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In Season: Blueberry Pie

18.August 2010

I never really loved blueberries growing up – even though my dad was always obsessed and even though we have a really fantastic source for local blueberries near my home.  But last summer I became obsessed with them.  Maybe it was a gene that needed to kick in.  Or maybe last summer was a turning point for me – it was the first summer that I was ecstatically happy for warm weather and it was also the first summer I started frequenting farmer’s markets.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I didn’t like blueberries, but I just didn’t really understand all the fuss.  My threshold blueberry experience might have been a certain clafoutis from last summer, actually.  Those little dark orbs just burst when I bit down and their juices made the clafoutis moist and beautiful.

When I discovered this summer that Dan actually likes baked blueberry things (even though he doesn’t generally like “warm fruit” or “cooked fruit”), I went way way overboard and started baking them left and right.  I made blueberry pancakes (with blueberry maple syrup), blueberry banana muffins, and a blueberry plum upside down cake (I’ll be telling you about that soon), and when I was making peach cobbler, I threw in some blueberries for good measure.

But what I want to talk to you about today is pie.  If you watch Top Chef, you may know where I’m going with this.  A few episodes into the new season, the chefs had to make a pie for their quickfire challenge.  And yes, I know those challenges are very quick – you have something like 45 seconds to make a pie and that’s very difficult at best – but really, making a pie is NOT rocket science.  But these chefs freaked out!  (The marquee blog has a nice recap of it here.)  Like it was totally ridiculous that they be asked to make pie crust!  (That did seem to be the bit that caused the most trouble – haven’t they ever even read Ratio?  Did they not have to do any pastry in cooking school?  Do they not have grandmothers who baked pies?)  And let me tell you – some of the pies they turned out were heeeeedious.  Crumbly, burned, pathetic crusts and runny disgusting combinations in the filling.  Ugh.  I don’t pretend to think that I’m a chef or that I should go on Top Chef, but I can (without a recipe in front of me, mind you!) make a perfectly servicable, delicious, beautiful pie crust!  Just saying.

ANYWAY. After seeing that episode I got all up on my high horse and proceeded to start passive-aggressively baking things using my trusty 3-2-1 pie crust (thank you Michael Ruhlman).  So, if you combine my anger at Top Chef with my pride in my pie crust with my newfound obsession with blueberries and you’ll be unsurprised that I made a blueberry pie.  But I threw in some ginger in order to make it worth a blog post.  Anyway, my point is threefold: 1. If you like blueberries, bake a pie with them.  2. If you want to make it a little more exciting, throw in some ginger.  3. If you’re going on Top Chef, for goodness sake please learn to make a pie crust.

Blueberry Pie

Crust:

  • 12 oz. flour (approx. 2 1/4 c)
  • 8 oz. butter (2 sticks, very cold, cut into chunks)
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • approx 4 oz. ice water (this is VERY approximate – add a tiny bit at a time)
  1. Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until well combined.
  2. Add butter a couple of chunks at a time and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  3. Drizzle in ice water and pulse until dough just comes together into large chunks.  Do NOT let it look wet.
  4. Dump the dough out onto some plastic wrap and squish it together into a single mass.  Chill it for a few minutes (more than 10, fewer than 60 minutes – I’m a fan of the 10 minute stint in the freezer so as to speed things along – so you can get done in the two hour Quickfire time allotment, obviously.)

While the crust is chilling, make your filling!  (See, it rhymes!)

  • Enough blueberries to fill your pie plate – I’m told about four cups works well
  • 1 T tapioca
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 T grated ginger
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  1. Mix all together without bursting the blueberries.  Just be sure they’re mostly coated.

Here’s where you’re supposed to get intimidated – it’s time to roll out the dough!

I have a couple of pro tips for you.  You can go with the whole rolling it out on a board and then wrapping it around your rolling pin to transport it to the pie plate OR you can do one of the following:

Squish the crust into the pie plate as if it were a tart pan (this is easier, admittedly, if it’s not chilled).

OR – my preferred plan – roll the dough out onto a Sil-Pat OR a piece of parchment OR a piece of aluminum foil and then flip that onto the pie plate.  You can do this either by placing the pie plate upside down on top of the rolled out dough then flipping the whole thing overor by flipping the parchment or Sil-Pat or foil over onto the pie plate and then peeling it carefully off.  Then you can coax the crust into the pie plate and trim as usual.  Same goes for the top crust.

Then, you just fill the crust with the berry filling, throw the top crust on and decorate as you like.  I like to use a little egg wash or brush the top with some preserves to encourage it to brown, and then either top with shapes cut out of the extra dough (as pictured) or sprinkle some sanding sugar.

Also, be sure to vent your crust if it’s a solid one.  Also, put your pie on a pan before putting it in the oven – you may overflow!  Bake for 45ish minutes at 400 – kick it up to 425 if your crust is slow to brown.

And that’s it!  Enjoy!

**Note: My pie was very runny, which is just how I like it.  It had solidified a bit by the next day (the slice pictured), but if you want it to be sturdier, use more tapioca.  It won’t change the flavor.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. wjh permalink
    18.August 2010 16:31

    i love how your blueberry boxes come with nets on them!! :)

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