If there’s one flavor trend that I don’t get, it’s lavender. The polite way would be to say that it tastes like soap; however, I prefer saying that it tastes like old lady. Does that make you gag? Well, that’s what the taste of lavender normally does to me.
Which is why whenever our CSA includes a bunch of lavender in our share box, I groan. If there’s one thing we don’t need, it’s lavender. Aside from the fact that I’m not a fan of the flavor, we’ve got metric buttloads of it growing around our house. (An aside, should any neighbors be reading this: you know who you are, the one who snips our tulips that border the sidewalk. Please leave the tulips alone, but feel free to harvest as much lavender as you like.) We usually end up putting it in a vase with flowers or drying them out. In fact, I ended up making a mess recently while trying to empty out a vase to make room for some lovely CSA flowers since I had to throw out some dried lavender. Out of 6 vases in our house, 4 of them were filled with dried lavender at one point.
But my feelings about lavender changed recently, thanks to my sister-in-law who gave us a gift of blueberry lavender jam when my brother and his family visited us the weekend after our baby was born. Although sleep-deprived, John and I had a quiet breakfast of eggs and biscuits on which we cautiously dabbled the jam. It was so delicious, what with the lavender being subtle, a light floral complement to the sweet berries and a heady, spicy flavor from cinnamon.
So when lavender arrived in the CSA share box later that week, I wasn’t as horrified as I normally would be. I got excited, thinking about making a blueberry pie, only this time, instead of plainly (but lovely) flavored with lemon zest and almond extract, I’d try adding lavender and some spicier, heavier, and fruitier flavors: cinnamon, cardamom, and balsamic vinegar. Let me tell you, this was no sleep deprivation induced mistake but a beautiful concept! The pie was nicely balanced between sweet and tart, and in fact was declared by John to be my best blueberry pie ever. No more dried bunches of lavender to make messes around our house now! From now on, when the life gives me lavender, I’m making pie.
- 1 recipe of your favorite double pie crust (or do store-bought, if you wish.)
- 5 cups blueberries
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender leaves
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, finely diced
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray your 9 inch pie plate with cooking spray, then roll out a little more than half of your pie crust. Trim excess and flute the crust if you wish. Place in fridge while you mix together filling. Add blueberries to a large bowl. Combine the rest of the ingredients except butter and vinegar in a small bowl then mix into blueberries. Add the vinegar and mix again, then let blueberries sit for 15 minutes. Pour filling into pie crust then top with remaining crust, making a lattice if you wish. Lightly cover crust with a piece of foil or pie shield then bake on a rack placed in the bottom third of your oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F, remove foil or pie shield, and slide a baking sheet under your pie to collect any juices. Bake for another 30-45 minutes or until top crust is golden. Cool on a wire rack then serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
CSA Count: 1