After my parter in canning, C, had an adventure picking blueberries, and gave me some, I needed to make some blueberry pie. This is not just because a double crust pie is on the Cook’s 100. As a Mainer, it’s important for me to have some Maine regional specialties every summer, and blueberry pie is a common Maine summer dessert. The fact that I’m making them to coincide with my annual lobster dinner (I know it’s tough, but I as a Mainer, I MUST) this Saturday is just a happy coincidence.
As I had never made a blueberry pie before (though I’ve made many two crust pies), I sought the advice of those other New Englanders and cheffy types, the folks at America’s Test Kitchen. (That link will get you the recipe. On their site you should be able to see a video of them making this pie, too.)
This recipe has two great culinary revelations, one in the crust, and the other in the filling. The crust revelation is that they use vodka as some of the liquid in the crust, and the alcohol prevents the creation of gluten (as more water would), but evaporates away in the cooking. This means that the dough is easy to roll out, but still comes out flaky.
The filling revelation is the use of an apple for added pectin for thickening, to help out the minute tapioca, as well as some tart flavor notes. You squeeze out most of the moisture from the apple (as in the kohlrabi recipe previously seen here on Slow and Sew), but the pectin remains.
I’m particularly proud of us for making these pies (I had the help of DH) on a weeknight after work. , and it’s a great reason to pull out the good tools:
Once the pie crust is mixed up, and chilled, you roll it out. Chris Kimball has a different shaped rolling pin, and rotates the dough a quarter turn each time. I think I’d need to really practice that method to get good at it.
I rolled out the two bottom crusts, put them in their pans, and set them in the fridge to stay cold (That’s Rose Levy Berenbaum‘s biggest secret to great pie crust. Keep those ingredients COLD. Use your freezer, too.)
Look- I’m even letting you see the inside of our refrigerator. I knew you’d be thrilled.
With the shells chilling and ready for filling, it was time to address the filling portion of the recipe… Time to cook down a portion of the blueberries into a jam, to cook out the moisture that would bubble out, or spill when cutting the pies. This is accomplished with the saucepan, potato masher for squishing berries, and heat.
Of course, the wooden spatula is now permanently navy blue and tan, but it was worth it. After cooking half the berries down, then mixing the minute tapioca, sugar, and lemon zest with the remaining berries, and adding the hot and not hot berry mixtures, we had the filling.
Then, it’s back to the rolling action for the lid crusts.
And then, to my best Bridget Lancaster impersonation, crimping the crust edges.
And finally, after baking in a 400F oven for 30 mins, and 30 mins more at 350F, here’s our result: