Thursday, August 12, 2010

Red, White, and Blueberry Pie

Celebrating Holidays, when the seasons are opposite to what one is used to is a bit difficult.  On this blustery winter morning in August I can't help but want to put on some Christmas Carols.  Fortunately, this year for the 4th of July--even though it is not a holiday here we take a moment to remember our independence--Mother Nature was a bit more cooperative.  It wasn't warm enough to break out the bikinis but we were able to have a picnic at the beach.  As I planned the menu (Veggie Sticks with real sour cream and chive dip, American Style Hot Dogs which we are skipping next year, Potato Salad--Granny's traditional Recipe, Budweiser--Dad that one was for you) I was stumped for a perfect dessert.  I wanted something light and refreshing.  There were strawberries in the store, but they were coming from halfway around the world and I prefer to keep my produce a bit more local.  I ended up going with a Blueberry Pie, at least I could buy local produce that was frozen.  I followed a recipe from Cook's Illustrated, and ended up with one of the best blueberry pies ever.  I ended up making a very small pie because, even though the berries were frozen, they remain a hot commodity in this part of the world.  However, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere and are like my parents you may have blueberries coming out of your ears so I have decided to share the adapted recipe.  Enjoy!!!

This recipe is for a small pie, so you probably want to double the recipe for a regular pie.  You can find the original recipe in Cook's Illustrated July 2008 edition.

Pie Dough
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup vegetable shortening , cold, cut into 2 pieces
1/8 cup vodka , cold 
1/8 cup cold water

Blueberry Filling
3 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 Granny Smith apple , peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
1       teaspoons lemon juice 
1/3 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
1 tablespoons tapioca flour (can substitute ground quick cook tapioca)
         Pinch table salt
1 tablespoons unsalted butter , cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Instructions for Pie Dough
In a large bowl combine half the four, salt and sugar until combined.  Add butter and shortening and cut until the dough resembles cottage cheese curds.  Add the remaining flour and mix.  Sprinkle vodka and water over the mixture.  Fold in until the mixture sticks together.  Divide the dough into 2 parts, flatten into a disk, and refrigerate for an hour.

Remove 1 disk from refrigerator and roll out so that it is 2 inches bigger than your pie dish.  Place dough in dish and leave any dough that is hanging over.  Place in refrigerator while preparing the filling.

For the Filling
Place half the berries in a saucepan.  As you cook them on medium heat mash the berries to release their juices.  Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and reduced by about half.  Let cool.

Preheat oven to 400

Place grated apple in a clean towel and wring.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Add cooked berries, defrosted uncooked berries, lemon juice, tapioca flour, and salt.  Mix until combined.  Transfer the mixture to the dough-lined pie plate.  Scatter butter pieces over filling.

Roll out second disk of dough.  It should be a bit smaller than the first piece.  Use a cookie cutter or hand cut a star in one of the corners.  Place dough over top of pie.  Leave the overhanging dough.

Using knife trim the overhanging dough, leaving it flush with the rim of the pie plate.  Flute edges using the tines of the fork.  

Bake pie for 30 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown about 30 minutes longer.  Transfer pie to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

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