Serious Eats: Sweets
Pie of the Week: Blueberry-Blackberry Pie with Pretzel Crust
While picking up a celebratory pint of sorbet in the freezer section a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a fantastic tattoo on the shoulder of a fellow shopper: a little girl, smiling happily, eating blueberries in the middle of a field of the azure-colored treats. I immediately recognized it as the cover image from the 1949 Caldecott Award winning children's book, Blueberries for Sal. In the story, Sal is a mischievous little girl who, while picking blueberries, temporarily gets mixed up with a bear cub and causes all kinds of trouble for her beleaguered, jam-making mother.
Picking berries was one of my favorite childhood activities, and blackberry thickets were just waiting for tiny, eager hands to brave the bramble and thorns and reach for the juicy purple berries. A pretzel-crusted, blueberry-blackberry pie is just the dessert to satisfy that summer's day craving—and quite possibly stain mouths everywhere with a tell-tale blue hue.
The rule for picking out high quality blueberries or blackberries is largely the same for both fruit: if they are even a touch red or burgundy, they aren't ripe enough to eat. Blueberries should have a deep cobalt shade closer to the color of slate than a blue jay, and blackberries should look deep enough purple that they could pass for black to an untrained eye. If you're feeling adventurous, the blueberry-blackberry pie would also be just as tasty by substituting in elderberries, mulberries, or gooseberries for the blackberries in the dish.
The pretzel crust is a crunchy, savory balance to the velvety texture of the pie, and is best made with thin pretzel rods. If you're interested in a crust that errs on the side of a more traditional graham cracker style, crush the pretzels very finely and add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of sugar to the mixture. If you're more of a chunky mindset, leave the pretzels a bit of coarse texture and enjoy a bit of snap with each bite.
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About the author: Sarah Baird is a writer, editor, and petit four aficionado living in New Orleans, Louisiana. She likes planning elaborate dinner parties surrounded by her collection of dwarf citrus trees. You can read her latest musings and about her various misadventures on her website: hellosarahbaird.com or follow her on Twitter: @scbaird.