July 10, 2013

Blueberry Pie

It's been a while, hasn't it? I have spent the better part of the last month on vacation in China! I was only able to do a small amount of baking while I was away (many people don't have ovens in their kitchens, but a relative let me use a portable one to make a cake) so I was eager to get back to baking as soon as the jet-lag wore off.

Luckily, the opportunity presented itself pretty quickly. I found myself in possession of about 8 pounds of blueberries after a morning of productive berry picking, and had no doubt about what to do with my delicious haul: blueberry pie.

Blueberry pie is my absolute favorite pie. I enjoy the blueberries complemented with a bit of lemon and a whole lot of vanilla. For that reason, I made a special trip to the grocery store to get some fresh, fragrant, vanilla beans.

Each pie only takes 2 pounds of blueberries. Since I had 8 pounds, I decided to make 4 pies - 1 for immediate consumption and 3 for freezing.

This pie did not disappoint. Blueberries are not too sweet, and not too sour, and when they're baked, they keep their structure just enough to kind of "pop" when you eat them.  I'm not sure how long those frozen pies are going to last!

Blueberry Pie

Ingredients for Crust
2½ cups (12½ ounces) all-purpose flour (or whole wheat flour, I used a mixture)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1¼ cups (2½ sticks) cold, unsalted butter
~¾ cup ice water

Ingredients for Filling
½ cup sugar
zest and juice from ½ lemon
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 pounds fresh or frozen blueberries

  1. For the crust, mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl with a fork.
  2. Cube the butter and "cut" it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until there are no butter bits that are bigger than a pea.  Make sure you don't go smaller than this, however, since you'll start to lose flakiness if the butter is too small.
  3. Add the ice water, a tablespoon or two at a time and use a fork to wet the flour/butter mixture.
  4. Keep adding until the dough just starts to hold together.  You don't want the dough too wet, and you don't want to mix in the water too much.  I find it useful to just use my hands to mix at this point.
  5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a couple hours at least (overnight is best).
  6. To make the filling, combine the sugar, lemon zest, vanilla, and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Toss the sugar mixture together with the blueberries and lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside.
  7. Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  8. Divide your pie dough in two.  Roll out the first half on a floured surface and use it to line the bottom of a 9" pie pan.
  9. Spoon the blueberry filling into the pan.
  10. Roll out the second half of the crust on a floured board cover the pie, sealing and crimping the edges.  If freezing, cover the pie with plastic wrap and throw it in the freezer now.
  11. Cut several slits in the top of the pie to allow air to escape.  Brush with an egg yolk wash and sprinkle with sugar if desired.
  12. Bake at 350° for about 50 minutes, or until the top is golden and the filling is bubbly.
  13. Allow to cool completely before serving.

1 comment:

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