Can you believe it’s already mid-August? The summer has flown by, it seems. In a lot of ways, summer isn’t so different from any other time of year when you’re not in school. My job was tied to the academic year until about 2 years ago, and although August still seemed to arrive sooner than I thought it should, at least I knew it was coming. Summer’s not so different from any other time of year when you’re not tied to school. The weather’s just a little (and sometimes a lot) warmer. While avoiding back-to-school shoppers the other day, I discovered that Target has long-sleeved pajamas on display already. Who’s ready for long sleeves and pants? I’m not yet, no matter how cold my office may be.
My draft recipe reviews are full of things that I’ve made this summer and just haven’t gotten a chance to write about. I’d better get to writing! For the 4th of July (so long ago!), I made Strawberry Summer Cake, which is one of my favorite recipes, and this Fresh Blueberry Pie.
I even made the all-butter Flaky Pie Crust recipe that was recommended to go with the pie – and I used my food processor to make it, which is something I’ve never tried before. I’d been curious about making a pie crust in a food processor for a while, so I was happy to have the opportunity to play around.
Flaky Pie Crust
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tablespoons cold water
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1/8 tsp baking powder
Cut butter into cubes. Refrigerate 5 tablespoons butter; wrap remaining 3 tablespoons butter and place in freezer. Place flour, salt, and baking powder in a gallon freezer bag and freeze for 30 minutes. Pour flour mixture into food processor; process with metal blade briefly to combine. Add refrigerated butter to flour and process for 20 seconds or until butter is the size of coarse meal. Add frozen butter and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Drizzle in the vinegar and water and pulse 6 times. Pinch mixture together to see if it holds together. Add up to 1 tablespoon more water if it does not.
Spoon mixture into gallon-sized bag and knead from the outside of the bag (keeping your hands clean!). Knead until the dough holds together in one piece; the recipe says it should be stretchy, but I didn’t test that. Form dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes before rolling out.
Remove dough from fridge 10 minutes prior to rolling so it will stretch out more easily. Cover counter with plastic wrap and flour lightly. Place dough on plastic wrap and cover with another layer of plastic wrap. Roll out dough until you can cut out a 13-inch circle. Place dough in pie pan. Fold excess dough under itself on the lip of the pie pan and use your fingers to create pleats. Cover and refrigerate pie shell for another hour.
Line pie shell with parchment paper, and pie weights or beans if you have them. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes. Remove weights and parchment, dock the sides and bottom, and bake another 5-10 minutes, until a light golden brown.
Fresh Blueberry Pie
4 cups blueberries
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
a pinch of salt
Separate out 1 cup of blueberries to cook, choosing the softest ones. Place in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Cover and bring to a boil. Separately, combine cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. When blueberries have come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until berries start to burst. Add cornstarch and remaining ingredients and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture becomes translucent, about a minute. Remove from heat and mix in the remaining blueberries. Spoon blueberry filling into pie crust and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours to allow filling to set.
This was the most complicated pie crust recipe I’ve made, simply because you chilled the ingredients and waited so often. The active steps were simple and straightforward. The food processor takes most of the elbow grease out of making crusts. I really liked that this recipe said to knead the dough, because I do that all the time when pie crust dough doesn’t come together. Kneading through a plastic bag was a great idea since it keeps your hands clean. As much as I liked the active steps, the crust simply took too long to make. Making a pie takes long enough without taking breaks between steps of making the crust. Overall, the crust turned out well. It was buttery but not too rich. I just don’t think it was much better than the pie crust that I usually make.
The pie filling was tasty. Honestly, the blueberry goo reminded me of poptarts, since it was paired with a buttery crust. The pie was not too sweet, which I liked. The pie was a little insulated as it cooled, so it was still warm after 2 hours; due to the warmth, the filling didn’t set very well. I have a feeling it would have firmed up nicely had I given the pie plenty of ventilation.
I don’t think I would make the pie crust again, mostly because it took so long to prepare, but I may incorporate the food processor and kneading through a plastic bag into future pie crusts. I’d make the fresh blueberry filling again, though.