Yesterday I had the pleasure of judging the blueberry pie contest at my local farmers market in Summit, New Jersey. It’s not easy tasting 10 blueberry pies in 10 minutes (poor me!). They ranged from gluten free to tricked out with whipped cream and even one with canned blueberries (I noticed). But the winner kept it simple with a buttery crust loaded with blueberries bursting through the sugar dusted lattice, almost identical to my own version. If pie baking seems daunting to you, take note home cooks; the winner was just 12-years old. Congratulations Jozi! That’s an honest blueberry pie.
The crust: When it comes to pie baking no truer words could be said than “practice, practice, practice”. Piecrust, with just a handful of ingredients relies on texture and intuition to get it just right.
The berries: If only blueberry season could last forever. Honor them by adding practically nothing. A little flour to absorb the juices and sugar for more thickening and to balance the flavors and you’ll have summer on a plate (and maybe win a contest too!).
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1-tablespoon sugar
- 1-teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut up
- 2-3 tablespoons cold water
- 6 cups (3 pints fresh blueberries)
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Squeeze of lemon
- Heavy cream for brushing
- Coarse sugar for sprinkling (turbinado or demerara)
- In a food processor mix flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles sand. With the motor on, add water a tablespoon at a time, checking the consistency after 2 tablespoons. It should look like sand but hold together when you squeeze it. Turn dough onto a clean work surface and form into two discs, one almost twice as large as the other (bottom crust and top crust). Wrap each in plastic and chill 30 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F. On a clean work surface, roll the larger chilled dough into a 12-inch circle and place in a pie dish. Chill while you prepare the filling.
- In a large bowl, gently combine blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon and lemon. Place in the pie dish and chill while you roll out the top.
- Roll out the smaller chilled dough to a 10-inch circle and using a pizza wheel, cut 1-inch strips across. Make a lattice pattern on top of the pie by first laying the longest strip across the middle of the pie, then the second longest across in the other direction. Layer the strips and alternate until they’re all on the pie creating a crisscross pattern. Crimp the edge all around the pie combining the bottom crust with the top.
- Brush the top of the pie with heavy cream and sprinkle sugar. Bake 1 hour until blueberries bubble up around the crust.
Note: Allow at least 30 minutes to chill the dough. This will prevent shrinkage as it bakes.