As I share this very summery recipe, I’m almost quivering with anticipation for fall. The sounds of crunchy leaves underfoot. The cozy, comforting food. The hot coffee. The pumpkin-everything. It’s fair to say that I’m a woman who loves the autumn most of all, and it’s where I feel most at home in the kitchen, too. But before I get ahead of myself, there’s still so much to come out of my summer kitchen.
To me, summer cooking is mainly impromptu, using up this and that from the overflow of produce that’s ripe with possibility. It’s summer’s song for simplicity that keeps my mood breezy in the kitchen on a hot day. Keeping it simple, classic and to-the-point will let summer’s bounty shine – which is precisely why I’m bringing you a no-frills recipe for blueberry pie made in a cast iron skillet. It’s not spiced with anything, and the crust shines in its simplicity with nutty whole wheat pastry flour, a little salt, sugar and butter, acting more like a shortbread cookie than a pie dough. And, it’s made with a very light hand of sugar (here, honey), because pie for breakfast might just happen.
More notes on off-the-cuff summer cooking can be found in the many pieces of tomato toast I’ve consumed, kept neat and tidy with mayo, salt and pepper. The new favorite dinner and weekend lunch around here, panzanella, uses what we have in the garden, topped with parm, bacon and maybe a hardboiled egg if we’re particularly hungry. I cooked a whole rainbow trout one evening last week, stuffing the cavity with fresh oregano (again, what we have in the garden), lime wheels, sliced garlic and salt. The trout was devoured to the bones with crusty bread drenched in olive oil and a few green beans, turning out to be one of the best meals I’ve made all summer.
I’ve grown more and more attached to this style of cooking, but rarely feel like it’s worthy of a blog post or inclusion in a cookbook. Sometimes I crave bold, different and punchy tastes that can’t be delivered by one or two ingredients, and I’m more than okay with that. It’s listening to you want to cook for yourself, your partner, your family, your friends that influences (I almost wrote, “dictates”) what comes out of the kitchen.
Yes, you do have to turn on the oven and heat up your house a bit, however, the preparation of this skillet, or “pot” pie is no sweat. Use wild or conventionally grown blueberries, either fresh or frozen, for a blueberry pie punctuated by the tang of Greek yogurt in the morning, or gussied up with a silky scoop of vanilla ice cream in the evening. A classic-ish recipe that’s exactly what I wanted in this moment (until apple season).
The 3 leftover discs of pastry will make 1 regular pie (top and bottom crust) or 3 additional fruit pot pies. Use whatever fruit you have on hand such as peaches, apples, pears or berries.
I enjoy this for dessert with a thick, full-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream, but it makes an equally delicious breakfast (with yogurt) due to its low sugar content.
- ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ¾ cup light spelt flour
- 1 teaspoon evaporated cane sugar (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, cubed and frozen
- ¼ cup ice water, more or less as required
- ¼ recipe Whole Wheat Pie Crust, from above
- 4 cups fresh or frozen (undefrosted) blueberries (I was lucky enough to find wild blueberries)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons honey, to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon milk, for brushing
- For the crust: In a food processor or large bowl with a pastry cutter, blend flour, sugar and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse or cut until pea-sized pieces of butter remain. Working 1 tablespoon at a time, add water, pulsing or stirring after each addition, until dough holds together between your fingers. Dump onto a piece of parchment paper and form into 4, 2-inch-high discs; wrap and chill for at least 1 hour, until cold. Freeze 3 discs for another use and bring one out to roll.
- For the filling: In a large bowl, mix all Blueberry Skillet Pie ingredients until combined. Transfer to a 9-inch cast iron skillet or pie plate.
- On a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of parchment paper, roll dough into a ¼-inch-high rough circle. Transfer on top of berries, tuck in edges, crimp (I used a fork) and create a few air holes in the center with a knife or cookie cutter. Brush pastry with milk.
- Bake pie in 425ºF oven for 5 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 375ºF and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer, until bubbling and crust is brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes to serve warm, or cool completely and serve room temperature. Keep leftovers lightly covered at room temperature for up to 5 days.