Omg. This pie was amazing. Beautiful colour, yummy fresh berries (handpicked!), fabulous pie crust... what could be better? :)
Some friends and I went to pick blueberries just north of Houston last week and in about 4 hrs of picking, 4 of us combined diligent effort and ended up with approximately 53lbs of berries. It was crazy. So now I'm back in Dallas with about 35lbs stashed in the freezer and fridge. What is a girl to do with all of that? Make PIE!
No-Fail Flaky Pie Crust
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 TB white sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp fresh lemon juice (zest first for filling)
4-6 TB ice water*
1/2 c. shortening**
1/4 c. butter, very cold
1 large egg or 2 TB heavy cream for brushing on top
Makes double crust for regular 9" pie plate.
*This really needs to be ICE water, not just cold. Use those ice cubes you stashed away.
**Some people say shortening needs to be really cold but I don't have room in my fridge to stash the shortening can so I just use room temp (gasp!) shortening. Just make sure the butter is seriously cold. Oh and measure the shortening with a dry measure cup covered in plastic wrap so you don't have to clean off the grease afterwards.
Cut the butter into small dice and put on a small plate in the freezer while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. While you're in the freezer, grab a few ice cubes and throw them in a small bowl with about 1/2 c of cold water.
In a large bowl, put the flour, salt, and sugar. Stir with a fork to combine. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture (mash it up with the fork, not stir) with the fork until you have small flaky pieces about the size of large peas. This doesn't have to be precise. Stash the bowl in the fridge while you prepare the liquid ingredients and set the fork aside (not in the sink, you'll use this later).
In a small bowl or measuring cup, lightly beat the egg. Add the lemon juice and about 3 TB of the ice water and mix together.
WORK FAST: Take the large bowl from the fridge with the flour mixture and the plate of butter from the freezer. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with either 2 knives, a pastry blender, or use your fingertips. Work until the butter is about the size of small peas. Sprinkle half of the egg mixture over the dry mixture. Fold lightly a few times with the fork and sprinkle in the remaining liquid. Toss a few times and if there are still bits at the bottom that don't look like they've been hydrated yet, sprinkle another TB of ice water over those dry bits. You may use a couple extra TB of ice water but you want to make sure all the dry bits become loose clumps. Lightly squeeze a handful and if it holds together, you're good to go.
Dump out about 60% of the clumps onto a large piece of plastic wrap, and the other 40% onto another piece. Form each pile into a rough disc and wrap tightly in the plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 mins and up to 2 days.
Blueberry Pie Filling
5 c. fresh or frozen blueberries, divided
3-4 TB cornstarch dissolved in 1/2 c. cold water*
1 c. white sugar
1 lemon, zested and juiced (use the one from the crust)
2 TB butter, cut in pieces, optional
*If you want a stiff filling, use 4TB, for a looser, juicier filling, use 3 or 3.5
In a 3qt (nonreactive) pot, place 2 1/2 c. blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and juice, and cornstarch and cook over medium to medium high heat until thickened, stirring continuously. Let cool for awhile while you roll out the crusts.
ASSEMBLING: Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out the bottom crust (larger portion of dough) so that you have a 1-inch overhang around the pie plate. Spray the plate well before folding the crust in quarters and lining the plate. Don't push the crust into place but pick it up and lay it in to fit so that there won't be as much shrinkage. If making a lattice, go ahead and roll out the dough (as if making a top crust) and then cut into 1-inch strips and put the laid out strips in the fridge until the final moment.
If using a top crust, fold the remaining 2 1/2 c. berries into the cooled filling and pour into the crust-lined plate. Dot with optional butter and place top crust over and crimp to seal. Brush with egg wash or heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar (so it looks pretty) and cut 4-5 steam vents.
If using a lattice, fold 2 c. berries into the cooled filling and pour into crust-lined plate. Sprinkle the last 1/2 c. berries over the top of the filling and lay down the vertical lattice strips (remember you're using every other one so you have even numbers of short vs. long strips going horizontally and vertically). Quickly fold every other vertical strip halfway down (ie. 1, 3, 5) and lay a long horizontal strip down and fold those strips back up. Fold the other vertical strips down (ie. 2, 4) to meet the horizontal strip you just put down and lay another horizontal strip. From the bottom, fold those same vertical strips (2, 4) up and lay a horizontal strip and fold them back down. Then fold the first set of strips (1,3,5) up and lay the last horizontal strip. Trim the ends of the strips if they are too long and crimp the edges to seal. Brush with egg wash or heavy cream and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Dot the open spaces with the optional butter if using.
Bake pie at 400F for 20 mins, on the next to bottom rack then reduce heat to 350F and bake for another 20-30 mins until filling is bubbly and crust is browned. If crust is browning too fast, you can tent foil over the top.