When thinking about the spread at a 4th of July Picnic, pie is never absent. And when Ana, from Rosemary and Rye, and I started brainstorming recipes for the occasion, we couldn't resist bringing you a blueberry pie that brings all the nostalgia of grandma's home baking. So enjoy part 3 of our collaboration, Patriotic Blueberry Pie.
The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Why, you ask? Because it centers around basking in the sun and ... eating. Yup. This year our holiday will be spent at Carolyn's (whose garden I so admire) in the afternoon, and at the park with friends (and aspirations of a slip and slide) in the evening. While living in Denver means we are far from family, we truly couldn't be more lucky to have the community that we have.
A lot of people are intimidated by making homemade pie crust, but the extra work is totally worth it. The dough rises beautifully in the oven into crisp buttery layers and is perfectly browned and flaky. If you don't want to put in the elbow grease, check out this post for a pie crust recipe that utilizes a food processor or read on below if you want to get your hands a little doughy. And if making by hand, these tips will help you out immensely.
Keep Your Butter Cold
One of the first steps in this recipe is to cut butter into 1" chunks but I find that by the time I've cut up all the butter, my hands have already melted the outside of the butter quite a bit. I pop the 1" chunks back in the fridge for 15 minutes or freezer for 10 to firm them up before cutting them into the flour to make the dough. The colder the butter, the longer you have to work with the dough when mixing it.
Keep Your Water Cold
The recipe below uses a method of dissolving the salt into the water. To keep my water very cold, after it's fully dissolved, I pop the mixture in the freezer for about 15 minutes. You don't have to worry about it freezing as saltwater freezes at a lower temperature than fresh water.
Chill Your Dough
After you form your dough into your baking dish, make sure to refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes prior to baking. This firms up the butter and cold butter chunks are what create steam within the dough, yielding a flaky crust. When you eventually roll out your dough to form it into a pie pan, you should be able to see the chunks of butter within the dough.
This recipe is from Tartine and is one of my favorite pie crust recipes to date. I've adapted the instructions to reflect the tips above. With a broken food processor, I mixed this dough by hand and the little extra love made everything taste a little bit better. This makes enough dough for two pies, or one pie with a top.
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup very cold water
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 5 tablespoons very cold unsalted butter
- Cut butter into 1" chunks and put in the fridge for about 15 minutes, until ready to use.
- Dissolve salt into cold water and put mixture in the freezer for 10 minutes.
- When ready to make pie crust, measure out your flour into a large bowl and mix in the butter chunks. Cut and mix in the butter with a dough cutter or two knives until the butter is about the size of peas and incorporated evenly into the flour.
- Add in water, a bit at a time until a shaggy dough forms. It should appear dry, but stick together when pressed with your hand.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and separate into two pieces. With floured hands, lightly knead each piece together until the flour is no longer dry. Be gentle - you don't want too much gluten to form which makes for a chewy crust. Form into a flattened disk, wrap in seran wrap, and chill in fridge for 30 minutes or freeze for up to a week.
Blue Berry Pie Filling
The lemon juice and zest adds a brightness to the dish, and incorporating butter off heat right before baking thickens up the filling.
1/4c white sugar
1/2c brown sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a sauce pan over medium heat combine blueberries, sugars, cornstarch and water until bubbly, stirring often.
- Remove from heat and stir in salt, butter and lemon zest and juice. Set aside.
- Roll out pie crust until it extends a few inches beyond the circumference of your pie pan. Fit into pie pan and cut the edge to hang over the edge of the pan by 1 inch. Fold the excess dough underneath itself along the edge of the pan and pinch to form fluted sides. Prick the bottom with a fork, fill with blueberry mixture, and set aside.
- Roll out your second pie crust and top pie with design of choice. We cut out stars with cookie cutters, baked them separately and placed them on top of the blueberry mixture after the pie was cooked. There is a risk of them getting soggy and not crisping correctly if you bake them directly on the pie. The stars are easier than a lattice, and still look festive.
- Bake, covered with foil for 30 minutes.
- Whisk egg and milk together in small bowl. Remove foil from the pie, brush the crust with egg wash, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until crust is golden brown.
- Let cool for 2 hours before serving.