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Fresh Blueberry Pie???

With all these fresh blueberries around I have been craving either b'berry pie, or a tart with pastry cream and uncooked blueberries on top (please don't tell me to make it myself....where did that term "easy as pie" come from?)
I will travel!

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  1. La Farine makes excellent pastry cream tarts with fresh fruit.


    1. Lola's.

      There is no contest. No one comes close. It is worth the trip.

      Call ahead to reserve. They only make it when they have access to top blueberries. It was there last week and it is STILL fabulous. If you don't think this is the best blueberry pie in the area, I'll pay for your dinner at the next chowdown we both attend ... even if that is French Laundry ... althouth the liklihood of me eating at FL again is pretty nil.

      I'm including my latest Lola's post to entice you to also pick up the apricot rosemmary jam if you go there.


      Note: It is closed Monday & Tuesday

      1. Bakesale Betty on Telegraph and 51st in Oakland makes great blueberry pies; $2.50 a slice or $25 for a whole pie. (But I've never had Lola's, so can't compare.)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Hungry Hippo

          Thanks for reminding me. I haven't tried Bakesale Betty's yet.

          Well, Derek, you'll have to solve this for us with a pie from each. Lola's doesn't sell by the slice, but when they have enough berries they do small pies.

          1. re: Hungry Hippo

            I tried Bakesale Betty's last night at Pizzaiolo. Excellent, just like homemade.

          2. We had a simply wonderful blueberry tart at Frescaiti Friday night. There was plenty for two of us and in fact it was shared by 4.

            1. Not sure if this belongs on another board, but am I the only one who finds local California blueberries to be tasteless? I went to summer camp in Minnesota and those berries packed a different flavor entirely. Is it a different type of berry grown out here?

              At least when they're cooked into a pastry they can be doctored with lemon juice and sugar and cooked down a bit. Good luck finding what you're after.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Tobias

                The weather isn't right for blueberries. It doesn't get cold enough in the winter.

                That being said, the exception would be Sebastopol Blueberry Farm.


                There was another farm next door to it that was great too, but the owner retired.

                I think Lola's gets blueberries from Oregon. There is some sort of family connection or something up there. I know with the huckleberries they get from Oregon, someone is personally picking those berries and shipping them to Lola's.

                The pie is as good, if not better, than most of the pies I've had growing up in New England ... even as good as a homemade pie where I personally picked some wild berries in a vacant lot in Rockport, Mass.

                1. re: Tobias

                  There are two varieties of blueberries (perhaps more). High bush blueberries are larger and have less flavor than the low bush blueberries ( I think this is the wild variety) which are smaller and more intensely flavorful. I recently found the low bush variety at the Grand Lake farmer's market, but the vendor was there just once. The larger variety are more commonly available around here.

                2. Destination Baking Co. on Chenery in Glen Park makes OUTSTANDING pies. I've been told that in the summer they make a nectarine-blueberry pie. If you call them, they will probably make a blueberry pie for you to pick up the next day (or call about noon and see what they're making this week). I'm serious -- you owe it to yourself to try their pie.

                  1. Although Bakesale Betty has amazingly good pies, they are baked, so they don't have pastry cream or raw berries. Betty's is definitely worth a try for a traditional American baked blueberry pie. La Farine has great tarts using pastry cream and fresh fruit, so that might be more what you're looking for.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: dsl

                      Betty's blueberry is good, but I think the pluot and nectarine pies have been the best so far this summer.

                      1. re: lexdevil

                        Betty's blueberry is really good, but can be runny, which is great when you heat it up and serve it with a fresh scoop of vanilla ice cream.

                        NECTARINE PIE...literally the best pie i have ever tasted was her nectarine pie

                        1. re: Doodleboomer

                          I'm in the minority on the blueberry pie at Betty's. Tried it yesterday and it didn't have the zing (to borrow a phrase from another). Maybe I needed ice cream or maybe I need to try the nectarine. But I didn't find the pastry memorable either.

                          OT I did have the Chorizo and eggs at La Calaca Loca across th estreet from Betty's. Very good. I'll go back and also try Cafe Pippo next door.

                          1. re: buster

                            No, I'm with you on Betty's blueberry pie. In the blueberry pie taste-off, for me the ranking is:

                            1. Lola's ... just the best. Lolas knows about crust.

                            2. FatApple's ... not a baked pie, fresh berries with glaze, but mighty fine.


                            3. Bakesale Betty's.

                            As you mentioned, the problem with Betty's blueberry pie is the crust. It is almost like a puff pastry. I had a hard time breaking through it with a fork.

                            Also, it is a latticed pie. I need two full crusts on my pie (FatApple's excepted because it is so good). And it is sprinkled with sugar. I don't like that.

                            That being said, the flavor is quite nice. The filling has excellent quality fresh blueberries, baked perfectly so they are not too syrupy but hold their shape well. The flavor is from the berry sweetness, slighly enhanced by the sugar on the pie crust.

                            The crust itself was tasty and very buttery. It is just not tender enough. I'm not explaining this well, because it is not a actual tough, unpleasant crust, but ... I don't know ... just not totaly right.

                            I didn't like the nectarine as much however. The nectarines held their shape nicely, but there was a little too much flour (I'm guessing) to keep the filling from being syrupy. Not enough to be really bad, but enough flour to catch your attention and let you know it was there. Also, the nectarines were not as flavorful as they should be.

                            I feel really bad about this. Betty's is still up there as one of the best pies in the Bay Area ... Except for Lola's and FatApples, it is my favorite. Crixa does a fine pie too, but it is too gallette like.

                            However ... I've been bad this week ... I've been camping out almost daily at Bakesale Betty's and some of the stuff they are doing just blows my mind it is so stellar.

                            Will put that in a different post though.

                            BTW, on Saturday the blueberry pies were 25% off ... too bad I bought it earlier in the week.

                            1. re: buster

                              The Bakesale Betty's blueberry pie we had at Pizzaiolo the other night had a full top crust, and it was tender flaky crust, just like homemade.

                              If you overwork that kind of pastry dough, it can get tough, so variation is possible if the people working in the kitchen aren't equally skilled.

                              1. re: buster

                                Maybe like bakeries make bread to restaurant specs, BB's makes pie to Pizzaiolo's specs. If that is the case, I wish they would make the same thing at the bakery. The ingredieants, of course, were top-rate.

                                The two pieces of pie were purchased on two separate days. They were exactly the same and another poster didn't find the crust memorable. So there is another point of view. Sometimes food gets on a runaway train where everyone is gushing. Yes, it is a good pie, but to me there are flaws. This might give me an incentive though to finally check out Pizzaiolo.

                                1. re: buster

                                  Yeah, maybe Hallowell asked them for a homier version. It really was exactly like homemade. Not quite as good as the ones my wife made the other week but the differences were subtle.

                                  I wouldn't call it a difference of opinion, since we had two different pies. I totally agree with you about lattice top (at least for blueberries) and am highly critical of tough crust.

                                  1. re: buster

                                    rw, if you're finally going to go to Pizzaiolo, don't do it for the Bakesale Betty's pie! I've had both the blueberry from Betty's and the blueberry from Pizzaiolo and I didn't notice a significant difference. And you have to pay a huge surcharge just to get a slice at Pizzaiolo. Honestly, ever since Pizzaiolo lost their pastry chef I've stopped ordering dessert, unless they have fruit coming out of the wood fire oven. Don't even get me started on the "gelato" they're serving right now. But you should still go to Pizzaiolo because they make some of the best savory food in the Bay Area. The halibut crudo and Berkshire pork chop with fried polenta I had last Friday were phenomenal.

                              2. re: dsl

                                After this post, I went back to read the original post because when I think blueberries pie I don't think cream is involved. So your post asked for blueberry pie either way ... AND ... Don't tell you to bake your own ... BUT ...

                                Derek, by now you gotta know I'm a cooking idiot. I still whip out the cookbook to boil eggs. Roberto is now conditioned to cringe when he sees me near the stove.

                                So when I tell you this is easy ... that even I can do it ... you just gotta believe it. You can buy a pie crust, don't need to bake it. In fact, I think my first post on the SF board was asking where to buy a pre-made pie crust ... and I got SLAMMED by people telling me how easy it was to make my own pie crust ... easy as pie ... I think NOT.

                                Anyhoo, those ... COOKS ... obviously weren't enough to chase me from the SF Board. And, really, if I can do it, anyone can.

                                Here a link to home cooking that has a recipe for the old Green Valley Farms blueberry pie. It isn't even baked, but cooked on the top of the stove, poured into the pie crust and chilled.

                                And the sheer genius of this pie is that after you cook the filling on the stove and cool it, you fold in fresh uncooked blueberries. There is the best of two worlds, the sweet cooked blueberries with the texture of whole fresh blueberries.

                                It is amazing ... and even I can do it ... and do an excellent, beyond edible, delicious pie.


                                1. re: rworange

                                  Making a pie is not much work once you know how, but learning how to make pastry and assemble a pie takes practice, especially if you aren't being taught by an experienced baker.

                              3. I just made this blueberry pie recipe - really enjoyed it. Cooking the berries just until they start to give up some liquid - a bit more cooking to thicken the added flour & sugar. Then the addition of fresh blueberries - everybody loved it!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: gordon wing

                                  Thanks for all the great responses! and the link to the recipe..........what to do what to do........(I'm not afraid of the bridge...I'm not afraid of the bridge...I'm not afraid of the bridge...!)
                                  Why does it seem like ALL the good food is in the East Bay?
                                  Bakeries, Ice cream/gelato, pizza, BBQ, etc etc...