Patience to Wait for Blueberry Pie

This recipe is created for my favorite purple person, an amazing, quirky, and funny blogofriend Melinda of http://www.purpleslobinrecovery.com.  I promised her a few months ago to create a purple cake. A while later, I made a purple pie and photographed it (before it was gobbled up!), getting ready to post the recipe. Unfortunately, it took me a few more months to get to it, but fortunately, dear Melinda would not let me dive into a serious guilt trip.  She had patience to wait, thus reminding me of an inscription on a photograph my mother had carried with her throughout the war, through horrors and pain.

mother

This old, grainy photo of my mother at the age of 16 had been enlarged and framed. It is the first thing I see when I open my eyes in the morning. Behind her shy smile are five years of hospital stay, more than 80 surgeries, and childhood memories of the world-famous Stolyarsky Specialized Music School of Odessa, a school for gifted children, known as “The Forge of Talents.”

David Oistrakh was one of the shining stars who emerged from “The Forge,” as was his son Igor, as were many other prominent musicians. The founder and visionary, Pyotr Solomonovich Stolyarsky developed unique pedagogic methodology for music instruction started at very early age. Even though Stolyarsky claimed that any child could be taught to play a musical instrument, to be admitted to his school, a three or four-year old had to undergo a rigorous examination and thorough evaluation. But in Odessa, traditionally, all boys played violin and all girls played piano. Thus my mother was admitted to Stolyarsky School’s piano division. Her first recital, at the age of seven, was such a resounding success that her teacher, M. M. Starkova, promised a reward – her own photo. In 1937, professors’ photos were treasured by students. The long-anticipated  reward did not materialize until yet another fabulous performance at a recital three years later. Then the war started.

WW II (2)

Men were drafted into the army. Women, children, and elderly people, especially Jewish people, who, by now, had heard stories of Kristallnacht and the fate of Polish Jews under German occupation, looked for any means to leave Odessa, a large city with sizable Jewish population. When Odessa surrendered, in October of 1941, about half of its Jews had already been evacuated, among them my 11-year-old mother with her mother and grandmother (my grand- and great-grandmother). The train was bombed. My mother never wished to describe the bodies strewn around, the screams, the stench… She had multiple shrapnel wounds, mostly affecting her left foot and left wrist. Both older family members had not a scratch!

Surgery followed a surgery, over 80 of them, pulling those pieces of shrapnel out one by one.  A fighter by nature, my mother immersed herself in books, but never gave up hope for music, imitating piano exercises with her right hand on an army blanket in a hospital bed. Once in a while, she would pull her teacher’s photo from under a pillow and hear Mozart sonata and applause. My grandfather, convalescing after his own wound, went down on his knees to the Chief Surgeon who was about to amputate his only daughter’s foot, “She is a girl, not a soldier, – he cried, – she’ll need to dance, to find a young man, to get married…” The foot was saved, albeit deformed, which had never prevented my mother from dancing up a storm and marrying my father.

Stolyarcky school

The wrist, not as badly deformed as the foot, had not been in danger of being amputated; nonetheless, she didn’t even walk to the new beautiful Stolyarsky School, built after the war. All that was left of the budding brilliant music career was her teacher’s pre-war photo, bearing an inscription “Those who have patience to wait, receive their due rewards.” My mother’s reward was a beautiful family. All her life she had been surrounded by love and respect of those who knew her, and all her life she had excelled in everything she did. I am sure she is smiling down from Heaven at my granddaughter who bears her name, Alisia.

Berry pie 1 (2).jpg

Dearest Melinda, you’ve had so much patience to wait, so now you can grab a package of Graham crackers or a cup of regular rolled oats (I did the latter, to keep it gluten free) and pulse it in a food processor with some non-dairy butter substitute. I use Smart Balance, but feel free to use real butter if you have no issues with dairy products. Press the resulting mass into a pie form. I actually press a second pie form on top to shape the crust. Mist it with oil to sort of glue the crumbs together and give it a nice shine.

berry pie 2 (2).jpg

Meanwhile, simmer your blueberries and raspberries with agave (I guess you can use maple syrup, but I haven’t tried it, so I am not sure) and a few drops of lemon juice. Keep stirring and squashing the berries until the filling thickens. Let it cool for just a bit and save a teaspoon of liquid. Pour the rest into crust, and bake it for about 10 minutes, just to get the edges nice and crunchy.

berry pie 3 (2).jpg

Once the pie has cooled sufficiently, cover it with topping. I use non-dairy whipped topping, and to make it purple, I have whisked it with saved berry juice. Both the color and the airy, fluffy texture were just perfect!

berry pie 4 (2).jpg

Here comes the tricky optional part. Fascinated by what lovely Rozina of https://rozinaspersiankitchen.com calls Brittle Coral Tuile (see her recipe here), I tried to make one and stick it on top of the pie.  I also made it with whole wheat, rather than white flour, and added some unsweetened cocoa powder (how could I not?). My experiment was only half-successful: it looked lacy but it wouldn’t stand. Still, I think it seems rather pretty topping a dainty purple pie.

berry pie 5 (2)

I do hope you make it, Melinda; it’s very easy, very healthy, totally yummy, and it bears your name!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup rolled oats or about 5 sheets of Graham crackers
  • 1 tablespoon butter or substitute
  • 1 pint blueberries or combined blueberries and other berries
  • 1/4 cup agave or more to taste
  • A few drops of lemon juice to taste
  • 1 cup whipped topping
  • For Coral Tuile, please refer to Rozina’s recipe above

PROCEDURE

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Using food processor or blender, pulse oats or crackers with butter or substitute until crumbs come together. Press crumbs into pie form, lightly mist with oil. Put aside.
  • Combine berries with agave, bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer, stir constantly while pressing on berries, until thickens. Remove from heat, let cool, reserve 1 teaspoon of liquid.
  • Fill crust with the rest of filling, bake for 10 minutes, or until edges brown. Let cool.
  • Whisk berry liquid into whipped topping, cover pie with topping, garnish with fresh berries and or Coral Tuile, if desired. Refrigerate until serving.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

42 Comments Add yours

  1. tidalscribe says:

    What a wonderful blog – it is so interesting to hear about your family and to have beautiful music.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Janet!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoyed how you weaved your mother’s story in the post. I wanted to read more about her. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment, dear Bernice!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, this sounds great! And blueberries are on sale right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Jennifer!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. More of your family history displaying remarkable fortitude for survival. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thank you for a very perceptive comment, Derrick. It has taken Jews two thousand years to develop strong survival skills; it’s in our genetic code by now. Jung called it “collective subconscious.”

      Liked by 1 person

  5. GP Cox says:

    Your mother was quite pretty, Dolly! I’ll bet this pie is magnificent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, GP! Yes, she was a miniature beauty, doll-like, but with incredibly strong personality.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Patience is a virtue! Love such fruit pies. So tasty! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Ronit!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. purpleslob says:

    Thank you so much, Dolly!! It’s perfectly purple!! And yummy looking! Your mother is gorgeous! Your family’s stories are so full of perseverance, and hope. Love,
    Melinda
    Thanks for the shout out!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are very welcome, dear purple person! Love ya! 😻

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am sure the pie is magnificent . Looks really beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Rozina, and thank you for the Tuile idea!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am glad you liked it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. chattykerry says:

    How wonderful that your beautiful mother could dance with your father and make you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Kerry! You, of all people, relate to it, I am sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. chattykerry says:

        Thank you, dear Dolly. ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re very welcome, dear friend!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    WW ARE ENJOYING THIS WHOLE POST!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging, Jonathan!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. spearfruit says:

    Great post and delicious looking pie Dolly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Gary!

      Like

  12. This brought tears to my eyes, Dolly. My Hungarian mother and her parents lost their home and became refugees during WWII. They were transported on cattle cars, and narrowly escaped forced shipment to Siberia. I know they are looking down from heaven now, as well. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew you had a story to tell, dear Anna! Thank you so much for sharing this part of your parents’ struggle to survive!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Joëlle says:

    Now I can see the connection between you, your granddaughter and music. The talent was passed on from your mother, it’s wonderful!
    Your pie looks delicious, I have never tried an oat crust before, I am making a note of it. Thank you very much, Dolly, take care 😻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Joelle, let’s not forget my son who, like all Odessa boys, started learning violin at the age of three. Once we left Odessa, he switched to piano, but my granddaughter’s love for music, especially classical music is to his credit. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, dear friend!
      if you try this recipe, please let me know.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Your stories always make me cry a bit and laugh a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Mimi; that’s what life is about, I think: sometimes we laugh, and sometimes we cry.

      Like

  15. Even in the age of 16 your mother looked like a showstar. What a interesting story. Before i only had known Odessa as the home of the “Donkosak” (hope i spelled it right). Thank you for so much new input to imagine what since years only with civil war in our mind. Thank you for the wonderful recipe too. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Michael, I thank you for a compliment to my mother, may she rest in peace.
      Odessa is not Donbass, where Don Cossacks live. The two cities are quite a distance from each other; however, there is an armed conflict going on in both between Russian and Ukraine, as both historically had not been part of Ukraine until the revolution, when communist government arbitrarily incorporated them into Ukraine. Now they want out, and they are right!
      Have a wonderful day, dear friend!

      Like

  16. Such an astounding story, Dolly! So glad your brave and wonderful family came through. I could just feel the love you felt describing seeing your mother’s 16 year old image each day you wake 💕 The blueberry pie is literally icing on a wonderful life lived ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for a warm and wonderful comment, Felipe!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dearest Ren, I don’t know how to thank you! You are a true and very kind friend!

      Like

  17. John Kraft says:

    Berry pies are my favorites. Yumilicious!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, John!

      Like

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