Pardon my ignorance but I didn't know a huckleberry from nothin' until we moved here. Where I grew up in Northern Ontario, wild blueberries are more common and grow on low bushes close to the ground. They're really tiny, packed with flavor and take real dedication and a lot of patience to pick enough for a pie.
Then while living in Western Canada I learned all about the larger more commercial high bush blueberry and about saskatoon berries too but here in Oregon, we're surrounded by wild huckleberries of the blue, black and red variety, along with copious amounts of blackberries too. It's been quite the learning experience.
Big Guy picked a quart in his hiking travels and I stuck them in the freezer to save for a special occasion. Friends visiting from New Mexico and a feed of Dungeness crab seemed like the perfect time to showcase a pie made from the tart, juicy little orbs of deliciousness.
A crisp and sugary shortbread crust (Pate Sucree) blind baked until golden then cooled and topped with a sweetened cream cheese and sour cream pastry cream and crowned in shiny huckleberries is what this stellar pie's all about. Further enhanced by a huckleberry glaze, the pie needs a good 3 hours in the refrigerator before serving to set up, which makes it a perfect dessert candidate when you're picking crab and drinking wine.
Incidentally you can always substitute another berry like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries if huckleberries aren't common in your neck of the woods. Of course you'll have to change the name of the pie, but you already knew that didn't ya.
Huckleberry Cream Cheese Pie (adapted from Idaho a la Carte)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups huckleberries (divided)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 baked and cooled 9 or 10 inch crust (I used Pate Sucree)
Using an electric mixer and a small bowl, whip together cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and sugar until mixture is light and fluffy. Spread onto bottom of baked and cooled crust and refrigerate for 1 hour. In a small pot combine 1 cup huckleberries and water. Heat over medium heat until almost boiling. Strain and mash mixture through a sieve leaving seeds and pulp and return juice to the pot (should be 1 cup). Mix together cornstarch and and sugar and add to juice in pot. Bring to a boil stirring constantly until mixture has thickened and juices are transparent. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Top cream cheese mixture in crust with 2 cups of berries. Spoon glaze mixture over berries return pie to refrigerator. Chill for 2 to 3 hours before cutting. Makes 6 servings.