The Sweet Liqueur Ina Garten Swears By For The Best Blueberry Pie

Ina Garten
Ina Garten - Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock

As the weather starts to warm up, a number of fruits come into season. Blueberries, which are ideal for turning into blueberry muffins, easy breakfast pancakes, or a yummy blueberry pie, are some of the best. If you opt for a pie, you should know there are a few secret ingredients you can add to really ramp up the flavor and make it into one of your best-ever desserts. Ina Garten offers one such option on her blog, Barefoot Contessa: cassis, a type of blackcurrant liqueur. While it might not be a liqueur you'd typically keep stocked in your home bar, the addition of this drink can really enhance your blueberry pie.

How does it do this? Essentially, cassis deepens the flavor of the blueberries, making your dessert even more tasty. Moreover, though the alcohol in the liqueur cooks off as you bake your pie, it leaves a unique mouthfeel that levels up the sweet treat even further. We've got all the info you need on how best to use it -- and other liqueurs that can upgrade your pie.

Read more: French Cooking Tricks You Need In Your Life

What To Know About Adding Cassis Liqueur To Your Pie

Blueberry pie and blueberries
Blueberry pie and blueberries - pilipphoto/Shutterstock

If you're going to try and upgrade a classic blueberry pie with this unique liqueur, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Firstly, remember that cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur. Although it has a distinct tartness and noticeable tannins, it's actually quite a sweet drink. That means that if you're not careful, you can easily add too much of it to your dessert, making your dish cloying.

Garten  uses just 1 tablespoon of it in a single pie. She balances it out with 4 cups of blueberries as well as ¼ cup of lemon juice. If you find your berries are quite tart, you can always add a bit more cassis to balance them out. Or, if you're dealing with sweeter berries, you can play around with the amount of lemon juice you use to create harmony in your dessert. Feel free to adjust the ratios a bit to find a balance that gets you just the flavor you're looking for.

Other Liqueurs To Try

Bottles of liqueur
Bottles of liqueur - ArDanMe/Shutterstock

If you don't have cassis on hand or don't want to pick up a bottle you'll use for just one recipe, there are plenty of alternatives to play with. A splash of brandy can be a good option. Brandy has a fruity taste that pairs well with berries, as well as many sweet notes. Just note that this drink isn't as sweet as cassis, so you may have to lower the amount of lemon juice or increase the sugar to get a similar flavor.

Another option is to use gin, which has a faint note of citrus, although it also doesn't have the same level of sugar as cassis. To get a similar fruity flavor with a bit more sweetness, Grand Marnier or Cointreau could work. If you want to retain the tannins found in the cassis, blackberry or raspberry liqueurs could be nice additions.

Finally, for those who want to keep their pie completely alcohol-free, a simple dash of vanilla extract can work. Whichever way you go, these quick additions can lead to an even tastier blueberry pie.

Read the original article on Daily Meal