Summer fruit pie making season has arrived here in Oregon, and I have found myself daydreaming about blueberry pie. Sweetened berries inside a buttery pastry crust... Yum!
When the blueberry bushes in our small backyard garden began to flower, I was already thinking about the various ways in which we could eat them - besides just picking them straight from the bush, which of course is a delight in itself. But the amount of berries that are ripe and plump and ready to be picked is what determines what can be done with them. A few days ago I picked enough fruit to make a pie, thus turning my daydream into reality.
The berry yield I obtained was just over a quart - maybe 5 cups in all. It was enough to make the 10 inch pie you see in the top photo, plus another, smaller 6 inch pie (not shown).
I know that most pie crust recipes call for unsalted butter and white pastry flour, but I never have anything but salted butter and whole wheat pastry flour around my kitchen. So when using salted butter I go easy on the amount of added salt, and just use the flour on hand. Using this type of pastry flour produces a crust that is a bit thicker and heartier than one made with white flour, and I think it tastes every bit as good.
So, here's the recipe I came up with:
So, here's the recipe I came up with:
Whole Wheat Pie Crust
makes 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust pies
2-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 sticks salted butter
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water (about 2 ice cubes in the water is sufficient)
Measure the flour into a large bowl and add the salt and sugar. Mix together. Cut the butter into small pieces, adding to the flour mixture. Work the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until it is pea size. Add 4 T. of the ice water and use your hands to mix it together. Mix thoroughly before adding any more water. What you are looking for is the formation of a ball of dough that holds together well. Once this is achieved, stop handling it and divide it in half. Shape each half into a disk and place in plastic wrap. Chill at least 1 hour, or overnight. I prefer to prepare the dough the night before, then take it out of the refrigerator about 1 hour before 'pie time' in the morning. (Coffee, anyone?)
Sprinkle some flour on your work surface and rub some on your rolling pin. Shape, then roll 1 disk of dough into your desired circumference and place it into your pie plate. The reason I like this recipe is that it makes a generous amount of crust. Sometimes I like to make the 10 inch pie, then roll out the rest of the dough, place it on a baking sheet, sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over it and bake it for an extra treat.
Once you have your dough shaped and placed into the bottom of your pie plate, put it in the refrigerator to keep the butter from melting too much, and make the filling:
Blueberry Pie Filling
yield 1 pie
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon milk
1 quart blueberries, washed and stems removed
2 T. lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
Have berries ready in a large bowl. Add the flour, lemon juice, and your desired amount of sugar and mix until the flour is distributed evenly.
Let sit while you shape, then roll out your second disk of pastry into a top crust.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Stir the berries one more time, then fill the prepared bottom pie shell. Place the top pastry over it, trim the excess, and press and crimp the edges together. Prick the top crust with a fork. At this point if you think you've overworked the dough or if it is too soft, you could place the whole pie into the refrigerator until the dough firms up a bit more.
Mix the egg and milk together, and brush this mixture over the top crust - this step isn't necessary, but it does make the pie a nice color.
Bake at 425 degrees for twenty minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.
Now, it's time to enjoy your freshly baked summer fruit pie. And since it is summer, what better place to share it than a nice cool shady spot in your own back yard?
What is your favorite summer pie you enjoy baking?