Summer Dessert: Maine Wild Blueberry Hand Pies
Each summer, discover a bounty of wild blueberries in Maine, each deep-blue gem sun-ripened to flavorful perfection. (In fact, Maine produces 99% of low-bush wild blueberries in the country.)
Many farms offer you-pick fields, or you can stop by a farm stand for a just-picked pint. Bring your bounty home and make the quintessential Maine summer dessert: wild blueberry pie. Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern shares own Maine memories, plus a special twist on this classic treat, with his recipe for blueberry hand pies.
Recipe: How to Make Maine Wild Blueberry Hand Pies
Created by Andrew Zimmern
“These hand pies are an ode to my summer camp days in Maine, where we would forage for wild blueberries at their peak in August,” says Zimmern. “Those tart, sweet little berries just explode with flavor. For me, these hand pies are the best way to enjoy the season’s harvest: a simple filling of wild blueberries with cardamom, orange and ginger, stuffed into a flaky pie crust, then fried and tossed in cinnamon and sugar.”
Pie dough 1 1/2 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter 1 egg yolk 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Maine Blueberry Filling 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup cornstarch 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 1/4 teaspoon salt 5 cups Maine wild blueberries (fresh or frozen), washed and dried 1 orange, zested
To serve 3 quarts vegetable oil 2 cups sugar 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
Step 1: Make the Dough Mix flour and salt together in a mixing bowl. Cut butter into ½-inch cubes. Press butter chunks between fingertips and drop into the center of the bowl. Toss to coat. With fingertips, gradually work flour and butter together until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk egg yolk and 3 tablespoons of water together in a small bowl to blend. Drizzle egg yolk mixture over flour mixture, tossing with fork. Stir dough until mixture begins to come together; press together with hands to form a rough dough.
Turn out onto a cool counter and press together into a mound. Sprinkle with enough remaining water to reach dough consistency if it is very crumbly at this point. With the heel of your hand, smear a small amount of dough away from you on the counter. Scrape up and continue with remaining dough, mounding smeared dough together on the counter. Press mound into disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
Step 2: Make the Filling Combine sugar, cornstarch, cardamom, ginger, salt, wild blueberries, and orange zest in a large mixing bowl. Heat 3 quarts of oil in a large pot to 350 degrees. Place sugar and ground cinnamon in a large work bowl and reserve.
Step 3: Assemble Hand Pies Roll out 6 discs of dough roughly 5 inches across. Add a couple tablespoons of the blueberry filling. Seal by crimping or use a fork to seal the edges. (Or use a hand pie or empanada press.) Fry in the oil.
Step 4: Enjoy! Immediately pull from oil when nicely browned and roll in the cinnamon sugar. Let cool on a rack and eat while still warm.
*Pro Tip: Pair these hand pies with a cold scoop of gourmet ice cream made in Maine.