I hate most things about late June — summer is starting to take itself seriously and temperature and humidity are climbing, and the kids are beginning to be bored with the lack of intellectual stimulation. But one thing I do love is blueberries, which are finally available (indeed, overflowing) at all the local farmers markets. And this week, I got some amazing ones — the big, juicy ones that are far more sweet than sour.
So I wanted to make a blueberry pie. It’s Pieathalon Day, after all, and the Curried Egg Pie was a little bit terrifying.
2-1/4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Crisco
1/4 cup water
All Measurements Level. Sift flour with salt into bowl. Remove 1/3 cup flour. Cut Crisco into remaining flour with pastry blender, fork or two knives until the pieces are the size of small peas. Mix 1/4 cup water with the 1/3 cup flour to form paste. Add flour paste to Crisco-flour mixture. Mix and shape into a ball; divide dough into two parts. On a floured pastry canvas or board lightly roll a circle of dough 12″ in diameter and 1/8″ thick. Line pie plate; allow pastry to extend 1/2″ beyond edge. Turn edge under, flute with fingers. Prick pastry closely over bottom of pan. Roll remaining pastry in same manner as before, to a diameter of 8 inches. Cut circle into 6 wedges and place on cookie sheet. Prick closely. Bake shell and wedges in hot oven (425°F.) 12-15 minutes, or until brown.
3-1/2 cups frozen or canned blueberries
1 cup juice from berries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt with juice and blueberries. Add remaining ingredients and cook until thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Place in baked Crisco shell. Top with pastry wedges.
First off, the pie crust.
It’s definitely worth investing in a solid, good-quality pastry blender. My previous one was basically thick wires attached to a cheap wooden handle, and was constantly wobbling out of place and did a poor job blending flour and fat. This new one with blades, though?
Perfectly crumbly pastry dough comes together pretty quickly.
This flour-water slurry is somewhat different from what I’m used to — typically we just add the water straight to the flour and shortening.
I think it mixed in more smoothly, though.
Remember to flour the surface very generously.
There’s nothing worse than rolling the pie crust out only to realize your counter wasn’t floured enough, and the crust is now stuck to it.
That’s ok, though, because a spatula can pry up the crust. Roll it (loosely) up, and then unroll it over the pie plate.
Fold and flute the edges to make a thicker ridge around the outside.
It’s not necessarily worth it to use a fancy “wobbly” pastry cutter like I did here, but actually this is only because I couldn’t find my straight cutter and I ended up using a tiny cheap one that’s in the kids’ play kitchen.
Now that the crust is baking, let’s start on the filling.
The blueberries are actually already mixed with the sugar and salt here. I gave them a quick initial chop with the pastry blender to release even more juice while they macerated overnight.
The cool thing about blueberries and an acid (such as lemon juice) is how the juice color changes. Dark blue-purple turns into magenta.
Time to cook for a while to thicken that cornstarch!
After 13 minutes, it was darker and delightfully thick.
This has got to be one of the prettiest pies I have ever made. Seriously, just look at that. And since the blueberries were so fresh, the filling was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. The crust was indeed tender and flaky, although butter would have a better flavor than shortening.
The Gallery of Graphic Design scanned this 1950 ad, and has many others for your enjoyment. Lots of “digestible” to be found there.