Blueberries-and-Cream Slab Pie — Bake-Ahead Batches
Up until some years ago, I was a cultivated-blueberry kind of gal. I’m from Connecticut, and those fat, sweet blueberries were ubiquitous. The cultivated blueberries were the ones we picked in the patches on sticky summer days. And they were always the ones we used to dot our pancakes and load our muffins. Until recently I never gave my blueberry choice any thought. Those babies were refreshing and tasty, and I loved them.
Then I met a man from Maine. And I met his mother. I can remember one evening some years ago when said mother, Deborah, served us a rustic blueberry galette for dessert. She told us how she had gone for a hike and come across a patch of ripe wild Maine blueberries. She picked what she could, took them back home and baked them into a simple pastry crust. I was amazed. First of all, the color of those syrupy cooked blueberries was unlike anything I had seen — so deep and purple. The thick, glorious juice had bubbled up and over the edge of the crust and had caramelized seductively underneath. Second, the flavor of those wild blueberries was unique. They tasted of blueberry times 10. They were floral and savory, with the perfect jammy balance of tart and sweet. That galette was simple perfection and changed the way I looked at blueberries forever.
Now I bake exclusively with wild blueberries. The cultivated fruits are great for snacking and for breakfast, but nothing bakes up better than a wild blueberry. While fresh wild berries are available only for a short window, frozen berries are easy to find all year round. They don’t even need to be thawed before using.
This generous slab pie combines frozen wild blueberries and a decadent cream cheese filling in one big, all-butter pastry crust. The result is a pie that showcases one of my favorite fruits in an easy-to-share package.
Samantha Seneviratne is a New York-based writer, recipe developer and food stylist. She is the author of The New Sugar and Spice (Ten Speed Press), a baking cookbook combining family stories and food history with recipes that reimagine dessert as a more balanced mix of sugar and spice. Her second book, Gluten Free for Good (Clarkson Potter), comes out August in 2016. She blogs about dessert at Love, Cake.