Tom Sawyer

Blueberry Pie

I was quite the lucky kid growing up because I had not one but two video stores in my town. And I’m not talking chain stores. These were good old mom and pop stores and I spent many hours of my life in them. Every Friday after school, I could be found pacing back and forth in the small aisles, trying to choose who to take home that weekend. (Yes, I said who.) My parents would always let us rent 3 or 4 videos because we would watch them on loop the entire time we had them. One of the tapes we rented the most was Tom Sawyer. My brother was the one who originally chose it, but we all fell for it “Hook, Line and Sinker.” I knew the bare-bones of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but I had never seen it presented this way. I was drawn in by the beautiful animation, the changing style, and the fantastic music. (The characters being anthropomorphic animals also didn’t hurt.)

Actually, we watched this version of Tom Sawyer so much; I refused to give any other ones the time of day. Even when I visited Hannibal, Missouri, this movie was the only thing I could think about. (I saw a copy in a gift shop and freaked out a little.) We just couldn’t get over this movie. Tom and Huck easily charmed me with their rebellious and adventurous spirits. I even began to envy them. It didn’t help when the boys were thrown a “Hero Party” and got to eat their own pies. Hey, we grew up in a small, country town, so some recognition and baked goods really meant a lot. Nowadays, I can make a blueberry pie whenever I want, but we always considered Tom Sawyer one of our ultimate summer movies, so there’s no better time like the present.

Recipe makes one 10-inch pie.



2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cold and cut into chunks

4 tablespoons ice water, plus 1 or 2 more tablespoons if needed

1 egg, plus 1 tablespoon milk for egg wash



6 cups blueberries

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon (Optional)

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small chunks




In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 4 tablespoons of ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until dough just comes together when pressed. If the dough is too dry, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse again. Form dough into a ball and divide in half. Flatten each half into a disk and cover in plastic wrap. Let dough chill until firm, 30 minutes to an hour.


In a large bowl, combine sugar, quick-cooking tapioca, salt, cinnamon, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Gently fold in blueberries until fully coated in sugar mixture.

Putting It All Together:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Unwrap one dough disk and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough anywhere from 11 to 14 inches across and place in a pie tin. Gently press dough into place. Trim excess dough or fold it back on itself.

Pour or spoon filling into pie crust. (I pushed some of the blueberries into two small mounds to try to get a similar shape to the pie Huck is eating.) Dot the blueberries with small chunks of butter.

Unwrap the second dough disk and roll out similar to the first disk. Place the dough over the blueberries. Press both crusts together to seal. Trim excess dough or fold it back on itself. Crimp edge for a more decorative look. Cut small vents into the top of the pie to allow steam to escape. Make an egg wash by whisking the egg and milk together and brush the top of the pie. Bake for 20 minutes. If the edges of the crust are browning too quickly, place a thin strip of foil over them.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbling and have thickened. Cool pie on a wire rack for 2 hours. Serve and enjoy!

TomSawyerPieTom Sawyer Pie (2)

Huck is a fox after my own heart. He’s covered in pie and isn’t going to stop eating any time soon. That’s pretty much me with desserts. And this blueberry pie is no different. But eating pie with my hands is as mischievous as I get, so I think I’m all right. No running off to Dead Man’s Cave for me. I’ve got all the treasure I need already. Right before my video store closed, I bought the Tom Sawyer that we used rent. You can pick up a VHS copy for 50 cents, but for me, this movie is priceless.


Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

The Phantom Tollbooth

Punctuation Mark Cookies

The first time I watched The Phantom Tollbooth was when I was in 6th Grade. We just covered the book (Or was it just excerpts?) by Norton Juster and were being treated to the movie. I can’t really remember much about the readings or watching the movie. (We also covered Where the Red Fern Grows, so I suppressed a lot of memories from that time.) I do know that I enjoyed them, but I don’t think I truly appreciated them. When I caught the movie floating around on my television years later, I thought I’d give it another go. Within seconds of the opening credits, I freaked out. “What? This is a Chuck Jones film! Look at who’s in this! They’re legends! How did I not notice any of this before?” And then I finished the film and freaked out again. “It’s so cleverly done! It’s beautiful! I can’t get these songs out of my head!” I was very ashamed of my younger self for not caring as much back then, but I guess I was in the school lull like Milo. I also had to discover a love of learning. (I never did learn to love school, though.) If I treated words and numbers like they are in The Phantom Tollbooth, maybe my education would’ve been a tad more enjoyable.

If I lived in the Kingdom of Wisdom, you’d probably find me in Dictionopolis. I just can’t help but love all the letters and words for sale. It’s so overwhelming that I’d probably try to use upholstery, flabbergast, and quagmire in the same sentence too. And I laugh when Milo starts making a speech at King Azaz’s banquet and it’s served to him as food. “I didn’t know I was going to have to eat my words.” Priceless! Now I’m serving up letters and such too, but they’re not from Milo’s plate. When Milo and Tock are thrown into the dungeon, they meet a Which. (Get it? Which? And her brother is a Whether Man! I love it!) The poor Which was wrongfully thrown in the dungeon after Princesses Rhyme and Reason left the land. Lucky for her, she’s got all the comforts of home in her cell and can pass the time by making up cookies! She offers the tastiest looking tray of punctuation marks and representations of King Azaz and the Mathemagician to Milo and Tock. It’s fun enough just seeing that, but I bet it’s even more fun eating them. I hear the the question marks are delicious!

Recipe makes about 20 chocolate shortbread cookies, depending on the size.


½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

½ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup flour



Sift and combine flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer, cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, and mix until combined. Remove the dough from the stand mixer and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/4 an inch. Cut out shapes with any similar-looking cookie cutters or make stencils and cut out with a paring knife. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. For the cookies that have the details like extra marks and lines, now would be the time to carve those in. I also tried creating the details by making an extra tiny batch of dough using darker cocoa powder and pressing the darker dough onto the lighter one. Once you’ve used up all your dough, chill the cookies for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake cookies until crisp and firm, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Now would be the time to eat them!

Phan Tollbooth CookiesPhantom Tollbooth Cookies

No wonder Tock snuck another one! Who knew that education could be so delicious? And making a batch of these is far from boring. Milo needed an adventure through a magical tollbooth to cure his boredom blues. All I need are some cookies!


Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!