning, to be in possession of just one leftover piece of said spicy blueberry pie. It is outrageous, isn’t it, to find yourself in such a predicament. And whatever your views on saving dessert for last and all that, I’m sure even the most puritanical among you would agree that I have no choice but to eat it for my breakfast. My kids are out the door, at camp and preschool, and I’m left to my own devices for breakfast. I think I’ll pick this piece of pie up with my hands.
If you want to make this pie, try to save one last slice for when you think you might be alone in the kitchen at breakfast time. It will be your own private best breakfast ever.
Spiced Blueberry Pie
6 to 8 Servings
4 cups blueberries (about 1 1/2 pints)
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Pie Crust Pastry (recipe follows)
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water, to make glaze
1. Preheat oven to 400. In a medium bowl, toss together the blueberries and orange zest. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of the sugar, the tapioca, and the allspice.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one of the pastry disks to an 11-inch round and fit it into a 10-inch pie dish. With scissors, trim the pastry to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the dish.
3. Pour the blueberries evenly into the dish and sprinkle the sugar-tapioca mixture over the top.
4. Roll the remaining pastry disk into an 11-inch round. Drape the pastry over the berries and trim to within 1 inch of the edge of the dish. Tuck the edge of the pastry rim neatly under the bottom crust. Crimp the edge to seal. Cut a 5-inch cross in the center of the crust.
5. Brush the pie crust with the egg glaze and fold open the cross to form a square. Brush the turned-up pastry corners with glaze. Sprinkle the crust with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.
6. Set the pie on a baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 50 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the sugar and tapioca are absorbed by the berries. If the pastry is browning too quickly, loosely cover the pie with a sheet of aluminum foil for the last 10 minutes.
Pie Crust Pastry
You can make this ahead and freeze it for up to a month.
Makes a 9-inch double pie crust
4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1. In a measuring cup, lightly beat the egg. Add enough of the ice water to measure 1/2 cup.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, shortening, and the butter. Rub or cut the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
3. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir the mixture into a dough.
4. Turn out the dough onto a sheet of waxed paper and knead briefly into a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half, pat each piece into a smooth 6-inch disk, wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.