Pie in the Sky

I have a memory of my seven-year-old self standing by the counter in the kitchen of our house on Paradise Street in San Diego. I'm contemplating how I can get a taste of the Blueberry Strata Pie without anyone noticing; if I remember right, I probably picked off a corner of the crust or swiped my finger through the blueberries. Just the name was magical: "Blueberry Strata Pie". It took me many years and at least one geology class before I learned that 'strata' is simply a fancy word for layers. I don't know when my mom started making it, but for years it was our family's special pie when we had guests for dinner. I also have a memory of my sixteen-year-old self slaving over fancy whipped cream on a Blueberry Strata Pie that I made when I knew a particular missionary was coming over for dinner. Sigh. I recently had a nice slice of the pie when I went to Portland for my sister's graduation. This time she was the chef, while I held my baby and watched. She made pies for a barbecue her friends were hosting to honor her and another friend who had recently graduated. The people at the party may have been strangers, but we all bonded over pie.

Blueberry Strata Pie

9-inch pastry crust, baked and cooled

1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
3 tbls. sugar
1 tbls. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 small can crushed pineapple, drained (abt. 8 oz)

3 cups blueberries (thawed if frozen)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup water (or juice from pineapple with added water)
1-2 tsp. lemon juice

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in drained pineapple and place in bottom of pastry shell. Chill while preparing blueberry filling. In a large saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; stir in water and lemon juice until smooth, then add blueberries. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cook and stir for about 2-3 minutes until thickened. Cool completely and then pour over cream cheese mixture in the crust. Top the pie with whipped cream before you serve it. Sometimes I make the blueberry filling the night before and just put it on the pie right before serving it. You can use Cool Whip on top if you want to be retro, but I've become a food snob and think Cool Whip is nasty.

I wrote this post because I want to enter the Shabby Apple giveaway. I really love Leslie's artwork and got to meet her last year at the Segullah studio night.


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