This post was featured on GustoTV Guesto Blogger Series. I was the GuestoTV blogger of the month for July 2014.
Sometimes life has a way of grabbing on and taking time away from blogging. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep up with blog post when situations arise…but not all these life situations are bad! My friend and fellow blogger, Fareen at Food Mamma has just become a new mother and she may be just a bit distracted over the coming months. She needs a bit of extra time to settle in with her new family dynamic and to get to know her new little one. I’m excited and honoured to be a guest post on her blog…my first guest post! Fareen and fellow readers; grab a cuppa and please enjoy this pie post from my kitchen to yours.
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Blueberry Pie. Mmmmm. I just couldn’t get it out of my head following Monday’s Masterchef US episode. Monday’s blueberry pie episode was inspirational; so many lovely pie variations and so many different methods of making pastry as well. I’ve actually been making a lot more pies than I used to…using different methods and ingredients so that I can find ‘the pastry recipe’ that works for me. I’ve had great success using my KitchenAid mixer but now that I have a food processor it’s almost scary how fast I can whip up a batch of pastry. Sometimes it’s just too convenient!
The pastry method I used for this pie was described by Inspired Taste. Essentially you just add a portion of the flour, salt, and sugar then add all the butter one bit at a time pulsing in between. then you add the remainder of the butter. The butter ends up coating the flour and protecting it from the cold water you add later. In the end less gluten is formed, making the pie crust tender and flaky. I also usually have such a difficult time rolling out pastry dough…but not with this recipe! I was pretty impressed with this pastry method and so was the family. I think it may be a ‘keeper’.
Phew! Now that I have that evil pie essential that is pastry out of the way we can talk filling. Obviously blueberry. What I saw on the show was a plethora of mixes but I wanted to do something completely different. I wanted my filling to be unique and I was inspired by my childhood and a friendly reminder of it during a dessert I had at Q Haute. It was called Blueberry & Pine. These two flavours really work together though really that is no surprise considering how close they are in nature. As a kid I spent many days picking wild blueberries with my grandma in remote bush areas. She would get word on where the picking was good and off we would go, ice cream pails attached to our belts. We wouldn’t go home until they were full. As we picked we breathed in the scent of pine while we stole the odd mouthful of berries. I wanted my pie to contain that memory.
I’ve been waiting patiently for the spruce tree in my front yard to bud. I think it happened a bit later this year but last week I was able to pick a container full of the buds. I had enough to pickle a couple of jars for later use with a just enough left over to add to the pie filling. I also added some lemon zest because I think it is an essential ingredient in blueberry pie. Other than that, a large pinch of freshly ground allspice, some sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Pretty simple.
Pie Pastry (from Inspired Taste)
2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
- 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ice water
- Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.
- Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. It will look nice and ‘sandy’.
- Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).
- Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water and continue to press until dough comes together.
- Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball (do not overwork). Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).
- Before rolling, take pastry out and let sit for five minutes. Flour your work surface and roll one disk of dough out to 1/8 inch thickness using your pie plate as a size guide.
- Fill pie shell with blueberry filling.
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
good pinch freshly ground allspice
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup finely cut fresh spruce buds
1 tbsp cold butter cut in tiny cubes
1 egg yolk
1 tsp cream
- Mix all together in a bowl. Place in pie crust.
- Pre heat oven to 400 F.
- Take the second disk of pastry, roll it out and cut into strips as wide as you like. I ended up with five strips covering the diameter of the pie, then another five in the other direction.
- Weave the strips over the filling as you place them and make sure the ends over hang the edges of the bottom pastry.
- Tuck the ends under and pinch the crust edge all the way around the pie.
- Dot exposed filling in between strips with tiny cubes of butter. Refrigerate pie for another 30 minutes.
- Mix egg yolk and cream in a bowl and brush pastry before baking. Sprinkle pastry with coarse sugar.
- Place pie on a cookie sheet in bottom 1/3 of oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for another 35-45 minutes. The crust should be nice and golden and the filling will be bubbly.