Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blueberry Pie With Goat Cheese and Basil

Inspired by a pie of the same name, served at a diner featured on the Food Network, I decided to go recipe-less on this one. Well, not entirely true. I did followed a guide for the pie dough. I just found Michael Ruhlman's (of the bread conversion from last post) iPhone App - Ratio. It's based on his book of the same name and provides the basic culinary ratios for things like bread, pie and pasta dough, custard, etc. It's a pretty cool little app, letting you tap in different amounts of basic ingredients (flour, fat, sugar) and calculating the correct proportion of other basic ingredients.

I followed the standard  proportions for pie dough - all proportions by weight not volume:
3 parts flour, with 1/2 tsp salt for every 10 -12 oz - I also added about 1 Tbs sugar.
2 parts fat - I made an all butter crust.
1 part water.
Lots of chilling involved in this crust. About 30 min in the fridge after the dough is first formed, 60 minutes once in the pie plate, another 30 once the dough is trimmed and the edges crimped. The result was a  fantastic, flaky crust.

But now, it gets really interesting. Blueberries, goat cheese & fresh basil. I really had no idea of the proportions for this, so I just guessed. Here's what I did. Oh, and this was for a 6 inch pie, a wee pie as I like to call it.
1 pint blueberries
About (maybe just under) 2 oz of goat cheese
About a 1/4 cup of heavy cream
Just under 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
10 - 12 fresh basil leaves, chopped.

I mixed the goat cheese (let it soften first), cream and brown sugar together until it had the consistency of a loose frosting. Added the basil next, then the blueberries, mixing enough to coat the berries without crushing them. In hindsight, I think some cornstarch mixed in before the berries would have helped create a firmer filling. Or maybe tapioca pearls?

The filling got mounded up in the chilled dough and topped with a oatmeal crumb topping. Here I followed a basic Fanny Farmer recipe. I knew that Fanny's recipe would give me more topping that I needed for the pie and more than I needed to snack on, so I pared that down as well.

For my oatmeal crumb topping improv, I ended up with something on the order of:

1/2 stick unsalted butter - room temp to coolish
A bit less than 3/4 c of light brown sugar, flour and old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4-1/2 c slivered almonds
Pinch o' salt
This is easy to mix up using a pastry cutter. You are going for a mixture of a range of chunk sizes.

I made a little pie-lette, with my extra dough and filling
The pie went into a 450 oven for 10 minutes (on a baking sheet) and then baked at 350 for about 45 minutes more. I found I had to cover the pie loosely with some foil after about 20 minutes, as my crumb topping was getting a bit dark.

This was a terrific pie. The goat cheese gave it a bit of tang, but I'd say the basil was the real star. It was just enough to remind you of its presence, but it didn't overpower at all. 

This pie got me thinking about other savory/sweet mash ups to try with some fresh herbs mixed in. Good pie experimenting and eating ahead!

A bit oozy, but very tasty!


  1. You need to add a 1/4 cup of flour and it is perfect. I use only the slivered almonds with butter and sugar as the topping. try it!

  2. Hi Miriam Anne - I'm glad you tried this recipe and thanks for the tip about the flour.

  3. Thanks for posting this. I saw that episode and I've been searching all over for the recipe. This is the only place I've found it so far. I'm going to try it out tonight

  4. I saw the same episode. Thanks for testing a recipe. I added the extra 1/4 cup, the juice and zest of a lemon and skipped the crust. (We ate it like a cobbler.) Very tasty!

  5. Hi there, here is the recipe for the pie:

    Good work on going it alone without the recipe, it looks like you got great results.

  6. Ooo... thanks so much for working on this! I just saw that episode and went looking for potential recipes to give it a try. I've got the added twist of needing to do it without cow's milk, but I think I can swing it using your recipe as a guideline!

  7. can't wait to try this out! Saw the episode myself and plan on serving this at my daughter's lemonade themed bday party (for the adults w/ spiked lemonade!!) YUM