I recently found a 1919 recipe for Blueberry Pie with Meringue that made my mouth water – yet it called for canned blueberries (which didn’t seem very appealing to me). A hundred years ago blueberries were available only a few weeks a year, and to preserve the goodness of the berries for later use, many were canned. As a result, cooks needed recipes that called canned blueberries.
I generally permit myself to make only minimal changes when making old recipes, but there exceptions to every rule. Since I just couldn’t bring myself to use canned blueberries – and since I really wanted to try this recipe, I decided to substitute fresh berries for the canned ones.
The recipe turned out well – though the baking time was longer when fresh blueberries are used. The blueberries in the filling were embedded in a lovely, almost custard-like sauce; and, when topped with an airy meringue, it created an irresistible pie.
Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks.
Blueberry Pie with Meringue
2 cups blueberries
2 egg yolks
1tablespoon lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour or 2 tablespoons corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 8-inch (small) pie shell
2 egg whites
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) sugar
Preheat oven to 425° F. Put egg yolks, lemon juice, sugar, flour (or corn starch) and salt in a mixing bowl; beat until thoroughly combined. Crush about a quarter of the blueberries with a fork or your fingers, then stir all the blueberries into the sugar mixture. Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie shell. Place in oven, and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F. Cook an additional 35 minutes or until the filling thickens. (As the filling cooks, it will first be very juicy; and then will become thicker.)
In the meantime, make the meringue. Place egg whites in a bowl, and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gradually add sugar while continuing to beat. Then spoon on top of the pie and swirl. Reduce oven temperature to 325 ° F. Place pie back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned.