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Dorothy Dean presents: Petite mini blueberry pies are bites of pure bliss

UPDATED: Mon., April 26, 2021

By Audrey Alfaro For The Spokesman-Review

Tie on your apron and head to the kitchen: There’s baking to be done, as it is National Blueberry Pie Day! Celebrated on April 28, this delicious foodie holiday is dedicated to that classic American dessert that combines a flaky pie crust with luscious blueberry filling.

Blueberry season begins in April and lasts through September, giving plenty of time to enjoy one of nature’s top superfoods. Bursting with nutrients, blueberries are rich in antioxidants and vitamins and are good for your heart health, eyesight, brain function and mental health.

Other interesting facts about blueberries: They are one of the only foods that are naturally blue in color. Blueberry pie is the official state dessert of Maine and the official state fruit, which is not surprising as Maine is the largest producer of wild blueberries in the U.S.

Blueberries do not ripen after they are picked. A single blueberry bush can produce as many as 6,000 blueberries per year. The largest blueberry on record weighs 0.57 ounces and has a diameter of 1.4 inches.

It was grown in Australia and belongs to the Ozblu variety, which is known for its large size. The white, powdery coating on blueberries is called bloom, and it’s a natural protectant against bacteria and the elements. It also is a sign of freshness, as it fades with time and handling.

OK, back to baking. We’re going to make celebrating as easy as pie with mini-versions of blueberry pie. Using store-bought pie crust, an easy batch of blueberry filling and lemon-kissed whipped topping, these bite-sized treats couldn’t be simpler to make.

The ready-to-use dough is cut with a flower-shaped cookie cutter (a round cutter can be used, as well). The dough flowers are then pressed into a mini muffin tin and chilled before being baked and served.

Next, we make the filling. Blueberries, sugar, flour, water and salt is simmered until glossy and thickened. The whipped topping mixes in minutes by combining heavy cream with sugar and lemon juice and beating it into billowy, light peaks.

We’re now ready to assemble the pies. Each mini-crust is filled with a dollop of the filling, followed by a swirl of whipped topping and a fresh blueberry. With their tender, flaky crusts, juicy blueberry filling and creamy bright topping, these petite pies are bites of pure bliss.

And not only are they delicious, they’re pretty, too! The flower petal crust makes these individual portions elegant enough for special occasions including Mother’s Day, bridal and baby showers, birthdays and Easter.

You can use your favorite homemade pie crust recipe if you prefer, and these can also be made in a regular-sized muffin/cupcake tin. Just adjust the cookie-cutter size and the baking time accordingly.

And the blueberry filling can be used all-around. Try it on pancakes, waffles, cheesecake, French toast, ice cream, yogurt and crepes.

Blueberry Mini-Pies

For the crust:

1 box refrigerated pie crusts (2 pie crusts), softened as directed on the box

Egg wash (1 egg yolk, beaten with ½ tablespoon of water)

For the filling:

2 ½ cups fresh blueberries

¾ cup sugar

⅓ cup flour

6 tablespoons water

¼ teaspoon salt

For the topping:

1 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons sugar

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Fresh blueberries

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out the pie crusts onto a well-floured surface. Using a 3- to 4-inch flower-shaped cookie cutter, cut out shapes in the pie crusts (you can use a round or biscuit cutter for the shapes, as well). Re-roll the scraps and cut more flowers.

Press the flowers into a greased mini-muffin tin and gently fold the petals back around the top of the muffin pan. Prick the bottoms with a fork and brush with the egg wash.

Freeze for 20 minutes, then bake for 9-11 minutes, or until the edges are golden; set aside to cool.

To make the filling, add the blueberries, sugar, flour, water and salt into a small saucepan. Stir until thickened over medium heat, about 10 minutes; set aside.

To make the whipped topping, add the heavy cream to a medium-sized bowl and beat until it begins to thicken. While beating, gradually add the sugar and lemon juice and beat until stiff peaks form. Fill a piping bag or zip-top bag (with the corner snipped off) with whipped cream; set aside.

To assemble the pies, spoon about a tablespoon of mixture into each flower cup, followed by a swirl of whipped topping and a blueberry.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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