It's SUMMMMMMMMER!!!!! Okay, summer doesn't officially start until approximately 48 hours from now. The point is, the days are hot, the nights are long, and the blueberries are starting to achieve their juicy, tartly-sweet perfection. While they won't hit their peak until late July or August, I've already noticed the taste of summer in the pints I've picked up in the last week or so. By the time they've hit their peak, there won't be any need for baked goods - it will be too hot to turn the oven on, and the berries will be so bursting with flavor that you won't need to do anything more than shovel them into your mouth straight from the strainer. But now is the perfect time to welcome summer with a blueberry pie.
Once a week all summer long, my little brother, father and I would ride bikes to a u-pick farm a few miles from our house. My brother spent the whole time squatting among the rows, stuffing his cheeks with so many berries that when we checked out, my dad always sheepishly paid for a pint or two more than what we were taking home. Any berries that actually made it into the pint containers - and survived the pit stop we inevitably made on the way home - didn't last long in a colander on the kitchen counter. It's just so tempting and easy to pop a few in your mouth each time you walk by! If you can resist the temptation, here's the recipe I always use when whipping up pie for my blueberry-addicted father on his birthday or Father's Day - both of which fall, luckily for him, in the month of June. The classic crust, called Pate Brisee, is from Martha Stewart's Pies and Tarts.
But if you end up stuffing your cheeks with the berries instead, I won't judge.
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Pate Brisee
- 3 or 4 pints of fresh blueberries, picked over
- 1/2 a cup of sugar
- 4 Tbsp of cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 to 2 Tbsp of butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp milk or water
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk of dough to a 12-inch round. Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate, pressing into the edges. Trim to a 1/2-inch overhang all around and fold edge under. Roll out remaining dough in the same manner; transfer the second disk of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill pie shell and dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Place blueberries in a large bowl and add sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest. Stir to combine, gently crushing about half of the berries with your hands as you work; let stand 10-15 minutes. Spoon mixture into the chilled pie shell, mounding berries slightly in the center, and dot with butter. Remove second disk of dough from refrigerator, and blanket it over the blueberry filling. Trim edge again to 1.2-inch all around and tuck the edge of top dough between edge of bottom dough and rim of pan. Using your fingers, gently press both layers of dough along the edge to seal, and crimp as desired.
- Using a paring knife, cut several vents in top of dough to allow steam to escape. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and milk or water. Brush surface of pie with egg wash, careful not to let it pool, and sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate pie until firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees, with rack in lower third.
- Place pie in the oven with a parchment-lined baking sheet on the rack below, to catch any dripping juices. Bake until crust begins to turn golden, about 30 minutes, and then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue baking until crust is deep golden brown and juices are bubbling through the vents and have thickened, 30 to 40 minutes more. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool completely. The pie is best eaten the day it is baked, but it can be kept at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap, for up to 2 days. Fat chance of it lasting that long...