I love fresh blueberries, and when they are in season, there's nothing tastier than my Russian Blueberry Pie recipe (Пирог с голубикой или черникой). A pie in Russian is called Pirog. It's not only blueberries that you can use for this blueberry pirog recipe. You can use Saskatoon Berries, Juneberries, Bilberries and even a Haskap berry (although Haskaps need more sugar because they're more tart). However, blueberries are most commonly available.
Common Pastry Dough
You've probably never heard of a Russian sweet pie, and what could possibly be different? When you think of a pie, it's most commonly made with a shortcrust pastry, like my American Apple Pie recipe. Shortcrust is made with flour and fats, like lard or butter and ice water. Usually you buy this in the store ready to make your pie.
Other pies are often made with Puff Pastry, a flaky layered pastry dough. I use puff pastry for making Apple Turnovers or a Savory Cabbage Pie. You almost always buy these in the store in the freezer section. These pastries are French in origin. Obviously Russians use these pastry doughs for making pies too. So what's different about this Blueberry Pie?
What Makes a Pie Russian?
Russians love baking with yeast dough and we use it when baking Savory Potato Piroshki, or Blueberry Piroshki and more. The difference is the dough we make. The sweet dough used for making this blueberry pie recipe is called sdobnoye testo (cдoбнoe дpoжжeвoe тecтo). It's like a universal sweet yeast dough used when baking in Russian, Ukrainian and Slavic recipes. It's the dessert dough from my childhood. Making a Blueberry Pie recipe is just another way to use this versatile Russian yeast dough. I don't like the dough super sweet, so you can add extra few tablespoons of sugar if you like.
How to Make Blueberry Pie
The first step is to plan ahead and make the sweet yeast dough. It's not hard to make, but just takes time. Sometimes I use a bread maker to make a sweet dough, like in my Vatrushka recipe. You can substitute that dough recipe if you don't want to make it the old fashioned way. But trust me, it's not hard to make from scratch.
After activating the yeast, mixing in the flour, it takes about 1 ½ hours for the dough to rise. You can punch it down again, so it rises twice, but I usually skip this step. I am usually an impatient baker, and just want to eat faster! If you have the patience, let it rise twice. After making the blueberry pie, you don't need to proof or let the dough rise again, but I usually let it sit for 15 minutes. You can also pop it straight into the oven.
When making the pie top, I made an easy criss cross pattern, like a regular pie. You can weave it through and make it like a lattice. Or just completely cover the pie with the rolled out yeast dough, just cut out a small circle to allow air to escape. Some people decorate the pie with dough pastry leafs, braided edges, but I like the simple criss cross pattern.
Blueberry Pie Filling with Fresh Blueberries
Blueberry pie filling is easiest when made with fresh blueberries. This filling was made with 1 pound or 500 grams of fresh blueberries for a 9" pie pan. If you use a bigger pan, you will need extra blueberries, you will have enough yeast dough for a bigger pie pan.
When using fresh blueberries, I don't add any potato starch to thicken juices, I just sprinkle some sugar over the berries. That's it. In the video I only used 2 tablespoons of sugar, but if you like a sweet pie filling, you can add 5 or 6 tablespoons of sugar.
Blueberry Pie with Frozen Berries
Frozen blueberries are often cheaper to buy and available year round. If using frozen blueberries as a pie filling, you will need to prepare it a bit differently. Make sure that the berries are fully defrosted, maybe in a colander in a sink so the juices drain out.
Mix in 3 tablespoons of potato starch or corn flour, and a few tablespoons of sugar with the blueberries. Russians use potato starch over corn flour, I use it to thicken all my sauces. That's how easy it is to prepare a blueberry pie filling from frozen berries. Do not use frozen blueberries, remember to defrost them!
Oh, and if you have any leftover dough, watch my Blueberry Piroshki Hand Pies, which I made with the leftovers of this pie recipe. Waste not, want not!
I hope you love my Russian Blueberry Pie recipe, made with a sweet yeast dough. A different type of blueberry pie, so tasty that you'll make it again and again. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Russian Blueberry Pie
Sweet Yeast Dough
- 1 ⅓ cups lukewarm warm milk
- 1 tablespoon yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 4 cups flour plus more for kneading
- 2 eggs
- 5 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
- egg wash
- 1 lb /500g fresh blueberries
- 5 tablespoons of sugar
- Pour yeast, ½ of the lukewarm milk in a bowl, 1 tablespoon sugar, teaspoon salt. Whisk together and mix in ½ cup of flour. Allow to site for 15 minutes in a warm place until it starts to bubble and foam, then the yeast is activated.
- In a bowl, mix together 2 eggs, 5 tablespoons sugar, 5 tablespoons oil. Pour into the yeast mixture and slowly add the remaining flour until it forms a dough ball.
- Knead on a floured surface, adding more flour if needed, for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place back into bowl, cover with cling wrap.
- Place in a warm place until it rises, about 1 ½ hours. Punch down dough, gently knead and you are ready to use.
- Cut the yeast dough into 2 equal parts. Roll out both dough pieces into a circle, no thinner than ⅛” thin. Press one part of the dough inside a greased 9” pan, with the extra dough hanging over the pie pan. Cut the excess dough 2 inches wider than the edge of the pan.
- Place the blueberries inside the pie pan and sprinkle with sugar.
- Cut the second piece of dough evenly into strips that are ½” wide. Cover the pie into lattice or criss cross strips. Trim off the excess overhanging dough strips. Fold over the overhanging pastry dough base onto the pie, gently pressing down.
- Brush the pie top with egg wash (beating an egg yolk with 1 teaspoon of whipping cream)
- Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown. Allow too cool before serving.