Plyatsok (Ukrainian Blueberry Pie) Made Magic
A family recipe that is simply the peak summer dessert.
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My partner's family is Ukrainian, his grandparents coming from the western Ukrainian cities Lviv and Kolomiya, and one of the things that his babcia always used to make for them was a bit of blueberry pie—but not the way Americans make it, with the crust and the sticky filling. Rather, she used the fresh blueberries of summer to make plyatsok—a word that really just means "cake" and can actually take quite a few different forms, like this blogger's post shows here.
But to their family, it always meant this: a hearty, lemony dough packed full of ripe, sweet blueberries and covered with meringue and yet more dough. It is delicious on its own, but when you serve it hot with vanilla ice cream, it's seriously divine. It's something I make for my partner's birthday every August, and I'm excited to be able to keep this little piece of his family's heritage alive through something as mundane as baking—and to bring it alive again with something magical like kitchen witchery.
Because while there aren't many ingredients in this dish, there are enough that are powerful on their own: the blueberry, of course, and the lemon, sugar, egg, and butter.
Magic in Blueberry Plyatsok
These five things are pretty much all the dish is, and they are surprisingly powerful at cloaking you in protection while also purifying you and priming you for the changes you want to see in your life. In fact, Scott Cunningham even says in his book Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs that you should "make blueberry pies or tarts and eat when under psychic attack; this gets protection inside of you and increases the herb's effectiveness" (62). Lemon, too, has long been used to wash away negativity and cleanse people, items, and spaces, and served as a pie, "will help strengthen fidelity" (154).
With the elements of water, earth, and fire, as well as the planets Mars, Pluto, Venus, and the Moon, these ingredients are surprisingly shielding, as well as transformative and reinvigorating. To onlookers, it's just a slice of citrusy and sweet blueberry pie, but to a kitchen witch, it's a hearty slice of uplifting energy, with the power to drop a big tower shield down in front those who the kitchen witch wants to protect. With the sugar there to amplify the power of the intentions you weave into this dish, it packs a hell of a punch (and, of course, the food itself leaves you feeling so satisfied).
Prep time: 120 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Makes 4-6 Servings
3 3/4 cup (450g)
All Purpose Flour
3/4 lb (3 Sticks)
1 Whole Fresh
Lemon, for zest & juice
5 Tbsp (63g)
1 1/2 tsp
54 oz (1.5kg)
1 1/4 cup (250g)
Mix flour, butter, lemon juice and zest, sugar, baking powder, and yolks (save the egg whites for later).
Separate dough into five equal pieces and rest in refrigerator at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F / 180C.
Spread 3 pieces on the bottom and sides of a large baking dish.
Fill with blueberries.
Whip the egg whites until stiff and add sugar, then spread on top of blueberries.
Use a grater to grate the remaining dough balls into thin shavings over the top.
Bake for 1 hour and let cool for 15 minutes.
It's a bit of time to make, and that's why I only really make it for special occasions, but everyone I've had try a slice agrees: this is godly. Who knew so much blueberry could be so good? And when you let all pretty purple blueberry juice mix with the melting vanilla ice cream, it makes the most gorgeous (and delicious) mix of color and flavor. Try it out!
And, of course, slava Ukrajini. 💙💛