Tag Archives: blueberry

Blueberry Pie in a New Home

Blueberry Pie 3

***DISCLAIMER: If you are just here for the pie, scroll to the bottom of the post NOW. Otherwise, you will be subjected to a long-winded not-pie-related-at-all monologue on our family’s journey this summer from Pittsburgh to Baltimore. Not exactly a physically pioneer-worthy trek, but definitely an emotionally arduous one. So for those who are sticking this post out (i.e. my mother), welcome to the Smith family “What did you do this summer?” post. And yes, there will be pie at the end.

New House

We are officially moved into our new Maryland home now! While we have made a lot of unpacking progress, much of the house still looks like this:

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Two months ago today, we moved out of our Pittsburgh home, wandered around homeless for a month, then moved into our home in Carroll County, Maryland on July 7-8. The morning of July 8 (with movers still hauling in furniture and endless boxes), Brian and Little A left on a Boy Scout backpacking trip along the Appalachian Trail. Middle K also left that day for a 2 ½ week humanitarian service trip to Fiji sponsored by BYU’s HEFY program.  So while Little J and I unpacked, painted walls, rearranged furniture and made endless trips to Home Depot, Middle K lounged on Pacific island beaches soaking up a tan. (Actually she worked really hard in a remote village building outhouse type toilets <that flush>, complete with septic tanks they dug out and installed).


**LIFE TIP FOR TEENAGERS** When your parents decide to move you just before your senior year in high school (after 14 years in one city, one house, one school district, one set of awesome friends), if you approach the move without throwing tantrums, issuing threats or otherwise making an already difficult move even more painful—if instead, you approach it with grace and maturity (love you Middle K!), you will find your parents much more likely to say “yes” to questions like: can I redo my new room when we move? and the bathroom? can I buy some new furniture? can I go across the world to Fiji and do humanitarian work for the summer?





So grateful for this amazing daughter who has grown into such an incredible young woman. I am really going to miss her when she leaves for college next year.

Kelsey Mt. Rushmore

During our month of homelessness, I decided to drive with the kids out to Boise, Idaho to visit my parents and sister (who live there) and other sister and her kids who joined us there from Texas. It was great to visit with family and for cousins to get together again. Many thanks to Mom & Dad for housing us all and for fabulous Aunt Myrna who opened up her home to us in Boise and let us hang out at her cabin at Cascade Lake.

Here are a few pics of our trip west. On our way there we detoured north to visit Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone. The drive through the Black Hills National Forest was one of my favorites. On the way home, we went south through Utah (doing college tours with upcoming senior Middle K) and then visited Bryce Canyon before heading east again.

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Mount Rushmore

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Old Faithful: not as impressive as I had expected. And so crowded!

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Boogie boarding the rapids on Payette River. We left with a few war wounds.

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Awesome time hanging out with Grandma and cousins!
(Grandpa too, but he is tough to nail down for a picture)

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It was REALLY hot in Idaho and Utah!

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Saw some temples in Logan and Provo that we hadn’t seen before.

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Bryce Canyon

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While we had a great time touring the country and visiting extended family, it is nice to be settled again, and to not have Brian commuting from Baltimore to Pittsburgh every weekend. Many props also to Brian who stayed in Baltimore working and missed most of these adventures (someone had to bankroll all of this fun!).

While some of us have been road-tripping the US, building toilets in Fiji and working in Baltimore, the other 2 members of our family have been off on their own adventures. Justin is doing a semester abroad this summer in Jerusalem. He gets home this week and will be here for about 2 weeks before going back to BYU.

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Dome of the Rock

And since last October, our oldest daughter, Alyssa, has been serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Berlin, Germany. We got to talk to her on Christmas and Mother’s Day, but mostly we rely on emails and the occasional picture to know how she is doing. So at one point this summer, our 7-person family was spread across 4 countries (and 2 states). That is definitely a challenge for a mom’s heart.

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Rapunzel's CastleAlyssa and Bach

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But enough maudlin rambling: it is time for pie!

Blueberry Pie 1

Little A’s 13th birthday arrived in the middle of this chaotic summer and we celebrated with an awesome blueberry pie. Little A is much more a pie guy than a cake guy.

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And it turns out that in moving from Pennsylvania to Maryland, we are now closer to Amish country! And there is an Amish farm down the road that sells huge ripe blueberries for a couple of weeks in the summer. When I get more time, I can’t wait to go north (about 30-40 minutes, from what I hear) and hit up all of the fresh stuff at the Amish auctions there. My kids are also on the prowl for a great Amish donut place (Soergels: we miss you!).

Blueberry Pie 2


Blueberry Pie

Blueberry Pie 1

Double pie crust (see recipe below)
6 cups fresh blueberries
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
¾ cup sugar (adjust based on the sweetness of berries)
3 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbs cold butter
Egg wash: 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 Tbs heavy cream

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place dough for one pie crust in a DEEP DISH pie plate (for a regular pie plate, reduce amount of filling).

In a large bowl, stir together the blueberries, lemon juice and zest. In a small bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt and cinnamon. Stir into berries and mix well. Spoon into the unbaked pie crust, mounding berries in the center. Dot blueberry mixture with small pieces of the cold butter.

Top with remaining pie crust. Seal and flute edges of the pie crust. Use a sharp knife to cut slits in the top of the crust (for steam to escape). Brush crust with egg wash. Place a large piece of foil on the lower rack on the oven to catch drips from the pie as it bakes.

Cover edges of crust with a pie crust shield and bake at 375°F for 60-80 minutes, or until filling is hot and bubbly (you should start to see filling bubbling from the center slits in your crust).

Double Pie Crust

2 ½ cups flour
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter
4-6 Tbs ice-cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse once. Add butter, in 1 Tbs chunks, and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add water and vanilla, 1 Tbs at a time, until dough just barely sticks together. (If you are not using a food processor, grate very cold or frozen butter into flour mixture using a cheese-type grater. Stir with a fork, or pastry cutter, and then slowly add water until dough sticks together.)

Divide dough in half and roll out each piece of dough on a lightly floured surface. If dough is too sticky to work with, place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Top with a second piece of plastic wrap and press with your hands or a rolling pin until dough is a thick disk. Refrigerate 30-60 minutes, then roll again until thin enough to fit pie plate (about a 12-13” in diameter).

NOTE: For information on how to make your own pie-shield, click HERE.




Filed under Desserts

Triple Berry Syrup


Triple Berry Syrup

  • Servings: Makes 3 cups
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4 cups mixed frozen berries
1/3 cup raspberry jam (I used this homemade Raspberry Nectarine Jam)
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
½ Tbs cornstarch

Combine berries, jam and sugar in a saucepan. Mix together water and cornstarch and mix into berries in pan. Over medium heat, cook sauce until thickened and just barely beginning to boil. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers. Serve over Waffles, Pancakes, Cheesecake, Ice Cream

Makes about 3 cups syrup


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Filed under Breakfast/Brunch, Condiments/Sauces, Uncategorized

Blueberry Syrup



Blueberry Syrup

  • Servings: Makes 4 cups
  • Print


5 cups blueberries
3 cups water
1 cup sugar (Turbinado or regular white sugar)
1 whole lemon, washed

Using a sharp paring knife, peel three or four strips of lemon peel from the lemon. Skin should be about ½-inch wide and not have too much of the bitter pith or white part on it. Then juice the lemon, and set both zest and juice aside.

Place blueberries and 1 cup of the water in a medium pot. Don’t worry about stems or leaves; they will be strained out later. Using a potato masher, crush the berries. Over medium-high heat, bring the berries and water to a boil, then lower the temperature to medium-low. Simmer berries for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. They will darken considerably.

Remove pot from heat and ladle berries into a fine sieve set over a heat-proof bowl or measuring cup. Using the back of a  ladle, press on the berry solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard solids.

Wash out your pot, then add the remaining 2 cups of water, lemon peel(not juice yet), and the sugar. Bring to a boil and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes until the mixture thickens (or reaches 225°F). Add reserved blueberry juice and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and stir to combine. Boil another minute or two. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Remove lemon zest.

Using a funnel, pour syrup into clean jars. Top with lid and store in the refrigerator for up to six months. Or process in sterile canning jars with a boiling bath canner (Process half pints for 10 minutes; pints for 15 minutes).

Serve over Cheesecake, Waffles, Pancakes, Ice Cream

Makes about 4 cups

Recipe from Simple Bites


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Filed under Breakfast/Brunch, Canning/Freezing, Condiments/Sauces, Uncategorized

Creamy Citrus Cheesecake

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For Brian’s birthday a couple of weeks ago we had this wonderful cheesecake. It is a very creamy cheesecake flavored with lemon and orange zest and juice. You can use blood oranges or regular naval oranges. Lime would also be a great flavor, instead of the lemon. The recipe comes from Aimée Bourque, who is the editor of Simple Bites and author of the blog Under the High Chair.

The original recipe did not have you bake the cheesecake in a water bath, but I did because I think it helps the cheesecake cook more uniformly, and reduces cracks on the top of the cheesecake. To prepare your pan for a waterbath, wrap the springform pan in a double layer of foil. Or: this time I did one layer of foil and then put the pan in an oven-safe bag (the kind used for roasting turkeys). Place wrapped pan in a larger roasting pan and add hot, almost boiling, water to the roasting pan to a level about halfway up the outside of the springform pan.

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If you are nervous about moving a pan full of boiling water: pull the oven rack out slightly from the hot oven. Place roasting pan on the oven rack, place springform pan in the roasting pan, and then add boiling water to the roasting pan. Carefully push oven rack back into the oven.3711 150-1

Just out of the oven-No Cracks!

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A citrus zest-spiked sour cream makes a perfect topping and hides any imperfections that develop in the top of the cheesecake as the cheesecake cools.

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I served this cheesecake with fresh blueberries and this fabulous homemade Blueberry Syrup.

It is flavorful enough that it could also be served on its own without any topping.


Creamy Citrus Cheesecake

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1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 ½ Tbs granulated sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

3 pkg (24 oz) cream cheese
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup sour cream
Zest and juice of one lime or small lemon (wash before zesting)
Zest and juice of half an orange (wash before zesting; remaining half will be used in topping)
5 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup sour cream
Zest and juice of half an orange
6 Tbs granulated sugar

Place oven rack on the lowest level of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.

For the crust:
In a small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter and mix. Press onto the bottom of a nine-inch springform pan. Bake crust for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden. Cool. Wrap springform pan in a double layer of foil, or one layer of foil and then place in an oven bag (like the kind used for turkeys). Place springform pan in a larger roasting pan.

For the filling:
With a mixer, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add sour cream, citrus zest and juice. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just incorporated.

Pour filling over crumb crust.  Fill roasting pan (not springform pan!) with very hot (almost boiling) water to about 2-inches deep.

Bake cheesecake in the water bath for about 60 minutes. The cheesecake will have puffed significantly, and the middle will still be slightly jiggly. Remove pan from water bath and run a sharp knife around the sides, but do not remove ring. Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack on the counter.

For the topping:
Combine sour cream, orange zest and juice, and sugar together in a small bowl. Pour over slightly cooled cheesecake and let stand for half an hour at room temperature.
Cover cheesecake pan tightly with plastic wrap, taking care not to disturb the surface of the cheesecake. Chill for at least four hours or overnight.

To serve:
Remove plastic wrap and lift off the outer edge of the spring form pan. If desired, slide a sharp knife under the crust and slide the cheesecake off the spring form base and onto a cake stand or serving platter.

Serve cheesecake alone, or topped with fresh berries or homemade blueberry syrup.

Recipe adapted from Aimée Bourque on Savory Sweet Life



Filed under Desserts

Fruit Pizza

080610 078-1 Summer is birthday season at our house. With one child’s birthday at the beginning of summer and then three more within four weeks of each other later in the  summer , we have a lot of cake and sugar floating around our house. So I am grateful for Big J for going with a lighter dessert for his birthday yesterday. He usually goes for the more non-traditional birthday desserts. And with all of the fresh fruit available, I was really happy to make a Fruit Pizza.

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Eighteen Years! Eighteen years, in a land far, far away, my life changed forever. I can’t decide whether those 18 years have flown by, or that I’ve been a mom forever. Either way, it has been a wonderful journey. I love you J! It’s these coming years, as my babies slowly start leaving the nest that are making me nervous.

080610 051-1 This Fruit Pizza has a shortbread crust, a thin layer of slightly sweetened cream cheese, luscious summer fruit, and a light glaze on top. The fruit I used, from the inside out: blueberries, mango, raspberries, kiwi and strawberries.

The glaze is made from any light-colored fruit juice (I used a peach-mango, which turned out great!), some sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice (to keep cut fruit from browning, especially if you are using bananas or peaches).

Pre-Glazed Fruit Pizza:

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Fruit Pizza

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½ cup powdered sugar
1 ½ cups flour
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract

8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Fruit (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwi, mangos, peaches, grapes, pineapple, raspberries, etc.)

½ cup sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch or Clear Jel
2 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ cups clear fruit juice (apple, white grape, peach-mango,lemonade, etc)

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Crust: Using a pastry blender, mix ½ cup powdered sugar, flour, salt, butter, and ½ tsp vanilla. Press onto a pizza pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool completely.

Filling: Combine cream cheese, 2 Tbs powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla. Spread over cooled crust. Arrange fruit on cream cheese layer.

Glaze: Combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and fruit juice in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is thickened. Cool and spoon over fruit (all of the glaze may not be used). Chill. Slice into wedges to serve.



Filed under Desserts, Uncategorized