When it comes to making pie, I tend to procrastinate and put it off, and I’m not really sure why. Every time I get down to actually making one, I’m reminded of how simple, uncomplicated and enjoyable a process it is. I’ve been wanting to try a new blueberry pie recipe for ages now… I made one a long, long time ago and while it was good, I knew a better blueberry pie was possible. When I saw how beautiful the blueberries looked at the grocery store on Saturday morning, I couldn’t ignore the pie craving any longer.
One of the things I loathe about fruit pies is how often they fail to set up properly. There’s nothing worse than cutting into a beautiful pie, lifting out a slice, and seeing juice run everywhere. This blueberry pie recipe is the absolute best that I’ve ever had – it’s full of beautiful, fresh blueberries and the filling is the perfect consistency. Add to that my favorite crust recipe, and you have a pie trifecta.
There are two key components to getting the filling to set up as nicely as it does:
First, half of the blueberries are cooked down and mashed a bit, which creates a thick jam-like mixture. That is added to the remaining ingredients, including the rest of the fresh blueberries.
Next, granulated tapioca is added to the pie filling, which acts as a nice thickener and keeps the juices from thinning out and running.
I’m so glad that I talked myself into making this pie over the weekend – it took a lot less time than I anticipated and it is definitely the blueberry pie that I’ve been dreaming about. I served it for dessert on Sunday and everyone raved about it – they loved the crust and how fresh the filling tasted. A home run of a dessert, for sure!
Don’t let blueberry season end without making this pie, the recipe is definitely a keeper.
Make the Crust: Process 1½ cups of the flour, the salt and sugar in a food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 to 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute the dough evenly around the processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Remove 1 disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a generously floured work surface to a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Ease the dough into the plate by gently lifting the edge of the dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with the other hand. Leave any dough that overhangs the plate in place; refrigerate while preparing the filling, at least 30 minutes.
Make the Filling: Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the oven rack, and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place 3 cups of the berries in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Using a potato masher, mash the berries several times to release juices. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of the berries have broken down, the mixture is thickened and reduced to 1½ cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Place the grated apple in a clean kitchen towel and wring dry. Transfer the apple to a large bowl. Add the cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine. Transfer the mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.
Roll out second disk of dough on a generously floured work surface to an 11-inch circle. Cut out rounds of dough, shapes, or prepare a lattice crust. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least ½-inch overhang on each side.
Using kitchen shears, trim bottom layer of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute the edges or press with tines of fork to seal. Whisk together the egg and water, and brush the top and edges of pie with egg mixture. Place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake until the juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.
Note #1: You can use frozen blueberries in place of the fresh blueberries. If you do, cook half over medium-high heat without mashing, until they are reduced to 1¼ cups, about 12 to 15 minutes.Note #2: The vodka in the crust is essential, as it evaporates in the oven, providing moisture but no gluten development. You may substitute another 80-proof liquor, but not water. If you cannot have vodka, I recommend using this crust recipe, doubled.Nutritional values are based on one servingNote #3: I did the star design on the crust using a double sided pie topper from King Arthur Flour, one side with stars and the other with cherries, which appears to be out of stock now.