I love to make this pie in August when blueberries are in season. The filling is simple enough, with just enough to enhance the flavor of the blueberries. The crust is a bit trickier, but it’s still not hard with a little practice. There’s lots that you can read about making pie crusts, but here are my favorite pie crust tricks that I have gathered over the years:
- Keep everything as cold as possible, including the butter, the ice water, and even your work surface.
- To get a flaky crust, you need visible chunks of butter in the dough. The chunks should be about the size of peas. A trick that I have learned recently is to add butter in two stages. Add about two thirds of the butter in the first pass, and then add the rest. This gives you the classic mixture that resembles corn meal, but with larger pieces of butter that ensure a flaky crust.
- Handle the dough as little as possible. If you handle it too much with your warm hands, the butter will melt and dough will get tough.
The lattice top is not as hard to make as it might look. If you don’t want to bother with it, though, you can use a regular top crust. Just be sure to cut slits in so that the steam can escape as the pie bakes.
Pie crust (enough for a 10 inch pie with a lattice top)
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour
12 ounces butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 12 pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
To make the pie crust:
Combine the flour, salt and sugar in a food processor.
Add one stick of the butter (8 pieces) to the flour mixture, pulsing about 10 times to combine, until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
Pulse in the rest of the butter so that you end up with some larger pieces of butter in the dough. The larger pieces should be about the size of peas.
Add 3 tablespoons of ice water, one at a time, pulsing just once or twice, until the mixture begins to pull together. Add more ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until you can gather the dough into a ball.
Separate the dough into two unequal-sized balls. The ball that will be the bottom crust should have about two-thirds of the dough, and the lattice top will use about one-third of the dough.
Wrap the two balls in plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator to rest for at least 10 minutes.
5 cups blueberries, washed and picked over to remove stems, etc.
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 cup brown sugar (more if you like a sweeter pie)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons of milk
Sugar for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place all filling ingredients except for the butter in a bowl, and toss to combine.
Roll out the larger ball of dough and place into a 10 inch pie plate.
Put the filling in the pie crust. Cut the 1/2 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and scatter them over the top of the pie.
Make the lattice. Start by rolling the smaller ball of dough into an oblong shape that is at least as wide as your pie plate.
Cut the dough into strips. I use a hard plastic spatula for this, but a butter knife would probably work. Try for mostly long strips, but it’s fine if you end up with some shorter ones.
Weave the lattice. Start with smaller strips along the edge of the plate, alternating crisses and crosses. As you start to weave, lift up individual strips of dough as needed, and put them back down gently. Use gradually longer strips to work your way from a corner to the center of the pie. In this picture, you can also see the dots of butter under the dough.
When the lattice is complete, crimp the top and bottom crusts together around the edge of the pie. Put the two tablespoons of milk into a cup, and use a brush to brush the top of the pie with milk. Sprinkle the top of the pie with sugar.
Put the pie on a cookie sheet to avoid dripping. Bake the pie for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower the heat to 350 and bake for another 40-50 minutes until the crust is golden brown.