Nothing completes a 4th of July BBQ quite like a homemade piece of berry pie (a la mode of course!). But this isn’t just any berry pie. According to Cook’s Illustrated, this is the BEST Blueberry Pie. And with the addition of our handpicked fresh blueberries, this pie just got even better.
If it weren’t for our over abundance of berries, I may have never considered making this pie. Like I have mentioned before, I rarely have the heart to bake or cook with my fresh fruit. I love it so much that it is it is hard for me part with it. But with blueberries coming out of our ears, I had no problem putting them to good use in this delicious pie.
When it comes to baked goods, I rarely get this fancy. I have made many pies in my lifetime, and have even made my own crust. But to be honest, nowadays, if I can get away with using store bought crust, I will usually take advantage of the short cut (no shame in my game…). And while we are in the midst of confessions, I planned on using store bought crust for this pie too. Especially since I was pressed for time and coming down with a cold. But my neighbor (who had recommended this recipe and had made his own pie the day before) offered to help me. So this pie ended up being a joint effort :)
Foolproof Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup cold water
6 cups (about 20 ounces) fresh blueberries
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 (5 1/2 ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons instant tapioca, ground
Pinch table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
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; 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 one disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up 10 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 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 3o 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 a 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 10 1/4 cup) work surface to 11-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut shape from center of dough. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least 1/2 inch overhang on each side. Cut slits in the top using a sharp knife.
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 wash. 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.
Recipe slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, Issue #93
I wouldn’t consider myself a pie girl. I might indulge during Thanksgiving or Christmas but for the most part, I save my calories for other sweet treats. But this pie has a magic about it that had me going back for more. The blueberries might be the star, but the crust is pretty awesome too. Slap a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top and you are in 4th of July heaven.
Even though the festivities of Independence Day are winding down, this pie is a dessert that can be enjoyed throughout the summer and beyond. So the next time you have 6 cups of blueberries lying around, give it a try. I bet you will agree that it is indeed THE BEST Blueberry Pie.