Everyone seems to go crazy for blueberries and strawberries around the 4th of July holiday, so it seemed like the perfect weekend to whip up a blueberry pie with one of my favorite people, Annie. Annie, by the way, appears to be superhuman – she gave birth only a little over 2 weeks ago and has been in the kitchen whipping stuff up left and right. She is definitely my hero! I have only made pies twice before and was anxious to give it another go and, more importantly, I wanted to try making a lattice top. After finally settling on a recipe, we were off to gather blueberries and assemble this beautiful pie!
More about assembling the pie and recipes after the break.
So first let’s talk about the base of the pie – the crust. I am definitely a crust girl, so to me it’s even more important than the pie filling (that might be blasphemous, I know!). I have yet to find a recipe that is my “go to” and since I haven’t made many pies I haven’t experimented with many different types of recipes. For this go-round I turned to the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, given to me by my friend Kayte. It called for a simple mix of flour, salt, butter and ice water, using the food processor to combine. This seemed to come together pretty easily and let me tell you, I might not ever try another crust recipe again. This crust was so incredibly flaky (this was helped by the amount of time I kept the dough chilled before baking) and amazingly buttery. I can’t stop breaking off pieces. I do need to work on my crimping, but this time around I focused on the lattice, and was so pleased with how it turned out!
And now the star of the show – the blueberries. The flavor of the blueberries is enhanced with some fresh squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, and sugar, and cornstarch is added as the thickening agent for the moisture that is released. We all know I’m not a fan of lemon, but this was the perfect complement for the berries and helped to create a very pleasant flavor – not overly sweet, and not tart. All in all, this pie was everything I had hoped for, and more! I love this crust recipe and the blueberries were just delectable. Paired with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this was the perfect summer dessert.
For the Pâte Brisée:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
¼ cup ice water, plus more if needed
For the Pie:
4 cups (2 pints) blueberries
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, strained
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water, for the egg wash (optional)
1. To Make the Pâte Brisée: In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour and salt; pulse to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining, about 10 seconds. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender.)
2. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until the dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Do not process more than 30 seconds. Test by squeezing a small amount of the dough together; if it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Turn out the dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
4. To Make the Pie: Fold 1 dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Using kitchen scissors, trim the edge of the dough, leaving ¾ inch of overhang. Set the dough-lined pan, along with the other dough round, in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
2. Place the blueberries in a large bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the berries and toss to distribute evenly. Immediately transfer to the dough-lined pan. Dot with the butter.
3. Fold the reserved dough round in half and carefully position it over half of the filled pie. Unfold and trim the edge neatly, leaving 1 inch of overhang, then fold the edge of the top round under the edge of the bottom round and crimp the edges to seal. Using a small, sharp knife, cut an asterisk 4 to 5 inches across in the center of the top to allow steam to escape during baking.
4. Refrigerate the pie until the dough is firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.
5. Brush on the egg wash over the surface of the pie, if desired. Bake the pie until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely to set, 1 to 2 hours. Serve at room temperature or rewarm in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes just before serving. Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8.
Note: If fresh blueberries are unavailable, use frozen blueberries (without thawing them first) and increase the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes.