Friday, August 17, 2012

Lemony Blueberry Pie (and how to bake a frozen pie)

Another pie?  Yes!  Pie and pastry seem daunting, but with a little practice (tasty, tasty, practice!) they are rather easy.  Here are 2 few things I have learned along the way:
1. Keep everything really cold.  I like the method of freezing the shortening for 30 mins or so and then grating it into the flour.  I usually then stick the whole bowl of  flour/shortening into the freezer for 15 mins or so before adding the cold water and bringing the dough together.
2. Filling fruit pies is basically the same.  4-5 cups of fruit to 3-4 tbsp of some thickening agent (cornstarch, tapioca), ¾ cup sugar, lemon juice, and spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger).  Juicier fruit like peaches and strawberries do well with a 50/50 cornstarch/tapioca mix.

Lemons and blueberries are a perfect match, and this pie is bursting with the flavours of both.  You can use unthawed frozen blueberries if you don’t have fresh, making this a perfect pie to make year-round.

- 1 recipe pie dough, as per this recipe
- 4 cups blueberries
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp cinnamon

1. Make and roll out pie dough as per this recipe.
2. Gently toss blueberries with the lemon juice.
3. Whisk sugar and cornstarch together, then mix in lemon zest, salt, and cinnamon.  Gently toss with blueberries and fill pie shell.
4. Add top crust, cut steam vent, and refrigerate for 30 mins, or until pie has firmed up.
5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees then bake in the lower 1/3 of the oven for about an hour, or until the filling is bubbling all over and the crust is golden.  Add about 15 mins for frozen berries. 

If you want to make a pie and save it for later, I think they taste best if they are put in the freezer, unbaked in a freezer bag, and then baked up later.  Here’s how to do it:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees with rack on the bottom shelf.  Wrap the edge of the pie crust in a strip of aluminum foil.  Bake for 15 mins, then reduce heat to 375 degrees.  From here it will take another 45 to 60 minutes to finish the pie.  Juicier pies (like peach) will take the longest.  Remove the foil for the final 15 mins of baking to brown everything up nicely.