It’s blueberry season in Michigan! I’ve already been blueberry picking twice, and I have big plans for all those berries. Mike loves pretty much anything with blueberries in it (muffins, bread, cake), and theyr’e so much fun to bake with. We had Mike’s aunt and uncle over for dinner last weekend and I used some of our fresh blueberries to bake my first ever pie!
I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without baking a pie. I’ve helped my mom bake plenty of them, but my “help” mainly consisted of watching the process and eating leftover pieces of pie dough. I’ve always been intimidated – rolling out the crust, making it look pretty, it just seemed dificult. But with the temptation of an abundance of fresh blueberries, and a recipe from Williams-Sonoma, I was ready to tackle my first pie.
Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be simple! I made the crust in my stand mixer, and it was so easy to roll out and put in the pie plate. The whole process turned out to be quick and painless, and kind of fun! (in my mom’s words, “where do you think the phrase ‘easy as pie’ came from?).
I need to work on my presentation a little…the crimped edges leave a lot to be desired, and you wouldn’t exactly call my pie pretty. But the taste was perfect. The filling was sweet and delicious, the crust was buttery and flaky, and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. I warmed it in the oven and served it with vanilla ice cream…yum…I wish I had some now. Mike rated it a 4, and requested it again in the near future. I’ll be making this pie again before blueberry season is over!
2 rolled-out rounds of basic pie dough (recipe below)
4 cups blueberries
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, strained
3⁄4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. cornstarch
1⁄2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Basic Pie Dough:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 Tbs. very cold water
To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
To make the dough in a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the flat beater, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (Although many dough recipes call for chilling the dough at this point, this dough should be rolled out immediately for the best results.) Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Makes enough dough for one 9-inch single-crust pie or one 10-inch galette.
Fold 1 dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Unfold and ease the round into the pan, without stretching it, and pat it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Using kitchen scissors, trim the edge of the dough, leaving 3/4 inch of overhang. Set the dough-lined pan aside, along with the other dough round, in a cool place until ready to use.
Place the blueberries in a large bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the berries and toss to distribute evenly. Immediately transfer to the dough-lined pan. Dot with the butter.
Fold the reserved dough round in half and carefully position it over half of the filled pie. Unfold and trim the edge neatly, leaving 1 inch of overhang, then fold the edge of the top round under the edge of the bottom round and crimp the edges to seal. Using a small, sharp knife, cut an asterisk 4 to 5 inches across in the center of the top to allow steam to escape during baking.
Refrigerate the pie until the dough is firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.
Bake the pie until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely to set, 1 to 2 hours. Serve at room temperature or rewarm in a 350°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes just before serving. Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8.
Note: If fresh blueberries are unavailable, use frozen blueberries (without thawing them first) and increase the baking time by 10 to 15 minutes.
Pie Dough: To make a double-crust pie: Double the recipe, cut the dough in half and pat each half into a round, flat disk. Roll out one disk into a 12-inch round as directed and line the pan or dish. Press any scraps trimmed from the first round into the bottom of the second disk. Roll out the second dough disk into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make-Ahead Tip: Pie dough may be made ahead and frozen for up to 2 months. To freeze, place the dough round on a 12-inch cardboard circle and wrap it well with plastic wrap. Alternatively, use the round to line a pie pan or dish, flute the edge and wrap well.