For a festive Fourth of July, I baked blueberry and strawberry pies served with store-bought (gasp!) vanilla ice cream. Get it? Red, white and blueberry. The blueberry pie is the new addition to the recipe index, as I previously baked this strawberry pie. However, it was the first time anyone else tried that pie, since I managed to take it down all by myself…
At the time, I thought the strawberry pie was exceptional. But, it really paled in comparison to this blueberry pie in both taste and appearance. This might just be my general preference for blueberries over strawberries, but even my in-laws, who love strawberry desserts, thought the same. I’m sure my sister-in-law, who doesn’t like fruit (I know, what?), would have liked it if she tried it, too.
In my opinion, the game-changer in this particular recipe was the cinnamon. Just one-quarter of a teaspoon was enough to enhance the flavor profile ever so subtly (I noticed it because I baked it, but no one else did).
The only issue I had with this pie was in the cutting, serving and presentation. Despite allowing the pie to cool COMPLETELY to room temperature (overnight, ~24 hours), it still ran everywhere when I cut into it. I don’t think a perfectly cut slice of pie was within the realm of my expectations for a berry pie, but a guy can dream. I did manage to get a decent photo of two slices of pie without having mangled pie crust and berries all over the place:
I looked at pie recipe options from America’s Test Kitchen and King Arthur Flour, but I wanted to test a recipe that didn’t call for an ingredient I’d only use once. America’s Test Kitchen uses a grated apple to boost the pectin (similar to gelatin) required for a more solid filling as well as quick-cooking tapioca to absorb some of the liquid (though I read that it can lead to a gummy texture), and the recipe involves reducing half of the blueberries in a saucepan prior to baking. King Arthur Flour’s recipe involved more blueberries and recommends using Instant ClearJel as a thickener. Both recipes used more sugar, too, though I think this would make the filling more runny.
I think I might take elements of these recipes into consideration for the future Blueberry Pie II, specifically the Instant ClearJel instead of cornstarch and reducing half of the berries (using more berries).
Based on recipe found here.
2 1/2 cups (315 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
3/4 cup vegetable shortening, cubed and chilled
2/3 cup ice water
6 cups (~890g, ~30 oz.) fresh blueberries
2/3 cup (135 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (28 g) cornstarch
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tbsp. milk
Coarse sugar, for topping unbaked pie
- For the pie crust: Blend flour and salt together in a food processor.
- Pulse chilled butter and shortening into the flour mixture until there are pea-sized morsels of fat.
- Drizzle in the ice water and blend just until the dough starts to form (i.e. not very long).
- On a floured surface, fold the dough until flour is incorporated into the fats, form into a ball, divide in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour while the salted caramel and apples are prepared.
- For the blueberry filling: In a large bowl, stir blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and lemon juice. Set aside.
- For the assembly: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Roll out one of the pie crusts (keep the other in the refrigerator) and place the dough into a 9″ pie plate, leaving any overhang.
- Fill the pie crust by spooning in the blueberries, trying to leave behind as much of the excess liquid as possible in the bowl.
- Dot the filling with the pieces of butter. Place dish into the refrigerator while the other pie crust is prepared.
- Remove the other pie crust and roll out the dough. Using a pizza cutter, cut strips sized to your liking and prepare the lattice crust. Trim overhanging lattice strips, then clamp the edges with the overhang of the bottom crust. Decoratively pinch the edge of the crust.
- Brush the top of the pie with the egg/milk mixture, and sprinkle coarse sugar over top.
- Place pie into a large, parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 25-30 minutes.
- Allow the pie to cool for at least 3 hours at room temperature before serving (ideally overnight).