Friday, July 5, 2013

Blueberry Pie

I've been waiting to write this post from the day I joined the CSA program. I knew that come July the blueberries would start showing up and all would be right with the world. Blueberries are by far my favorite berry, and in our house we eat at least a pint a week, even when it means spending $5 for a half pint of berries that came from Chile. Yes, I admit with some shame that my desire for these little blue jewels trumps even my goal of eating locally grown seasonal food. Summer in New Jersey is when I can eat as many as I want with no guilt and no (or at least less) pain on my wallet.

The majority of the blueberries that enter our house end up sprinkled over yogurt, ice cream or in a salad, or just eaten by themselves. However, my favorite way of eating them is in a pie, and I know you all are with me here, I mean what fan of blueberries doesn't appreciate a good pie?  For me, pie is more than something I merely appreciate, its closer to an obsession.  Just ask my wife, pies are pretty much the only thing she bakes that I won't let leave the house.  I get very selfish and will happily work my way through a whole pie by myself over the course of a week, for pies are (in my opinion) one of the only pastries that will improve as it ages.

The recipe she uses is great because it has minimal sugar, which allows the blueberry flavor to shine through.  It's the berries, be they sweet or tart that will dictate the final flavor of the pie. She also skips the lattice top (and the headache that comes with building it) and simply cuts shapes from a piece of pie dough and scatters them on the top.  Stars for this one in the spirit of Independence Day.

Share Contents Used:

Pie Crust
2.5 cups flour
2 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup of ice water

Place the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and mix to combine.  Add the butter and process until the mixture forms into a coarse crumb texture. With the machine running, slowly pour 1/4 cup of water into the feed tube until the dough just holds together when you pinch it between your fingers. Add more water if necessary to achieve this.  Try to minimize the processing time to no more than 30 seconds if possible. Dump the dough out onto your counter and divide in half.  Form each pile into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour before using to ensure that the butter is cold. Once properly chilled, take one disk out of the fridge and place it on a floured work surface.  Gently roll out the disk to a 12 inch circle.  Transfer the dough to a 9 inch pie plate and form to the shape of the plate, trimming or crimping the outer edges as desired to remove any overhang.  Place the pie plate back in the refrigerator to keep cold until you are ready to fill it. Meanwhile, take the second disk of dough and roll out as instructed above.  Using a star shaped (or whatever shape you'd like to use) cookie cutter and cut out as many stars as you can.  Place the start on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place back in the refrigerator to chill.

Pie Filling
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tbs lemon zest

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest.  Thoroughly wash the blueberries and pick through them to remove any stems or leaves. Drain well and then place in the bowl with the sugar mixture and gently mix until all the berries are coated.  Remove the chilled pie dough in the pie place from the refrigerator and pour the berries and any accumulated liquid into the shell. Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash (made from 1 egg mixed with 1 tbs of cream) and then do the same to the stars.  Arrange the stars on the top of the pie filling and then place the pie in the heated oven (if the pie filling is right near the top edge, you may want to place the pie place on a sheet pan to catch any filling that bubbles out while baking) and bake for 20 minutes. reduce the oven temperature to 350 and continue baking for 35-45 minuted more until the crust is deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Allow the pie to cool for at least 2 hours before serving so the filling has time to set up.

Serve by itself, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.  Any leftovers can be stored covered at room temperature for a day or two.  Longer and you should put it in the refrigerator, or better yet give me a call and I'll take care of them for you!  Happy Independence Day!

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