12 July 2012

Blueberry Pie

The blueberry bushes in the evening sun.
I can't believe it's already been a week since I returned from CT.  I'm already homesick for the farm, our pets, my parents and friends, and of course, the amazing blueberries that were already ripening at the end of June.  For the non-agrarian folk, that is three weeks ahead of schedule!  Which reminds me of an article I saw yesterday making its way through facebook and the blogosphere, stating that the odds of the freakishly hot weather across the United States being a completely random event are somewhere between 1 in 100,000, or 1 in 1,600,000, depending on which source you rely on.  (And it goes without saying that I would of course prefer no climate change to my premature enjoyment of blueberries.)

But since they were there, I refused to waste nature's bounty and each day would pick the bushes clean of the early ripening fruit.  And on our last full day in CT, I set out to make a pie.  After harvesting a couple of blueberry pints, I began researching various crust recipes.  I found some links to the Cooks Illustrated Foolproof Pie Dough, with the very surprising (to me at least) ingredient of vodka - a 1/4 cup.  I'm not sure what role the alcohol played in the pie crust but if anyone knows offhand and wants to save me the search, that would be great.
Barefoot, pregnant, and working away in the kitchen.  

I'll be honest - I'm inordinately proud of how my pie crust came out.  Maybe it was beginner's luck.  Maybe I infused it with a lot of love.  Maybe it was the humidity.  Who knows.  Whatever it was, it worked.  Rich, buttery, crisp outside and chewy inside.....Anyhow, here is the recipe.

1 and 3/4 cup flour (I used bread flour but I imagine white or whole wheat pastry flour would be fine)
3/4 cup rye flour
1 tsp table salt
2 TBL brown sugar
2 1/2 sticks of cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 TBL vodka (I used Smuggler's Notch, my cousin's company!)
6 TBL water
1 egg, beaten
brown sugar for sprinkling on crust

5 cups of blueberries
1 1/2 TBL lemon juice
2 TBL flour
1 TBL vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
Right before it went into the oven

The finished pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. In a food processor combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, salt and sugar and pulse until just blended.  Add the butter and process until there is no uncoated flour.  (This took me about 30 seconds but our food processor was on the fritz - if yours is shiny and new it may be less.)
  3. Add remaining cup of flour and pulse until mixture is incorporated and your dough has been broken up, about another 15-30 seconds.
  4. Move the dough mixture into a mixing bowl and sprinkle the vodka and water over the top.  Fold the water and vodka into the dough until mixed.  It will be a little wet and tacky.  
  5. Break the dough into two balls, wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, combine the blueberries, lemon juice, flour, vanilla and maple syrup in a bowl and mix well.  Make sure there are no flour clumps.
  7. Butter your pie dish.  I used a standard 9-inch pie dish.
  8. Once the dough is chilled, roll out the first dough ball with a rolling pin on a well floured surface.  Otherwise, your dough will stick to the rolling pin and surface.  Place the rolled out dough into the pie dish and make sure the edges are covered.  I used a fork to press them down around the pie dish.
  9. Roll out the second dough ball.  Add the blueberry mixture to the pie, and then cover with the second dough ball.  Again, I used a fork to press down the edges of the top of my pie crust, to ensure the pie was sealed.  I also poked the top of the pie with a fork in several places.
  10. Brush the top of the pie with the egg and sprinkle with brown sugar.
  11. Place in oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until crust is toasty and brown.  You can poke a few extra holes in the pie when you think it is done and wait for juices to bubble up.  That's one way to tell for sure the inside is cooked.  Also, if you are worried about the pie crust browning too much, cover it for the last few minutes of baking with aluminum foil.

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