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In the summer, I often make a refrigerated blueberry pie. The recipe calls for a graham cracker crust, and you make the filling by cooking one pint of blueberries with one cup of sugar and 3 tablespoons on cornstarch on the stove until the mixture becomes thick. It's then poured into the crust, and topped with another pint of fresh blueberries, and chilled until it's firm.

The flavor of the blueberries is delicious, but I always find that there's a pronounced corn starch flavor that detracts from the simplicity of the pie. How could I change the recipe or the technique to decrease that flavor while maintaining the firmness of the filling?

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I'll try one or more of these suggestions next time I make the pie, and I'll let y'all know what works. Until then, I'm not going to accept an answer, since we don't yet have instructions for a good solution. –  Martha F. Jun 24 '11 at 19:03
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4 Answers

you could try some other thickeners, like xanthan gum, tapioca starch, arrowroot, or the like. not certain of the proportions, though, but i'm betting google knows.

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The standard resource for these proportions would be blog.khymos.org/recipe-collection. For example, the chapter on guar gum says it has almost 8 times the thickening power of corn starch (but I think using 3/8 of a tablespoon might bring the weight ratio of guar gum to total mass over 0.5%, which they don't recommend, so it's just an example). –  Erik P. Jun 21 '11 at 21:47
    
oh, good to know. thank you! –  franko Jun 21 '11 at 22:26
    
If you actually post some suggestions for proportions, I'll accept this as the answer. –  Martha F. Jun 22 '11 at 19:39
    
Pectin (used for jelly & jam making) is another good one to try. –  derobert Jun 23 '11 at 20:50
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Other than the thickeners mentioned above, sometimes I prefer the taste of cooked flour or oats to corn starch. Oats will leave everything moderately translucent if you use whole uncooked oats or will cloud the pie like flour (but solidify more) if you use quick oats.

Another touchy option that won't effect flavor: pectin. Pectin is naturally contained in blueberries, strawberries, etc. You could add some pectin for jam-making or you could precook a bunch of berries and slowly reduce them way down before adding them to more fresh berries (for texture) and baking your pie. I have done this for moderately firm jam-like sauces so it might work for pies as well. Experiment without shells so as not to waste your time. At worst you'll have a delicious ice cream topping.

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I like the pectin idea. –  Sobachatina Jun 23 '11 at 14:54
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I would try agar. Agar is tasteless and easy to use and as far as I know it does not contain starch. It also keeps the filling clear.

You could also try other starchy things as sago which does not have much flavor at all.

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Maybe this is why blueberry pie recipes usually call for lemon juice and lemon zest? To cut the cornstarch flavor? The lemon also compliments the blueberries, but I wonder if there are any other flavorings that would have the same effect.

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