The Roaming Foodie

Archive for August 2010

Every summer, I make a million things with blueberries in it. In my backyard, we have 8 or 10 blueberry bushes that produce what I would estimate to be several pounds of blueberries each summer. Anyway, my family and I can’t eat that many blueberries raw, so I make a plethora of baked goods featuring blueberries: muffins, bread, cake, pancakes, and, my family’s personal favorite, blueberry pie. I make at least 3 or 4 every summer, and have been doing so for the past few years, so you’d think by now I’d be used to getting the pastry just right. And I have been, up until today when I made it.

I remember the first time I made this pastry recipe a few years ago, I followed the recipe exactly, dubiously looked at the crumbly bowl of flour, butter, shortening, lemon juice, and water, and figured that’s what it was supposed to look like and would somehow magically come together after chilling in the refrigerator and after I rolled it out. After pulling it out of the fridge, having dough fall apart and crumble before my eyes out of the perfect disc I had beat it into. I then had a nervous breakdown, in which I resembled a 4 year old child having a temper tantrum, and ended up pressing pounding it into submission into the pan until it would at least serve as a something to hold the blueberry filling. Despite this difficult crust, the pie turned out delicious. From then on, I just added more and more water until the crust looked like every other pastry recipe I’ve ever made, and from then on all my pies have consistently turned out picture perfect beautiful. I’m a perfectionist, what can I say? It’s admirable, I suppose, but it’s also often my downfall.

Anyway, the last time I made a beautiful and scrumptious pie, I thought the crust was slightly tougher than usual. So, this time, I thought I’d cut back on the liquid.

This was a terrible idea.

My crust was crumbly, but as before when I made it, I deluded myself into thinking it would come together. It didn’t. I kneaded and beat it into submission before rolling it out, and managed to get two discs of dough to use as crust, but it is a terribly ugly pie. I hate serving pies that aren’t perfect. But at least I know the filling will taste lovely. And, I didn’t have a temper tantrum this time. that’s always good too.

Blueberry Pie
adapted from the More from Magnolia Cookbook (

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, chilled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3-7 tablespoons of ice water

Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in the butter and shortening until the pieces are pea size (You can do this with a pastry cutter, a fork like I use, or you can do this entire part in the food processor). Add the lemon juice and water and toss with a fork until moistened (you’ll want it to be pretty wet, enough to be able to form into discs, so keep adding water until the right consistency is reached). Gather the dough into a ball and separate into two discs. Wrap each disc tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

3 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons quick cooking minute tapioca
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

Toss the berries, sugar, tapioca, water, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Roll out one disc on a lightly floured surface to fit a 9-inch pie dish. Trim off excess if you wish (my family loves crust, so I usually leave it on and make an extra thick edge crust). Place the fruit filling into the bottom crust, and dot with the butter. Roll out the next disc and place it on top, again trimming if you’d like. Press the edge of the bottom crust and the edge of the top crust together, fold over, and crimp to seal. Make several 1-inch slits in the center with a knife. Protect the edges of the crust from burning by covering them and wrapping the edge with aluminum foil Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours, then serve and enjoy!