I was very happy to find a message from Lori when I checked my e-mail Thursday PM and she was suggesting that we all meet in the cul-de-sac Friday PM for a BBQ! Although we had pulled our grills to the front a few times last year, all of our schedules just haven't lined up THIS summer. So, spur-of-the-moment, super-casual, laid-back, 'let's-all-share' is our best method of operation. If you can make it, we'd love to see you. If not? We miss out!
I figured I would grill some chicken and thought I would add the Roasted Corn Salad. I also knew as soon as I read the e-mail that I wanted to make the Blueberry Cream Pie to share. I had wanted to make it on July 4th, since I've traditionally done that. But our July 4th this year was spent alone and my kids LOVE the 4-layer dessert so I put the Blueberry Cream Pie on the back burner. Well, not really! If I did that, it would've been really gross! Because you see, this pie is a refrigerated one!
Funny how strange things serve as motivation. One of the main reasons I like to make this pie, besides the fact that it is CraZy GoOd, is that I have the perfect pie plate to put it in. Silly? Maybe, but I'm OK with that! I seem to have quite a collection of pitchers (love the shapes!), wooden spoons, and pie plates. I'm a sucker for the deep-dish, the scalloped edges, and the pottery designs. I couldn't even tell you where I found this particular plate, but just wait till you see the finished pie in it! You'll totally understand why I had to have it!
This pie has an amazing crust made out of Nilla Wafers. You make crumbs in the food processor, add melted butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Aly came running downstairs as it baked and said, "Wow! It smells like Cold Stone Waffle Cones! What are you making?"
Here's a glimpse of the pie plate! The full reveal to come later!
You bake the crust for 8-10 minutes at about 350˚F. If anyone has any idea as to how to keep the crust from becoming so hard after chilling, please let me know. It seems that every time I make this, the crust is almost impossible to get out. Perhaps if I add a little flour to the mixture? Hmm. . . thinking. . .
After you pull the crust out of the oven, it has to cool and that gives you ample time to make the filling. The filling is simply a vanilla pudding, so if you've only made pudding using the box kind, you'll get a new experience! It's really easy and NO, I wouldn't recommend using the instant kind in this dessert. There. I said it. Just go for learning a new skill, 'K?
Here's the Starting LineUp for the Vanilla Cream Filling:
Measure a cup of half-&-half, 3 T. butter, have your vanilla extract ready to go, and separate your eggs. This part of the recipe moves a bit fast, depending on your heat source, so you want to be sure to have things ready. Here's a mini-lesson on separating eggs. . . you can either use a handy dandy egg separator and just open your egg into it. . . the yolk stays and the white falls into the cup:
OR, you can crack the egg open and move the yolk back and forth from one shell to the other until all the white is gone.
Next add the flour, sugar, and salt to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and gradually mix the half-&-half. The 'heavy' helps with heat-distribution and keeps the pudding from sticking too awfully much, as long you are stirring enough. If you only have a thin-bottomed pot, use it anyway. Just stir your fool heart out!
After this is thick, mix part of it with the egg yolks to temper them. That's a technical way to say that if you put cold egg yolks into a hot liquid they will cook really fast and you'll have scrambled eggs in your pudding. NOT appetizing! So, heat them slowly with the hot cream mixture, them add that mixture to the pot and cook, stirring, till thick.
Pour the filling into the crust, put plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding, so it doesn't develop a skin, and refrigerate while you make the topping.
Starting LineUp for the Filling:
That's pretty much it. Blueberries. Actually, you also need some sugar and cornstarch. The recipe calls for fresh blueberries and that's what I normally use, but I haven't been picking this year yet and they are very expensive in the grocery store. So, I used the next best thing: frozen from TJ's!
Put 2 cups of 5 in a saucepan and smoosh them as they start cooking. Smoosh good because you want to end up with about a cup of juice when it's all told. After about 2 minutes of boiling and smooshing, press the berries through a sieve, keep the juice, and throw the pulp away.
Back in the same pot (OR another one if you really want to wash that much), gradually mix the juice with cornstarch and sugar. Bring it to a boil and boil two minutes, stirring constantly. Let it cool 15 minutes and gently stir in the rest of the blueberries. I got in too big of a hurry and didn't let my topping thicken enough and paid for it later!
When it's done, spoon it carefully onto the filling (after you've removed the plastic wrap!).
And the final score is . . . a Winner! I love how the blueberries reflect the star on the plate! Gorgeous!
Except that my topping was too thin and I renamed the pie: the Blueberry Bomb! I couldn't get the crust to let go of the plate (see I told you it was attractive), and the filling was too thin and just ran everywhere. I was disappointed in my impatience! As usual though, just because something looks like a bomb doesn't mean that it tastes bad! It was as good as usual!!
Here's the recipe in "copy-&-paste, printable form":
BLUEBERRY CREAM PIE
For the Crust, combine:
- 1 ⅓ c. nilla wafer crumbs
- 2 t. sugar
- 5 T. butter, melted
- ½ t. vanilla extract
. . . and press into the bottom and sides of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350˚F for 8-10 minutes or until crust, just begins to brown. Cool.
For the Filling:
- ¼ c. sugar
- 3 T. flour
- Pinch salt
- 1 c. half-&-half
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
- 3 T. butter
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1 T. confectioner's sugar
In a sauce pan, combine sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually whisk in cream; cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Gradually whisk half-into egg yolks; return all to pan. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla until butter is melted. Cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into crust; sprinkle with confetioner's sugar. Chill 30 minutes or until set.
For the Topping:
- 5 c. fresh blueberries
- divided, ⅔ c. sugar
- 1 T. cornstarch
Crush 2 c. blueberries in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Press berries through a sieve; set aside 1 c. juice (add water if necessary). Discard pulp. In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in blueberry juice; bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool 15 minutes. Gently stir in remaining berries; carefully spoon over filling. Chill 3 hours or until set. Store in refrigerator.