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Thick globs in my blueberry pie...where did I go wrong?

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Over the weekend I made what was otherwise a delicious blueberry shortbread pie--with the exception of the filling consistency. It was overall a little on the thin side, but punctuated with tough, jelly-like globs (the texture of orange rinds in marmalade).

Anyone have any idea where I went wrong? These are the instructions I followed:

In a medium saucepan, bring 1/4 cup water and 1 1/2 cups berries to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down, 3 to 4 minutes. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water; stir into berries in pan. Add lemon zest and juice, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring, just until mixture begins to thicken, 30 to 60 seconds. Remove from heat.

Could the issue be the acid added so quickly after the cornstarch? I think I might have dumped it right in after the cornstarch slurry, without allowing the starch time to thicken--would this cause curdling? Or is the issue that I should have incorporated it better into the liquid? Maybe my cornstarch is expired?

Appreciate any opinions!

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  1. My guess is that you didn't sufficiently dissolve the cornstarch in cold water before adding it to the hot berry mixture, or didn't get it mixed in well when you did. It probably attached itself to the zest or even berry skins.

    You do need to make sure the cornstarch mixture is stirred in completely before continuing with the recipe, so that could have been the problem.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Transplant_DK

      That does sound like the likeliest scenario- thank you!

      1. re: Jahblessjacob

        Cornstarch doesn't expire or curdle in an acid, that's not it. Sounds like either Transplant's thoughts (not mixed in well) or you didn't cook the cornstarch long enough. Usually, though, improperly "dissolved" or incompletely stirred into the filling will result in lumps. The fact that the cornstarch was not blended properly with the water first caused the berry filling to be thin in consistency.

        Did you add the cornstarch slurry slowly or just dump it all into the berries? I find drizzling while stirring is the best technique.

        Anyway, now you know to mix the water and cornstarch together well into a suspension, and next time, you'll be successful.