Pie. It’s so very Americana. I don’t usually make pies, unless it’s the Christmas holiday season, in which case fresh pumpkin pies and dark chocolate pecan pies are a must on my list. But I was recently in a “pie mood,” and maybe it’s because everywhere I look there is fruit waiting to be put into something. So I found an excuse to make several, and I had to include a nice wild blueberry pie on that list.
A favorite book around our house is Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey which is a classic book from the 1940s that just puts you in the mood for blueberries and much to do with blueberries. So, let’s just say, I have had blueberries on the brain. Now, we aren’t in Maine where we can boast of picking wild blueberries, but sometimes it’s a beautiful thing to have someone pick them for you. I ask my girls, “do you think Sal picked these for us?”
As for the recipe, it was about 4 years ago that I was in search of dessert inspiration for my brother-in-law Joel, who has an unnatural aversion (just my opinion- plus I like to give him a hard time) to chocolate and sweets typically craved in our family. It was his birthday, we were on a family trip in the mountains, and he wanted a pie and likes berries. And so- it was Birthday Pie for Joel. I did some research and found this recipe from Gourmet, adjusted it slightly and it was a success. I use frozen wild (low-bush) blueberries because the flavor is so intense though if you can’t find them fresh or frozen, you could certainly use the larger cultivated blueberries which are available everywhere. I serve this room temperature with a large dollop of freshly whipped cream, or if you are in the mood for more, add a scoop of vanilla icecream.
Wild Blueberry Pie
adapted from Gourmet Magazine, August 2006 (Deep-Dish Wild Blueberry Pie)
Ingredients for Pastry Dough:
- 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cold, unsalted butter cut into smallish cubes
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 6 Tbsp. iced water
Preparation for Pastry Dough:
Blend together flour, butter, sugar, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps.
Drizzle 6 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork (or pulse) until incorporated.
Squeeze a small handful of dough: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring (or pulsing) until incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough.
Turn out dough onto a work surface. Divide dough into 8 portions. With heel of your hand, smear each portion once or twice in a forward motion to help distribute fat. Gather all dough together. For a double-crust pie, divide dough into 2 pieces, with one slightly larger, then form each into a ball and flatten each into a 5-inch disk. If dough is sticky, dust lightly with additional flour. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
Ingredients for Pie:
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
- 6 cups fresh wild blueberries or 3 (10-ounce) packages frozen (not thawed)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Pastry dough
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 9 and 1/2 inch “deep-dish” pie plate with 6 cup capacity
Preparation of Pie:
- Put a large baking sheet on oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F.
- Whisk together brown sugar and tapioca and toss with blueberries and lemon juice in a large bowl.
- Roll out larger piece of dough (keep remaining piece chilled) on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Chill shell while rolling out dough for top crust.
- Roll out remaining dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin into an 11-inch round. Cut out 5 or 6 small holes with small decorative cookie cutters or use a small knife to slash steam vents toward center.
- Spoon filling with any accumulated juices into shell, dot with butter, and cover with top crust. Trim top crust with kitchen shears, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang of top crust under bottom pastry and press against rim of pie plate to reinforce edge, then crimp decoratively and brush with egg wash.
- Bake pie on hot baking sheet in oven 30 minutes, then cover edge with a pie shield or foil to prevent overbrowning. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes more.
- Cool pie completely on a rack, about 4 hours (filling will be runny if pie is still warm).