Nancy Schatz is famous in Maine for the blueberry pie she’s been baking for ages.
According to the Portland Press Herald, Nancy, a grandmother who lives in Manchester, learned how to make the pie from her mother, who learned how to make it from hers.
When Nancy’s son married, she taught her daughter-in-law the old recipe, which includes secret ingredients like tapioca and brandy.
And now that her granddaughters are big enough to get around in the kitchen, she’s helping them master it, too.
I’m grateful to the Schatz family for their permission to publish the recipe here. Enjoy!
NANCY ScHATZ’S BLUEBERRY PIE
2½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
3 generous tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces
5 tablespoons pulp-free orange juice
3 cups fresh Maine blueberries
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
3 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
To make the crust, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or a knife and fork, work in the butter and shortening until clumps are about pea-sized. Sprinkle orange juice over the mixture and toss with a fork until the dough is moistened and can be gathered into a ball. Take care not to overwork the dough.
Form dough into 2 balls, wrap each with plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. While dough is chilling, assemble the filling.
To make the filling, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the blueberries, sugar, tapioca, brandy, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss until fruit is evenly coated. Allow to stand for 15 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a circle approximately 10 inches in diameter. Press one circle into a 9-inch pie tin, leaving about ½ inch of dough around the edge. Pour in the blueberry filling, dot with the butter, and carefully place the top crust over the fruit. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal, crimping decoratively. Using a paring knife, slash a few vents in the top crust so steam can escape.
Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and continue baking until the crust is lightly browned, 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool at least 2 hours before serving.