real life test kitchen: blueberry-ginger pie

Everywhere I look I see pints of bursting blueberries calling me name…. ‘Angela, buy me. Bake me in a pie.’ I finally gave into the whim last weekend and made my very first blueberry pie. A couple of things I didn’t really know about blueberry pies before I made it: You have to bake them a long time — so it’s NOT a good thing to do on a hot day. And they need to cool so long (at least six hours) that unless you start early in the morning, chances are you won’t be able to enjoy the pie on the same do you baked it. I looked at a ton of blueberry recipes before finally settling on one from Everyday Food for a blueberry-ginger pie. I liked the idea of not only adding a little lemon to the fruit, but also a bit of of ginger. The crust was from a basic recipe that was easy enough, but not too exciting, tastewise. One of the biggest variations I saw in different recipes was that some called for corn starch (like this recipe) and others called for tapioca. Do you have a preference? Let me know if you have any pie baking tips. — Angela M.

Wanna bake a different kind of pie? Check out these recipes from our archives.
Jamie Oliver’s Apple Pie
Prize-Winning Pumpkin Pie
Brendon’s Pecan Pie

From our partners

what a beautiful pie! excellent work! in regards to the cornstarch-tapioca debate, i say tapioca all the way. it gives the pie a more delicate texture and brighter blueberry flavor. it also gels better, which is important seeing as blueberries are so juicy and sloppy when baked. the only trick is how much tapioca to use–too little and you get a runny pie, too much and you get a bizzarro gel-brick for filling.


My pie-baking tip is to only make the kinds you can whip up in about twenty minutes and pour into a ready-made crust. Making a crust from scratch is such tricky work, and making a long-baking pie is so, well, time-intensive that I like to let local pastry shops take care of that for me!

I use the amazing blueberry pie recipe from Pearl Oyster Bar in NYC. I change the crust recipe a bit and add sugar, and I make an all-butter crust so that it tastes like a cookie. I think I used about 2 tbsp for the whole crust and it was nice and sweet but not too sweet. There is lemon in the pie filling as well, so you might like it! It uses cornstarch but I may read up on tapioca, since I’ve never used it before. The recipe calls for a delicious butter/sugar crumble. I made one for the 4th of July so you can see it made:

My favorite pie ever is one I found and photocopied out of a Moosewood cookbook- Ginger Peach Pie with Gingerbread crust. The filling is just peaches, lemon juice, fresh ginger, brown sugar, and cornstarch, and instead of a flaky pie crust, you make a crumbly cookie-like ginger dough. It’s amazing in the summer with fresh peaches, and also in the winter with frozen peaches!

Wow- I just made this recipe too! I used less blueberries than the recipe called for, since most other blueberry pie recipes I’ve seen have called for more like half the fruit. I reduced the amount of ginger some, but probably could have done with even less. It was a little too gingery for me at first, but it definitely mellowed the next day.

And I didn’t not let the pie cool that long. I made it after work, it probably came out of the oven at 6:30, and I served it around 10. I love a still-warm pie! I didn’t use cornstarch, as I prefer tapioca for most pies. I also used my mom’s trusted pie crust recipe, which is so simple, but I don’t think I’d ever stray from it! Let me know if you want it- I don’t think she’d mind! ;)

Here’s my final result:

Nice double negative! :) I mean I didn’t let it cool that long. Ah, proofreading.


I tried this recipe last night and it came out yummmmm. Though I’m not sure why it calls for 8 cups of blueberries? 8 cups were clearly too many for my 9″ (what the recipe called for) pie pan. I ended up scooping out a bunch before it went in the oven and even then I had a big gooey mess in the pan I put below the pie. Boooo. This happened with the rhubarb custard pie I made last month, too. What the heck? Maybe I am the problem? I’m new to the pie-making world…


Martha does have a tendency to over do it sometimes with the ingredients.

I halved the blueberries the recipe called for, which is the normal amount for my blueberry pie recipe.

For information on the American Pie Council and the 2008 APC Crisco National Pie Championships and winning pie recipes, visit