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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blueberry Pie with Vodka Crust

I'd heard a lot from friends about the fabulous vodka pie crust from Cook's Illustrated. Finally I had a chance to try it for myself! At the peak of blueberry season, a local blueberry farmer sells gallon-sized zipper-lock bags FULL of blueberries at the farmers' market for a good price. I had Mavis pick one up with the idea that I would (finally) try this recipe, even though I don't personally care for blueberries. We took it to a potluck with a can of whipped cream (easier than ice cream) and it was a HUGE hit. No leftovers.
Blueberry Pie with Foolproof Vodka Crust
adapted from Cook's Illustrated Jul/Aug 2008

Foolproof Pie Dough
2 1/2 C flour, plus more for work surface
1 t salt
2 T sugar
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices (Cook's calls for 3/4 C butter and 1/4 C shortening, but I don't DO shortening, ever)
1/4 C cold vodka (absolutely necessary to this recipe; do not omit; if you can't stand to use it, switch to a different recipe)
1/4 C cold water

Process 1 1/2 C flour, salt and sugar in food processor until combined. Add butter (and shortening if you're using it) and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds. Scrape bowl with spatula and redistribute dough around work bowl. Add remaining 1 C flour and process 4-6 quick pulses to break up clumps. Empty into medium bowl.

Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. Use rubber spatula to fold and press mixture into itself until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide into two evenly-sized balls and flatten into 4-inch disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 45 minutes to 48 hours.

Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and transfer to pie plate, easing dough down into bottom of pie plate. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

Blueberry Filling
6 C fresh blueberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes
2 t grated zest and 2 t juice from one lemon (I omitted this and it didn't kill it)
3/4 C sugar
2 T instant tapioca, ground in spice grinder or mini food processor
2 T unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

egg wash (egg lightly beaten with 1 t water) (I omitted this too, just because I forgot, and it didn't kill it)

Adjust oven rack to lowest position (oops, forgot that too), put rimmed baking sheet on rack, and preheat oven to 400. Put 3 C berries in medium saucepan over medium heat. Mash with potato masher to start releasing juices. Cook, stirring and mashing occasionally, until mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 C. Let cool slightly.

Put grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry. Put in large bowl. Add cooked berries, uncooked berries, lemon zest and juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt. Toss to combine, then put in dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.

Roll out second disk of dough on floured work surface to 11-inch circle. Cut 7 small circles out of dough with 1 1/4-inch cutter. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie. Roll top layer of dough over bottom layer of dough, crimp and flute. Brush with egg wash. Put on heated baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 350 and bake until juices bubble and crust is golden, 30-40 minutes more. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, cut into wedges and serve.

Next up--I'll try this same recipe with blackberries. Don't know why it shouldn't work.

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Blogger J.M. Tewkesbury said...

What I can't help noticing in the picture are the cans of fake whipped cream. You've gone to all this trouble to make a beautiful tasty pie and then you allow that stuff near it?! Please tell me someone else brought.

September 7, 2009 at 5:01 AM  
Blogger janeannechovy said...

Um, those are real whipped heavy cream, not non-dairy whipped topping. I know ideally I would have whipped my own cream to serve with, but a) I had the cans left over from something else; and b) I wasn't sure how many people I would be serving. Actually, if it hadn't been a potluck in an unfamiliar place, I would have brought ice cream. :)

September 7, 2009 at 10:08 AM  

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