Monday, July 4, 2011

Classic Blueberry Pie

I'd like to let you in on a little secret: pie crusts terrify me. I guess part of it is that I'd rather eat a cake or brownies or ice cream than a temperamental pie. Also, when I think of pie, I think of fruit more than I think of chocolate (and chocolate pies, to me, deserve an Oreo or graham cracker crust anyway).

But it's time to get over my fear. I'm not going to improve if I only make one pie (spoiler: pumpkin) a year. Of course, a hot summer kitchen isn't really pie crust's best friend, but nothing says July 4th more than pie.

This recipe is from Annie, my new favorite blogger. Christina, however, gives a beautiful tutorial on the lattice pie crust. Never fear though, this pie is perfectly delicious with a standard double crust, as long as you make holes in it for the steam to escape (cutting holes with festive cookie cutters always brings it to the next level). My only change is that I have had success with Martha's pie crust and didn't want to change it up. I also used this "by hand in a bowl" method (but not the recipe) to avoid overmixing the dough in the food processor, and, let's be honest, to have one less appliance to clean. :)

Classic Blueberry Pie
2 rolled-out rounds basic pie dough
¾ c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
½ t. finely grated lemon zest
¼ t. salt
¼ t. cinnamon
4 c. blueberries
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
1 T. water

Line the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan with one of the rolled-out dough rounds. Set pan aside in the refrigerator until ready to fill.

To make the filling, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt, and cinnamon. Place the blueberries in a large bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice, and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the berries and toss to distribute evenly. Immediately transfer to the dough-lined pan. Dot with butter pieces. Either follow instructions for a lattice crust or place the remaining dough round on top of the pie and trim the excess from the bottom and top rounds. (Roll excess dough into shapes like mini pretzels, dust with cinnamon sugar, and bake alongside pie on a cookie sheet for 10–12 minutes... husbands love these but get made fun of if they bring them to the office in their lunch.) Crimp the dough rounds together to seal the edges. Be sure to cut vents in the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking.

Refrigerate the pie until the dough is firm, 20–30 minutes. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375°. In a small bowl, beat the egg and water with a fork to make an egg wash. Brush onto the top crust just before baking.

Bake the pie until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling, 50–60 minutes (55 was just right for me). Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely to set, 1–2 hours. Serve at room temperature or rewarm in a 350° oven for 10–15 minutes just before serving. Delicious served with vanilla ice cream.

Note: If fresh blueberries are unavailable, use frozen blueberries (without thawing) and increase the baking time by 10–15 minutes.
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