Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blueberry Pie with Cornmeal Crust


This was my first ever pie (gasp!). Well, 100% homemade pie, that is. I've always felt that using a store-bought crust was cheating* and since I don't have the right equipment to make a crust in my kitchen at school, I've never gotten around to it.

Fortunately, the perfect opportunity presented itself this summer. My sister Shelby and I took a trip to Alabama to visit my grandparents. My mother was an amazing baker and my grandmother is as well, so I was eager to prove that I'm not a complete failure in the kitchen. It was August and there was a lot of great fruit available, so I decided to try something new and bake a pie. And what's better than a blueberry pie? (Okay, maybe an apple pie, but wrong season). I scoured for recipes on Epicurious and this pie's non-traditional crust intrigued me, so away I went.

Overall, I would say my first homemade pie attempt went well. I had trouble working with the crust, so my pie wasn't very aesthetically pleasing, but hey, practice makes perfect, right?

What I really loved about this pie was the crust. The cornmeal gives the crust a subtle gritty texture, which sets this recipe apart from your run-of-the-mill blueberry pie.

A couple of tips: first, the better the blueberries the better the pie (kind of obvious, but very important), and second, make sure to keep a close eye on the oven for the last 20 minutes of baking time (my pie was done after about an hour).

Oh, and this pie is nothing without vanilla ice cream, so don't forget the Blue Bell!

Bon appetit!

*I later discovered this is, for the most part, false. Unless you're dealing with a graham cracker crust or some other special type of crust, you can't really tell the difference between one that is store bought and one that is homemade. But if you have the time and equipment, go for the homemade crust, if only for the feeling of accomplishment and bragging rights.

Blueberry Pie with Cornmeal Crust
Serves 8
Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal, preferably stone-ground, medium grind
3 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks total) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup nonhydrogenated solid vegetable shortening, frozen, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 tbsp (or more) ice water

Filling:
5 cups fresh blueberries (about 27 oz)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp water
Milk (for brushing)
1 1/2 tbsp raw sugar

To make the crust, blend flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and shortening and, using on-off turns, pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 4 tbsp ice water and blend just until moist clumps begin to form, adding more water by the teaspoonful if dough is too dry. Gather dough into a ball and divide in half, forming two disks. Wrap disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour. Can be made a day ahead. Keep dough chilled and let soften 10 minutes before rolling out.

To make the filling, combine the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and 1 tbsp of water in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature until juices begin form, about 30 minutes.


Preheat oven to 400° F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the bottom of the oven. Roll out 1 disk of dough between two sheets of generously floured parchment paper until it is 12 inches in diameter. Peel off the top sheet of paper. Invert dough into the bottom of a 9-inch glass pie dish. Peel of the second sheet of parchment. Gently press the dough into the dish, pressing any cracks together as needed to seal and leave dough overhang. Spoon filling into pie crust.

Roll out the second disk of dough between two sheets of generously floured parchment paper until it is 12 inches in diameter. Peel off the top sheet of parchment. Carefully and evenly invert dough atop filling. Peel off second parchment sheet. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold overhang under and press to seal. Crimp edges decoratively. Cut 5 2-inch slits in the top of the pie crust to allow steam to escape while baking. Lightly brush the top of the crust with milk (not edges). Sprinkle with raw sugar.


Bake pie for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F and continue baking until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling thickly through slits, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool pie completely on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla bean ice cream.


Source: Bon Appetit July 2008 via Epicurious

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