Summer weekends in the city. When, no matter how early you wake up, the sun is already up before you with the promise of a day full of surprises. An afternoon walk means a series of encounters, random, mostly unexpected, that seem to beg to be written about: the shrieking kids running in and out of a gushing fire hydrant; the old man sitting under a beach umbrella on the sidewalk with a chess set in front of him waiting for a willing (daring?) opponent; the samba blaring out of a third floor apartment’s open window, whose occupant is sunbathing on her fire escape. There is both a sense of excitement and a languid attitude in the air. People are less grumpy, more outgoing, less likely to grumble because you are blocking their path on the sidewalk.
There is an ease to everything. Clothes are looser, smiles are easier, food tastes better. When the heat peaks in the middle of the afternoon, there is a primal human need for a cocktail, cold and preferably fizzy, that just comes to the surface. At dinner time, the outdoor tables of restaurants are packed, no matter the raucous traffic just a few feet away. Rosé is abundant and dishes are fresh and simple. And when time for dessert comes, if it’s not ice cream, then it’s a fresh blueberry pie, summer itself on a plate, a perfect ending to a perfect day.Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Fresh Blueberry Pie – Slightly adapted from Food 52 Genius Recipes
One uncooked single pie crust
1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten (optional)
4 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
1/2 liquid cup and two tablespoons water, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup whipped cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the border with your fingers. Line the crust with parchment, pleating it as necessary so it fits into the pan, and fill it with pie weights (rice or dried beans work well). Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully lift out the rice or beans with the parchment. With a fork, prick the bottom and sides, and bake 5-10 minutes, or until the crust is pale golden. Check after 3 minutes and prick any bubbles that may have formed. Cool the crust on a rack for 3 minutes, so it is no longer piping hot, then (optionally) brush the bottom and sides with the egg white — this will help keep the bottom crust from getting soggy.
Measure out 1 cup of the blueberries and place them in a medium saucepan together with the 1/2 cup water. Cover and bring them to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Set it aside.
When the water and blueberries have come to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes or until the blueberries start to burst and the juices begin to thicken. Stirring constantly, add the cornstarch mixture, the sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer for a minute or until the mixture becomes translucent. Immediately remove it from the heat and quickly fold in the remaining 3 cups of blueberries.
Spoon the mixture into the baked pie crust and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. When set, the berries will remain very juicy but will not flow out of the crust. Serve with whipped cream if desired. This pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.