Monday, August 29, 2011

Foolproof Blueberry Pie

I made the dough the day before and let it chill overnight.

Cooking half the berries

As I've mentioned here, Gabe loves blueberry pie.  Now that we live in Michigan, I didn't have the luxury of buying one from Sweet Lady Jane and had to actually try to make one.  Let me defend myself by saying I've tried making them in the past and the crust never seems to come out quite right.  This time I tried a new recipe that my dad told me about from America's Test Kitchen and it made all the difference.  This recipe uses vodka in the crust to add extra moisture, making the crust more workable without making it tough.  The alcohol vaporizes while cooking and the final crust turns out tender and flaky.  And it was just that.  The crust was perfect, easy to shape, and tasted amazing.  The filling was an ideal consistency, full of plump berries that didn't run all over the place when we cut into it.  All in all, I think the pie was a huge success, if I do say so myself.  I'll definitely continue using this crust recipe for all my future pies.

Best Blueberry Pie with Foolproof Pie Dough
Recipe by: America’s Test Kitchen
Crust Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices (I put the slices of butter and shortening in the freezer for about 30minutes before using)
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces (I use butter flavor)
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup cold water
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Blueberry Filling Ingredients:
6 cups fresh blueberries (about 30 ounces)*
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
2 teaspoons grated zest and 2 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, ground*
Pinch table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1. For The Pie Dough: Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

3. Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

4. For The Filling: Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Using potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.

5. Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry. Transfer apple to large bowl. Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine. Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.

6. Roll out second disk of dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 11-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Using 1 1/4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut round from center of dough. Cut another 6 rounds from dough, 1 1/2 inches from edge of center hole and equally spaced around center hole. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least 1/2-inch overhang on each side.

7. Using kitchen shears, trim bottom layer of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges of pie with egg mixture. If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.

8. Place pie on heated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

*This recipe was developed using fresh blueberries, but unthawed frozen blueberries (our favorite brands are Wyman’s and Cascadian Farm) will work as well. In step 4, cook half the frozen berries over medium-high heat, without mashing, until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 12 to 15 minutes. Grind the tapioca to a powder in a spice grinder or mini food processor. If using pearl tapioca, reduce the amount to 5 teaspoons. Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor; do not substitute.


Anonymous said...

It looks like it turned out delicious!

Danielle (elleinadspir) said...

I've never seen a recipe for crust with vodka in it. I need to try that for sure.

Lisa Griffin said...

I've never heard of vodka in a pie crust but this could be my new technique!

Lindsay said...

OH how I've missed your recipes :)

Josie said...

Mmmm! Valerie, this looks seriously delicious. I've never attempted a whole pie on my own but this might be enough to inspire me, no joke. Hope all is well, gorgeous!
xo Josie

Amber Blue Bird said...

wow vodka in the crust? Never heard of that one before but it makes sense. I will have to try that out soon.

Sarah B. said...

CONGRATS VAL! That pie looks SO delicious! Sweet Lady WHO??? ;-) And Gabe's face is priceless!

Gabriel said...

That pie is amazing! I'll have seconds now.

Marcie said...

Your back, YEAH!!!!!!!! :) I just thought I'd torture myself and stop by your blog today, and I came across more than one new post! It was so good to catch up on all the fun things in your life. Congrats on having a little boy, you are going to be such a great mom!

How is Michigan? Did you buy a house? I am so excited you are back!


Krystal said...

congratulations!!!! it's good to see a post from you, and know that you are still whipping up deliciousness :)

She Wore It Well said...

welcome back to the blogging world!

looks delish x

Jessica said...

Um yes please, I wish I had a slice of that right about now.

Jess said...

Definitely printing this out! Looks amazing.

Marie said...

Yay for a successful pie and thanks for sharing the recipe!:D

Have a fun and safe long weekend!:D

***** Marie *****

this free bird said...

I just had pop chips, a couple of luna bars, some ice cream and am now wanting pie. Thanks Val. I'm nowhere near pregnant, but vaguely starting to resemble it. oy


Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I don't lie pie but this looks delish!

Mo Pie, Please said...

Looks incredible! I made a blueberry cobbler last week so I won't be making this anytime soon but please know I'm drooling here...

Kate's Rant said...

Can't believe you MADE a blueberry pie!! Wait. Yes I can. You set the bar so high! I wish I was there to have a piece. It looks absolutely delicious!

Sell WoW Account said...

that looks so delicious!!!:D

Michelle said...

I have to make this for the upcoming holiday!