When people think of blueberries, they usually think of Maine. Rightly so. During the summer months, you can pretty much gauge the passage of time based on what berries are in season. And you know what’s in season based on what the roadside stands are selling. Luckily for me, we had a few well-cared for blueberry bushes at our house that turned out dozens of pints of berries every summer (they still do). Thanks to my mother’s excellent baking skills, we always had a bounty of blueberry pies and cakes to feast on.
While I might be a little bit ahead of blueberry season here in the mid-Atlantic, I couldn’t pass up the organic blueberries that were on sale at Whole Foods last Friday. At $2 per pint, it was too good a deal to miss. Some friends were hosting a barbecue on Sunday too, so a blueberry pie was in order.
After a phone call with my mother and consulting a few recipe books and blogs (The Joy of Cooking, How to Cook Everything, Simply Recipes), I gained two bits of essential blueberry pie baking knowledge. First, a butter crust is the way to go – forget the Crisco (this goes for all pies). Second, use flour with the berry mixture in order to prevent a soupy pie. Follow this advice and you’ll be on your way to a delicious pie. This was my best effort yet.
Blueberry Pie2 1/2 cups flour 2 tspn sugar 1 tspn salt 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed 6-8 TBSP cold water 5 cups blueberries 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup flour, plus 1-2 TBSP 1 TBSP lemon juice 1 tspn lemon zest Pinch salt 1-2 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 2 eggs 2 TBSP water
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse for 2-3 seconds to combine. Add the cubed butter and process until blended and the mixture is corse, about 10 seconds. Put the mixture in large bowl and add the water. Combine with your hands until you can form into a ball. Cut the dough into even halves. Shape each half into a 4-6 inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Be sure to rinse the blueberries ahead of time and remove any remaining stems. In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt and set aside for 10-20 minutes.
On a floured surface, roll one of the pastry dough discs into a 12-13 inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Fit the dough into a 9 inch pie pan, trimming any extra around the edges and leaving a 1/2 inch overhanging. Fill the pie with the blueberry mixture and dot with the small pieces of butter.
Roll out the second pastry dough disc to the same size as the first. Carefully cover the pie with the crust and trim the edges to a 1/2 inch. Tuck the top dough under the bottom dough and crimp the edges. Whisk the eggs together with the water to make an egg wash. Use a pastry brush to and fully coat the top of the pie. Cut a few 1-2 inch vents in the pie. Place the pie on the middle rack in the oven and bake for 55-60 minutes. You’ll also want to place a baking pan on the rack underneath to catch any spillover.
Let the pie cool completely before serving.