March 14, 2008
Pi Day: Homemade Blueberry Pie!
Today is 3/14...get it 3.14...Pi day? When I first saw this challenge over at Kitchen Parade it immediately spoke to the science geek in me! Pi...Pie...What's not to like? My mind immediately began working and I finally decided to whip up a blueberry pie because I've always wanted to make one and what better time than now? I actually made this pie a few weeks ago, but I've been dying to share it with you ever since then! ;o)
The challenge is to come up with a homemade filling WITH a homemade crust. The filling is a breeze, but homemade pie crusts can be a pain in the you know what. I ended up coming up with one of each that was delicious so I was very pleased. I'll most definitely be making this again! ;o)
What You'll Need for the Crust:
2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 1/2 sticks of cold butter, cut into chunks
1/3-1/2 cup of ice water
The most important thing to remember when making a pie crust is that your ingredients need to be cold! You also need to put the dough, once it's made, back into the fridge in a ball for at least 30 minutes, if not an hour, before you roll it out for your pie. I also like to put the pie shell back into the fridge once it's rolled out and in the dish for another 30 minutes to an hour just to ensure that it's really set.
In a food processor, or in a bowl, mix together flour, sugar and salt until blended. Using the pulse function on your food processor, or a pastry cutter in a bowl, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture turns pebbly. Slowly add the ice water until dough ball forms. (Note on Dough: Depending on humidity levels you may need some or all of the water or may even have to add a bit more. Don't panic if it doesn't come together immediately. Just stop adding water as soon as the ball forms!) (Note on Ice Water: I've had people ask me this before, so I'll address it here just in case for those of you who aren't sure. What does ice water mean? How do you measure that? You measure the amount of water called for and THEN add the ice.) Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and smooth into a ball. Place in an airtight container and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
After dough has chilled return it to the floured surface and cut into two pieces, one piece being slightly larger than the other. Roll out the big piece and place into a glass pie dish. Press into place (and my crusts are always rustic because I haven't quite gotten the knack for flourishy crimps) and place back in the fridge for at least an additional 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Remove crust from fridge and place into the oven. Bake for 7-10 minutes until crust is golden. (Note: Since you are dealing with a cold pan and placing it into a hot oven there is the off chance that your dish might break, though I've never had this happen to me. If you're worried about it then skip the second cooling stage or place the dish on a baking pan in case it does break. But like I said I do this all the time and it's never happened.) If you want you can weigh down the crust by placing aluminum foil over the crust and using pie weights or dried beans, but you don't have to. You may get a few bubbles here and there, but it won't matter in the grand scheme of things. Once the pie shell is done remove from oven and let cool completely. This yields a very tender, sweet, flaky crust.
What You'll Need for the Blueberry Filling:
6-7 cups of fresh blueberries (Note: You can use frozen blueberries IF you've frozen them yourself. Commercially frozen blueberries wouldn't work well for this recipe. I actually had some I had frozen last fall and I used those along with a few fresh berries as well.)
The zest of two lemons
The juice of two lemons
1 cup of organic cane sugar (Note: If your blueberries are really tart then add an additional 1/2 cup of sugar.)
1/2 cup of corn starch
In a large stock pot place berries, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar and cook until blueberries are tender and syrup forms. Stir in corn starch and cook until mixture thickens. (This take about 2-4 minutes...If it's thick and it hasn't been two minutes don't worry...Thick is thick so proceed to the next step!) Remove blueberries from heat as soon as the mixture thickens so you won't take the corn starch too far. Let cool for 10-15 minutes and then spread into the prepared pie shell. Let the pie come to room temperature and then top with meringue.
What You'll Need for the Meringue:
8 egg whites
1/3 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 425 F.
In a bowl of a mixer place all three ingredients and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Place egg white mixture into a pastry bag with a large tip and pipe onto the cooled pie. Once the entire pie is covered place the pie in the oven just long enough for the meringue to brown (usually no more than 3-5 minutes) and remove. Sit on counter and let cool for an hour or so. Serve at room temperature or chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and serve chilled.
(Note: I had some meringue left over so I made some Meringues with what I didn't use for the pie.)
Notes: The lemon zest and juice give this recipes just the right pop. Lemon compliments blueberry so well. You could also use this method with strawberries or peaches to make a different twist on the pie. If you don't want meringue you could use the left over pie crust to do a lattice on top or create shapes. You could also top this with whipped cream instead.
Posted by Dianne at March 14, 2008 7:21 AM
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Just lovely! And you're so right, a touch of lemon just makes blueberries sing!
Thanks so much for bringing "pie" to "pi day"!
Posted by: Alanna at March 14, 2008 9:40 AM
Looks great! I really like the idea of the meringue on top. (And such a sweet crust--a pie after my own heart.)
Posted by: Deb Schiff at March 14, 2008 11:13 AM
Oh wow. The meringue looks beautiful! And I'm a sucker for meringue anyway.
Posted by: Allie at March 14, 2008 11:51 AM
Alexis and I both are big blueberry fans. I had always wanted to make a blueberry pie, but never had, so I figured this was a good time to try out my theories. :o)
Posted by: Dianne at March 14, 2008 1:10 PM
I'm a big fan of blueberries and lemon as well. The meringue on top looks so pretty~ and your crust turned out perfectly~ Great addition to the Pi(e) celebration!
Posted by: Tempered Woman at March 14, 2008 2:24 PM
Thanks! I made it a few weeks ago and the pictures are making me want to make it again! :o)
Posted by: Dianne at March 14, 2008 3:42 PM
Now that looks about right. I loves me some blueberries!
Posted by: mickey at March 14, 2008 4:18 PM
That is a thing of beauty!!
Posted by: Annemarie at March 14, 2008 7:15 PM
Oh, yum! That looks really good. And the meringue on top is so pretty.
Posted by: Lisa Feather at March 15, 2008 1:30 AM
Thanks everyone! I thought about swirling the meringue. I may do that next time.
Posted by: Dianne at March 15, 2008 2:29 PM
My mouth is watering just looking at it. What a beautiful pie!
Posted by: Libby at March 15, 2008 4:59 PM
Posted by: Dianne at March 15, 2008 6:32 PM