Whether it’s the weather or just a bad day, there are certain foods that work as a source of comfort no matter what the situation. Blueberry pie is one of these foods. For me, eating any kind of pie, warm from the oven with a generous scoop of good-quality vanilla ice cream and a spoon does something, it could be the warmth of the pie, made with a flaky, not-too-sweet, buttery crust, and soft, sweet, tangy blueberries baked together. It could also be the fact that any pie is my all-time favorite food. Apple pie is a classic, but blueberry pie is all the more merrier, for one, the color is a deep, dark purple, and the taste is tangy from the lemon, and sweet from the perfect amount of sugar. It is not at all runny, and is so easy to eat. The buttery, fruity smell that fills up the kitchen is just fabulous. I favor all treats with a golden, crisp crust and a rich filling, disliking any crust that is soggy; this tends to happen often when making pies and tarts. Dorie Greenspan’s original recipe calls for breadcrumbs, but I am put off by the idea of using breadcrumbs because I find them to often be stale and I don’t quite like the idea of using them in a pie. Instead, I use crushed cookies, preferably oaty cookies or graham crackers. You can barely taste them, but they very much help keep the bottom of the crust crisp. Overall, this recipe is the perfect blueberry pie, for really any occasion. Like Dorie says, “I bet you’ll make this over and over during berry season.”
For the crust:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) COLD (frozen works!) butter
1/3 cup COLD (frozen works!) vegetable shortening*
6 tbsp ice water (melted ice 😉
1. In a food processor, combine all the dry ingredients, pulse until combined. Add in the butter and shortening, pulse until it resembles bread crumbs. Add the ice water in 3 stages, until the mixture comes together and forms a ball. You may need more or less depending on the mixture- if it still looks dry, add more water- it is important to add it gradually.
2. If there are small chunks of butter, it is alright, it makes the tart even flakier.
3. Place the dough on a floured work surface, and divide in into two balls. Form disks, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before using. (I usually make the dough the day before.)
*the shortening makes the dough light and flaky
For the filling:
2 1/2 pints blueberries (5 cups)
1 cup sugar, or a little more, to taste, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Coarsely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Squirt of lemon juice, or a little more, to taste
1/4 cup oaty biscuit crumbs or graham cracker crumbs
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg wash
Sugar, for dusting
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Put the berries in a large bowl and gently stir in the sugar, flour, salt, zest and juice; let sit for about five minutes. Taste the filling and add more sugar and/or lemon juice, if you want.
3. Sprinkle an even layer of the cookie crumbs over the bottom crust. Give the filling a last stir and turn it into the crust.
Assembling the pie:
1. Unwrap the disks, and flour a work surface. (For this part, I use two large squares of parchment paper, and place the dough between them. Use a lot of flour to keep the dough from sticking.)
2. Roll the dough out to about 0.5 cm thickness, it should be fairly wide. Carefully place the dough in the middle of a 9×13 pie plate, and cut off the extra bits.
3. Roll the second disk out and keep it ready.
4. Using your fingertips, moisten the rim of the bottom crust with a little cold water. Center the top crust over the filling and gently press it against the bottom. Seal, trim and either flute or press the edges of the crusts together.
5. Using a small knife, cut 4 slits in the top crust and cut a circle out of the center. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat – it will be your drip-catcher. (If you have time, refrigerate the pie for about 30 minutes. The pie can also be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months. Glaze and sugar it before you put it in the oven and add at least 15 minutes to the baking time.)
6. Brush the top crust with the egg wash then sprinkle the crust with a little sugar – just to give it sparkle.
7. Bake the pie for 30 minutes.
8. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and bake the pie for another 30 minutes or so (total baking time is about 1 hour), or until the crust is a beautiful golden brown and the filling is bubbling up through the slits. If the crust seems to be browning too quickly, make a loose foil tent for the pie.
Transfer the pie to a rack and let it cool – and settle – for at least 30 minutes before serving.