Saturday, July 27, 2013

blueberry pie

For the Daring Baker's July challenge, Lisa asked all of us to search through the Daring Kitchen archives and pick any one we'd like!

I've been a member of Daring Bakers since March 2011, and since then, I've made : Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cakes, Maple Mousse served in an edible container, Marquise on meringue, Baklava, Fraisier, Candies, Povitica, Sans Rival, Quick Bread, Dutch Crunch Bread, Armenian Nazook, Challah (Pulla), Battenburg Cake, Crackers, Filled Pâte à Choux Swans, Empanada Gallega, Pannettone, Gevulde Speculaas, Muffins with Hidden Veggies and Swedish Princesstarta.

I skipped the Fresh, Fluffy, French Croissants challenge, because I'm not patient enough and I don't like croissants. I didn't make the scones (biscuits), because I ran out of time that month, but I've made them before and make scones frequently, so I don't feel too bad about missing this one. The Mille-Feuille/Napoleon challenge is one I feel bad about missing and that I will make up one of these days. Although I had made piped shortbread, I skipped the Christmas cookies challenge because they just didn't turn out as I had hoped and I didn't want to take pictures of an ugly cookie. I skipped the Crisp Crackers and Flatbreads because it was too similar to the other Crackers challenge, and although I have made Savarin once before the actual challenge, I didn't get around to it that month. The last challenge that I skipped was Life of Pie, and this is the one I chose to do this month in a "celebration" of past Daring Baker challenges. 

I think pie is my husband's most favorite dessert, and yet, it's a real challenge for me. I did make a tart last month when the Life of Pie challenge was actually on, but the top crust gave me issues, I got frustrated and chucked it in the garbage. So although we ate the tart, I didn't post it. So I took this month's challenge as an opportunity to face my fears and make pie.
As blueberries are in season, I picked that fruit as the filling of my pie. My last attempt at berry pie left me with a lake of berry juices at the bottom of the pie plate, so I went on a search for a different recipe. I picked a recipe where the filling is cooked before being placed in the pie crust, hoping it would result in a firmer filling.

I made a basic all butter pie dough recipe from Baked, but it seemed quite sticky when I got it out of the food processor, so I'm pretty sure I screwed up there somewhere. I put it in the fridge to firm up some, and had no trouble whatsoever rolling it out, so that also tells me I did something wrong. Isn't pie dough supposed to be fragile and delicate? Mine looked more like cookie dough...

The filling came together nicely, but I added a bit too much nutmeg to the mixture, and I forgot to add butter to it. Oops.

I was about to attempt a lattice top when my husband whispered "baby-steps" in my ear, so I went with a standard pie crust for the top. A quick brush with egg wash and a sprinkling of raw sugar before going into the oven.

I was pretty happy with the golden pastry once out of the oven. We waited until the next day to dig into it, and when we did... the filling oozed all over the place. But I have to admit that I loved the texture of the filling. It was a great blueberry sauce!

And it was too nutmeg-y. And the crust was tough (although, I really liked it, but I don't like flaky pastries, so my opinion doesn't count apparently). But still. I made pie, and my husband had seconds. So I win anyways. Now I can go back to not making pies.

Classic Pie Dough
Recipe source Baked Elements, page 161

Yield: 2 9-inch single crust pies or 1 double-crust pie

3 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together. In a measuring cup, stir 3/4 cup of water with several ice cubes until it is very cold, discarding any remaining ice.

Toss the butter in the flour mixture to coat. Put the mixture in a food processor and pulse in short bursts until the butter pieces are the size of hazelnuts.

Pulsing in 4-second bursts, slowly drizzle the water into the food processor through the feed tube. As soon as the dough comes together in a ball, stop adding water.

Remove the dough from the food processor and divide it in half. Flatten each piece into a disk and wrap each disk first in parchment paper and then in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about 1 hour.

Blueberry Pie Filling
Adapted from Nick Malgieri via That Skinny Chick can Bake

2 pints blueberries (4+ cups), rinsed
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A few gratings of fresh nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter

Combine 2 cups of the blueberries with the sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, till sugar is melted, about 5 minutes. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and whisk the blueberry and sugar mixture into it. Return mixture to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat, until it boils, thickens and becomes clear. Pour into a large bowl and mix in the lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter. Mix in the rest of the blueberries. Cool.

Egg wash: 1 egg well beaten with a pinch of salt
Sugar to sprinkle over top before baking

Preheat to 400º. Roll out the bottom crust and place in bottom of pie plate. Trim the edges, then add the blueberry filling. Roll out top crust and place over fruit filling. Seal and crimp the edges as desired. Sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar.

Place the pie on a parchment lined baking sheet (to catch drips) and put on a lower shelf of your oven. Immediately reduce the temperature to 375º. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the crust golden and the filling is bubbling. Cool the pie on a rack.

For more information about the Daring Bakers challenges, click on through to the Daring Kitchen.


  1. It looks stunning - I always think a good pie is one that oozes :-) And I'm with you on the tough pastry - it doesn't bother me in the slightest - it's just a vessel for the filling!

  2. I gotta say - tough crust and too much nutmeg aside - that your pie looks wonderful, and all those blueberries are making my mouth water. And that scalloped edge is beautiful!

  3. Your blueberry pie is inspiring me to make one. Blueberries grow all over the place here in MA. I even have a few bushes in the neglected forest area I call a back yard.Your beautiful pie just oozes summer. I know I may have to visit this blog entry again in January.

  4. That pie is gorgeous - no issues from where I am sitting!

  5. Your pie looks absolutely delicious! I love the photo of the slice of pie with the blueberries oozing out it. You've inspired me to make pie.

  6. Oh fantastic job! You faced your fears and won!! You've inspired me to make pie too.

  7. It looks mouthwatering! Lovely!

  8. Beautiful pie, wonderful done! I love blueberries, your pie looks so delicious!!
    Lovely photos!


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