Monday, June 16, 2008

Best Blueberry Pie

This past weekend was the 2-year anniversary of A Mingling of Tastes! I've recorded so many great recipes here and tried so many new things, and having like-minded food lovers to share it with is wonderful.

I wanted to make a special treat to celebrate my blog-iversary, and when I saw the recipe for Best Blueberry Pie in the current Cook's Illustrated, all other recipes fell out of the running. I am not a habitual pie maker, nor am even much of a "pie person," particularly fruit pies. I have every appreciation for great pie, but great pie isn't very common, and I tend to gravitate toward chocolate, chocolate and chocolate.

The summer after starting this blog, I attempted to make pie with peaches and the other luscious stone fruits available at the time. It was so disastrous that I had no pictures or recipe worth posting (filling turned to soup; butter crust was awful). But now, I have the CI recipe, and I took care to follow it to the letter. Their Fool-Proof Pie Crust, which they published late last year, is nothing short of brilliant. The secret is forming the dough with both water and vodka. In the oven, the alcohol in the vodka evaporates, so less liquid is present, resulting in less gluten formation in the dough (gluten makes baked goods chewy--good for bread, bad for pastry).

Another secret ingredient in the pie is one grated Granny Smith apple. In order to avoid a glue-like texture from the high quantity of tapioca needed to thicken a blueberry filling, the natural pectin present in the apple acts as a thickener. The actual fruit is undetectable in the finished pie.

I did have one problem, as you may have guessed from the photo above. This particular pastry dough is on the soft side, and my hand was not quite deft enough when it came to transferring my top crust to the pie plate. After tasting the finished product, I couldn't have cared less (you say homely, I say homey). The filling is blueberry heaven, and I LOVE the crust. Not just the nice flavor and tender, flaky texture, but people, it is now day three, and the edges are still crisp and wonderful. The top is soft, but the bottom has stayed quite firm, thanks to placing it on a preheated baking sheet on the lowest oven rack and using a high temperature for the first half of the bake time. I actually liked the pie better the second day than the first. It sounds crazy, but so does vodka in a pie crust.

Here is the recipe for the Fool-Proof Pie Dough, on SeriousEats.com.

Currently, you can see a 2-minute video of how to make the blueberry pie on CooksIllustrated.com under the "Videos" tab. It's one of the featured videos, but if it's no longer there, try doing a search. You have to pay for full access to the CI site, but this video is free. Since CI doesn't give away most their recipes free online, I don't think it's right to post here--especially since I didn't change a thing. But, if you're ready to make this pie, you can do a free 14-day trial of cooksillustrated.com, and after seeing all the recipes and resources, you may opt to subscribe. You can also go out now and buy the July/August issue--I know it's sold at Barnes & Noble. I also came across this recently published recipe in the Charlotte Observer for a Peach-Blueberry Pie using CI's fabulous crust.

So happy blog-iversary to me, and happy blueberry season to my lovely readers!


15 comments:

Cheryl said...

A granny smith apple and a touch of vodka, eh? Every time I think I've figured out this baking thing I realize how much more there is to learn.

Happy blogiversary!

SKO said...

Your pie looks very inviting! I love blueberry pie. I'd like to try your recipe. :)

SKO

Anonymous said...

SKO -satreyKhmerOnline.com

Sarah said...

I love Florida blueberry season! Your recipe looks wonderful, and thank you for sharing that great tip about the apple pectin. I've had too many gluey blueberry pie fillings, so I'm looking forward to trying this technique. Happy blog-iversary!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Happy blog birthday, Julie!
I think your pie looks beautiful.

Julie said...

Cheryl: That's why I can't NOT subscribe to CI--who else but them would come up with this stuff?!
Sarah: Your blueberry creations look great too:)
Patricia: thanks so much!

Hillary said...

Oooh...nice pie! I like the top, it looks like a giant chocolate chip cookie from overhead. Yum blueberries, and happy blog birthday!

littlem said...

Happy blueberry blog anniversary!

Brilynn said...

Happy Blogiversary!

I've just been reading this issue of Cooks Illustrated and was wondering how that pie would turn out!

Brian said...

I had to laugh when I saw the photo of your pie. It's identical to mine. One problem, it seems, when you make 7 holes in a crust before putting the top on is lining it up perfectly. You're right that the dough is very soft. Next time I'll cut lots of vents with a knife, ala apple pie. The pie is delicious and, as advertised, easy to slice without running all over and not gluey at all.

Julie said...

I'm late to this party but I had to stop to congratulate you on your second anniversary. Happy blogiversary!

Your blueberry pie is inspiring. My pie skills seem to be sadly lacking but I've heard good things about the vodka pie crust. I'll have to give it a try.

Shirley said...

I made the pie and my favorite piecrust recipe is now demoted to "serviceable". I found that the filling was wonderful but next time I plan to use a little less lemon. I was visiting my son, daughter-in-law, and new grandbaby and the pie had them begging for more. I used my old standby piecrust recipe and that's where the term serviceable came from. This pie is a winner and a keeper.

Shirley

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Judy said...

I made this pie for the 4th using homemade Limoncello for the crust (delicious) and an adapted version of the recipe found in our local paper. Since I didn't have the original recipe, I was unaware they left out the blueberry "jam" in the recipe, and 3 cups of blueberries that made it. The pie was still delicious and got rave reviews, but now I want to make the original, and I have the recipe. I left off the top crust, mainly to save calories and fat grams. Instead, I cut out pastry stars for the top of the pie.

Julie said...

Judy: Too bad the recipe in the paper was inaccurate! The limoncello was a fab idea, and it's still an awesome pie. I like your idea for the pastry stars.