Very soon it will be the pi (π) day – the biggest π day this century – 3/14/15! In honor of such a glorious holiday (math nerds and foodies UNITE!), pie is definitely called for. As I have the pleasure of working that day, cream and custard pies are not an option. (Such pies just don’t have much room temperature stability and don’t travel very well, either.) And there are no local fresh fruit options available in Nebraska in March. My favorite fruit pies are peach (really only available in late summer) and any type of berry. Unfortunately, most berries don’t stand up well to mixing or baking as they are just too delicate. (Berries do better in a lighter chiffon or cream pie as then they can just be poured into a single crust pie. But then we are back to the problem of room temperature stability. Umpf!) Happily the small but mighty blueberry is an exception! Available frozen all year round, and *almost* as good as fresh, blueberry pie can be made whenever the craving for a good fruit pie strikes!
REFERENCE: SCC Culinary School, Food Prep Fundamentals II Lab Recipe
Ingredient Prep Time: 30 minutes + time to thaw blueberries
Oven Temperature: 375° F or 190°C
Baking Time: 45-60 minutes (or 1 hour 30-45 minutes from frozen)
MAKES: one 9-inch pie (6-8 slices)
Personal note: If you do not like pie crust, please do not eat my pies. I spend a lot of time and pour a lot of love into my crusts. It takes me about 20 minutes to make a pudding from scratch. Do yourself and your family a favor, let them know if all you want is the filling! That’s the easy part!
I’ll add some more pictures on π Day of the finished product. I’m also hoping to get some feedback from my poor coworkers who will be stuck sharing the pie with me.
π Day Update: All of my coworkers, except the one who strangely doesn’t like blueberries, really liked the pie. Redheaded-Mother-of-Six stated this was one of the few pies she even enjoyed the crust! And SouthernBelle, a real Southern lady from Georgia, said the pie was great. And you know something is good when you get genuine praise from a Southern cook! The main recommendation I got from my coworkers would be that it might use a little bit more filling, as the filling was a bit low compared to the depth of the pie pan. I haven’t adjusted this recipe at this time, but you might consider making one and a half times the filling to give it a nice rounded, full look. Enjoy!
|frozen blueberries||4 cups||1 lb 5 oz||595 g|
|juice from drained blueberries plus water (if needed)||1/4 c + 2 Tbsp||3 oz||85 g|
|sugar||3 Tbsp + 1 1/4 tsp||1 1/2 oz||42 g|
|cold water||3 Tbsp||1 1/2 oz||42 g|
|cornstarch||2 Tbsp + 2 tsp||3/4 oz||21 g|
|sugar||1/2 c||3 1/2 oz||99 g|
|lemon juice||1 Tbsp||1/2 oz||15 mL or 15 g|
|almond extract||1/2 tsp||–||–|
|butter, unsalted||2 Tbsp||1 oz||28 g|
|Double pie crust||1 double crust|
|milk and Turbinado sugar||enough to brush top|
Rolling pin, dough scraper, pie plate
- Thaw the berries, drain the juice and keep for next step. Set the berries aside.
- Add enough water to the juice to equal 3 ounces per pie. (I did not find the addition of any water necessary, as I had plenty of blueberry juice.) Put into a saucepan with first amount of sugar (1 ½ ounces / 42 grams).
- Mix cold water with cornstarch to form a slurry. The slurry should have no lumps and look like milk.
- Bring the juice and sugar mixture to a boil. Stir in the cornstarch slurry and return to a boil to thicken. It should thicken very quickly, so be sure to stir constantly and watch the temperature.
- Add the remaining sugar, salt, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the second amount of sugar is also dissolved.
- Off heat, add the almond extract and mix well.
- Pour the mixture over the blueberries. Mix gently. Let cool slightly while rolling out crust. (If the mixture is added too hot, it will start to melt the fat in the pie mixture resulting in a less flaky crust.)
- Roll out 10-11 ounces of the pie pastry for the bottom crust. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough.
- Fill the pie shells with the cool blueberry mixture. Top with cubes of butter. Roll out the rest of the pie pastry and seal it to the bottom layer of the pie pastry with a little water. Or make a lattice top with the remaining pie pastry.
- Decorate the top crust of the pie, brush lightly with milk and sprinkle with the Turbinado sugar.
- Place the pie on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake at 375° F (190° C) until the crust is golden brown, about 30-45 minutes (or 1 hour 30-45 minutes if baking frozen).
MAKE AHEAD POINTERS:
Before brushing the pie with milk and sugar, the pie can be wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 months. Bake frozen pie for ~ 1 hour 30-45 minutes.