This was a great year for blueberries! We harvested some from the new bushes in the front yard garden, and have been buying local ones non-stop since early June. I love them so much raw, I rarely cook with them, preferring mixing them up with chopped watermelon, stirring them into yogurt, or just popping them in my mouth at regular intervals.
We had a special occasion last night though - welcoming back a friend who had been away - so the time was ripe, so to speak. I love making pies and blueberries lend themselves to the traditional lattice-type. But I was in a hurry so I did the pastry the quick way or, you might say, the "rustic" way - or even the French way - as in gallettes. Regardless, it tasted good.
It's by no means healthy though - definitely a celebration food! About the time I finally mastered my family's famous pie crust recipe, substituting shortening for lard, it became clear that shortening was no improvement health-wise. So, now I'm using good old butter. You still have to fiddle with the amount of ice water (yes, it must be iced) before rolling it out, and be careful about the dough sticking, but the rest is easy. And, ahhhh, it is good - if a bit on the fat/caloric side.
- 1/4 cups white flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cold from the fridge
- 1/8-1/4 cup ice water
Mix and Roll Out the Pastry
Mix together dry ingredients. Grate butter with a cheese grater into the mixture. Cut butter into flour with two knives or a pastry cutter (if you're going to make more than one pie in your life, this tool is essential). When the butter is so well combined with the flour mixture that the whole thing looks like cornmeal or sand, then slowly add the ice water. Mix together with a fork until mixture begins to hold together. Pat together into a ball. Flour your surface (table, counter, board) and gently roll out crust so that it is two inches larger than your pie plate. Gently place in the pie plate. Put the whole thing in the fridge while you mix the filling.
Blueberry (or any berry) Filling
- Approximately 2 cups of berries (for average pie pan, but more may be needed if you have a larger pan)
- granulated sugar to taste - most recipe books suggest 1/4-1/2 cup sugar per pint (2 cups) of berries, but taste it first.
- 1 or 2 tablespoons white flour - to help thicken it; adjust for the amount of berries you have.
- A squeeze of lemon.
Make it and Bake it
Pour the berry mixture into the crust and fold the crust over it, creasing it as you go (see photo). Moisten the folds to insure it doesn't unfold itself as it bakes, spilling the content. I've suggested baking it in the pie pan to prevent that, but you can still get blueberries swimming around the outside of the crust if you're not careful. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then check its progress. If the berries are not bubbling, turn it down to 350 and bake for another 15 minutes or so until they are. If you let it cool, you can slip it out of the pan and serve it "rustically" on a pretty plate. Or not. We ate it so fast, no one really noticed the pan. But I thought it was pretty - especially with a little powdered sugar.
Enjoy! It's July and those berries are running out fast!