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Blueberry Pie Filling: Can you answer a cooking conundrum?

Asked by ETpro (34550points) November 12th, 2011

At closing time today, one vendor at the Boston Haymarket had blueberries on sale at $5 for 2 4.5 pound crates. We live in the North End, and my wife always heads over there near closing time on Saturdays, because whatever they haven’t already sold will be marked down to incredible discounts if it’s perishable. So we got 9 pounds of blueberries for $5. That’s an incredible $0.56 a pound for beautiful fresh blueberries.

We can eat a bit fresh. But to save the rest, I’m cooking up enough blueberry pie filling for 3 pies, and freezing most of the rest. My blueberry pie filling recipe called for 3 tbsps. of cornstarch or 6 tbsps. of flour per each 4 cups of blueberries. I used cornstarch, but I think I was a tad short on having enough for 12 cups of blueberries.

My question
If the filling isn’t firm enough to stay in place in a slice of pie when it cools completely, can I thicken it to the Cinderella point by adding a bit of flour at a time and stiring it in cold, or must it be up to cooking temperature for the flour to fully interact with the juices?

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10 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

It has to be hot. Also, if there is some kind of fat in the mixture, it works better as a thickener.

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abysmalbeauty's avatar

I love outdoor markets, I want to take a trip to boston now!

ETpro's avatar

@wundayatta I was thiking when I made it that corn-starch usually reacts with fat, margarine or butter and the two together thicken. Maybe that’s the key. I might try mixing in some margarine and saee if it makes a difference before resorting to flour. And @abysmalbeauty is probably right, I’ll need to reheat before adding anything or I might get a mixture where the one ingredient’s taste stands out too much.

@abysmalbeauty The Haymarket is great fun. Of course the video didn’t show the vendors when they get angry at someone trying to pick over their display. Unless they give you the go ahead to pick, you hand them your money and they grab a handful to make the count offered. What they pick is what you get. Violate that rule and risk a tirade of Italian profanity. If you argue back, all the other vendors join in calling you down. Only if they get to know you can you do any bargaining or picking.

perspicacious's avatar

Either flour or corn starch require boiling point to thicken liquid. I’ve never used corn starch for fruit pies, only flour.

ETpro's avatar

@perspicacious Thanks. That’s a definitive answer.

cazzie's avatar

Yuck. It has to be cooked. I’ve used corn starch to thicken pie fillings. I think arrowroot powder is meant to be the best.

ETpro's avatar

@cazzie Never tried trhat. I’ll heave to get some.

cazzie's avatar

But same thing goes for the arrowroot powder, it has to be heated and cooked into the liquid portion. I would take a bit of the powder or starch, about a teaspoon in a coffee cup, then I would put perhaps 3 or so tablespoons of water in it, then heat it in the microwave, short time, then stir, short time, then stir, until if becomes thick and transparent. If it starts getting too think, pour some of the liquid from the pie filling in it. Stir heaps, so no lumps form.

Get the thickened liquid to a viscosity that is easily stirred into the blueberry mixture. Add the blueberry liquid to the coffee mug first, blending it all in, then transfer the content of the mug into the blueberry filling.

You’re going to bake the pies yet, right? That should finish cooking the starch. Good luck. I’m hungry for pie now.

ETpro's avatar

@cazzie Thanks. Sounds reasonable.

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