10 August 2023

Blueberry Pie - Foolproof All-Butter Pastry (Final Version)

Blueberry Pie - Foolproof All-Butter Pastry / www.delightfulrepast.com

Blueberry Pie hit the menu this week when I found 18-ounce containers of organic blueberries for $2.50! If I had more available freezer space I would have bought a dozen, but I settled for four, enough for two pies and a double batch of
Homemade Blueberry Syrup/Sauce.

The two goals for blueberry pie are: 1. a tender, flaky all-butter crust, baked to golden brown perfection with no soggy bottom; and 2. a filling that sets perfectly, neither soupy nor gloopy. I still remember the first blueberry pie I ever ate. The filling was so gloopy it put me off blueberry pie for years.

Eventually I decided to bake one myself and, of course, erred on the side of soupy in order to avoid gloopy. Eventually I worked it out and achieved the balance I was looking for.

Blueberry Pie - Foolproof All-Butter Pie Crust / www.delightfulrepast.com

In April I posted Ham and Mushroom Quiche - Foolproof All-Butter Pastry Tutorial. That pastry is wonderful, but I just couldn't resist making further refinements to it, so below you will find the final (I promise!) version. I hope you'll make this pie before summer is over.

First make my Foolproof All-Butter Pastry - Final Version (below), roll out the two crusts, and pop them in the fridge. Then make the Fresh Blueberry Pie Filling and put it all together. Long baking and long cooling are crucial. If you don't get those juices bubbling in the oven, you're sunk. And don't even think about cutting it until it has cooled for at least 4 hours.

Are you a blueberry pie fan? I shared the pie with neighbors who had theirs with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We had ours without. Which do you prefer?

Blueberry Pie - Foolproof All-Butter Pastry / www.delightfulrepast.com

Foolproof All-Butter Pastry

(makes one double-crust pie or two pie shells)

2 1/4 dip-and-sweep cups (11.25 ounces/319 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour 
1/4 dip-and-sweep cup (1.06 ounce/30 grams) tapioca flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces/227 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons (2 fluid ounces/59 ml) ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Blueberry Pie Filling

6 cups (30 ounces/850 grams) fresh blueberries, stemmed and washed
2/3 cup (4.67 ounces/132 grams) sugar
1/4 dip-and-sweep cup (1.06 ounce/30 grams) tapioca flour
1/8 dip-and-sweep cup (0.625 ounce/18 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 Weigh/measure flour, sugar, and salt into a 2- to 2.5-quart mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds to "sift." With food processor's metal blade in place, scoop out half (1 1/4 cups) the flour mixture into the work bowl of the food processor. Spread the butter slices evenly over the fairly even flour mixture. Pulse until no dry flour remains and mixture is starting to form clumps of dough, about 25 to 30 one-second pulses. Don't get hung up on counting the number of pulses, just watch for the clumping to begin. With a silicone spatula, spread dough evenly around the work bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining flour and pulse until the dough is just barely broken up, about 5 1-second pulses.

2 Transfer the dough back to the 2- to 2.5-quart mixing bowl. If the kitchen is very warm, cover and refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes or so before proceeding. Sprinkle the dough with the egg-water-vinegar mixture and use the spatula to fold and press the dough until it comes together into a ball.

3 Turn the dough out, dividing onto two pieces of plastic wrap and flatten each slightly into a 4- to 5-inch round disk. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 to 2 hours or up to 3 days. You can even freeze the dough, wrapped well, for up to a month. To defrost the dough, move it from freezer to refrigerator for one day before using it. Let thoroughly chilled dough stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes for easier rolling.

4 For double-crust pie: On lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the bottom crust dough to 13 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch or so thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch glass pie plate, pressing the dough (but not stretching it) to fit the pie plate with a half- to one-inch overhang (trim with knife or scissors). Cover with the reserved piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate. Roll out top crust dough to 11 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch or so thick and place it on a rimless baking sheet; cover with reserved plastic wrap and refrigerate. Make pie filling. Then assemble pie and bake as directed. 

For single-crust pie: On lightly floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to 13 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch or so thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch glass pie plate, pressing the dough (but not stretching it) to fit the pie plate, getting down into the corners, with a half- to one-inch overhang (trim with knife or scissors, and save in case you need to patch a little hole after the blind baking). Cover with the reserved piece of plastic wrap and chill for 10 minutes before fluting the edge. Cover and return to refrigerator while the oven heats up. Preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas5. Line chilled pie shell with a square of foil and fill with pie weights (baking beans, in UK). I use two boxes of ceramic pie weights that store neatly in a 200-gram Twinings tea tin. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove pie weights. Prick the pastry bottom all over with a fork. Bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown. 

5 Pick over the blueberries, discarding any bad ones and removing any stems. Wash and drain well. Weigh or measure them into a 2-quart glass measure. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, tapioca flour, unbleached flour, salt, and spices. Gently stir the sugar mixture into the blueberries, along with the lemon zest and juice.  

6 Pour the filling into the pastry-lined pie plate, dot with little pieces of butter, and put top crust in place; trim with knife or scissors to make a half- to one-inch overhang. Seal and crimp the edge. Prick top with a fork, marking eight wedges, to vent; or cut vents with a knife. Place on lined baking sheet to catch any drips from the pie. Pop the pie in the freezer for 15 minutes while preheating the oven.

7 Move your oven racks so that you can place your pie on the lowest or second lowest. Preheat oven to 425F/220C/Gas7.

Note: I didn't do it this time, but sometimes I brush the top with a little cream or beaten egg yolk and maybe sprinkle on a little sugar or cinnamon-sugar for sparkle. 

Bake for 25 minutes, then put on a pie crust shield. Lower temperature to 350F/180C/Gas4 and bake for an additional 50 to 60 minutes, when the filling should be bubbling and thickened and the crust golden brown. Cool on wire rack for at least 4 hours before serving; the pie needs that time to solidify so that all the juices don't run out when the pie is cut.

Note: To warm individual slices of pie, preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment and bake for about 10 minutes.

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