You Are What You Read: Bitterblue(berry) Pie

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You Are What You Read is a bi-weekly series that combines my two favorite activities: cooking and reading. Today's book is Graceling by Kristin Cashore.

Once again, I find myself totally enamored with a fierce YA heroine. Katsa is Graced. She was born with exceptional fighting abilities, and, like the rest of those who are Graced, her eyes are two different colors. Unfortunately for Katsa, her Grace has made her very useful to her King, a vicious man who uses her as a way to keep his nobles in line. 

Katsa is enchanting, but what really made me fall in love with this story was the supporting cast. Katsa's cousin, Prince Raffin, is insightful and amusing. Po, our leading man, is charming and patient beyond reckoning. And sweet Bitterblue, who we meet later in the story, is darling and fierce in her own right. I loved being so fully immersed in the world of Graceling, and I'll certainly go back and read the next two books set in Cashore's world. 

Here's the throwaway line that inspired today's post, "He was muddy and smelled like horses. 'Did we get here in time for the food?' he asked. 'The invitation said something about pie, and I'm starving.'" So in honor of Graceling and Cashore's whole wonderful world, Bitterblue(berry) Pie.

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Bitterblue(berry) Pie

  • two pie crusts (I followed this recipe to the letter.)
  • 4-5 pints of fresh blueberries
  • the zest and juice of one medium sized lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons instant tapioca, ground
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten with 1/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Set a medium sized saucepan over medium heat and add half the blueberries. Mash to release the juices, leaving about half the berries whole. Cook, stirring and mashing occasionally until the berries release most of their juice and that juice has reduced by half, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, reserving tapioca. When the mashed blueberries are cool enough to touch without burning yourself (Be patient! Or don't, and burn yourself like I did.) stir them into the rest of the ingredients and add the tapioca. 

Dump the contents of the bowl into the piecrust you've placed in a pie tin, mounding in the center. Cover with remaining crust, either in a lattice pattern, or whole, with vents cut into the center. Press the edges together and cut away excess crust with kitchen shears. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the contents are bubbling and the crust is golden. (A tip! Cover the edges of the pie with tin foil in order to prevent burning.)

Wait 4 hours for pie to completely cool. Read Graceling in that time and the hours are sure to fly by.