River Recipes: Blueberry Pie

I hail from a family renowned for its delicious homemade pies. We are talking flaky crusts and run-down-your-chin-fruit-filled deliciousness. So, what do you do when blueberries are this plentiful? Make blueberry pie!

One summer, on an Arctic canoe trip, our group came across abundant blueberries. I immediately told them: if they helped pick them, I would bake a pie. We soon had a couple of water bottles filled with plump antioxidant-filled berries. We always have an extra meal packed on our trip for emergencies, and this time it was to be a chicken pot pie, so I “borrowed” the pastry ingredients from it and got to work.

Blueberry pie cooling in the Coppermine River.

Preparing such a recipe on the banks of a river always takes a bit more effort than in your kitchen at home, but so, too, is the reward. We had to set the Dutch oven in the river to cool so folks could dig in as soon as possible. And did I mention we also gorged on fresh-caught Arctic char for the entrée? Talk about eating local! Another indelible memory from a wilderness expedition.

The Recipe:

1 recipe for double crust pastry 
6 cups blueberries (freshly picked!)
1 tsp lemon zest  from 1 lemon
2 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
4 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg + 1 tbsp water


  1. Make your pie crust. On the river, I roll the crust using a Nalgene bottle. Filling it with cold river water helps make the rolling easy.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine 6 cups blueberries, 1 tsp lemon zest, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 4 1/2 Tbsp flour, 1 tsp cinnamon and toss to combine. Transfer blueberries into the dough-lined Dutch oven, mounding it just slightly in the centre and keeping the edges clean of blueberry juice.
  3. Top with dough and flute the edges.
  4. Beat together 1 egg and 1 Tbsp water and brush the egg wash over  crust and edges. Bake using charcoal briquettes until crust is golden and blueberry juice is bubbling at the edges, about 50 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

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