Blueberry pie, with a crust so flaky and buttery, it melts on your tongue.
Remember when Food Network Challenge was on the air? I was on the show in 2009 when they came to Orlando to film the Crisco National Pie Championship. I ended up winning my division, but winning with an all-butter crust (no Crisco).
Funny story, I’m allergic to Crisco. Still, I won the professional apple division and had the title of “Best Apple Pie in America” for an entire year. Bragging rights. I think the recipe is still floating around the Internet somewhere.
Over the years I’ve since refined, refocused, perfected, and learned a lot more about the science of baking (in culinary school). My biggest takeaway from all of these tests: flavor the crust! Please. Do this. Here’s why.
Have you ever devoured your way from the perfectly pointy tip of a piece of pie, all the way to the back side, and then hit with a dry, flavorless hunk of crust? Me too. But this will never happen with a recipe that has enough fat, and flavor.
Think about this. The crust doesn’t have to be, shouldn’t be, a plain, bland container for pie filling. It can, and should have its own flavor, too. The easiest way to flavor pie dough is to add a little sugar, vanilla, vinegar, or zest, or herbs, or cheese, or spices. Don’t be afraid. Mix these into the butter/flour stage of the method. Give it flavor. Eat the crust.
The recipe is below, with blueberries, because they’re in season right now. But any filling is worthy of this versatile dough. Versatile? You bet. Pies, galettes, crackers, toaster pastries, hand pies, chicken pot pie, empanadas, pizza rolls, homemade hot pockets, and more.
Blueberry Pie (with the best crust, ever)
For the crust:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 2 sticks butter, cut into 16 pieces
- 1 tsp. apple cider or white vinegar
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup ice water, plus more as needed
For the filling:
- 2 pints ripe blueberries, divided
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp. cream
- 3 tbsp. sugar
Make the pie crust:
- Measure all crust ingredients and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- In the base of a food processor pulse together flour, salt, and sugar until well mixed.
- Add half of the butter, pulse until butter pieces are the size of nickels. Add remaining butter, and pulse until butter pieces are the size of nickels, dimes, and peas.
- Transfer dry dough to a large bowl. Add vinegar and 1/4 cup ice water. Using hands, gently mix dough. Continue adding water as needed, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time until dough comes together. Dough should be slightly crumbly, but holds together when pinched.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface; divide dough in half, flatten each half into a round disc. Wrap each disc in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to 48 hours.
For extra flaky dough, cut one of the discs into quarters. Stack quarters on top of each other and flatten into a disc. Repeat with other piece of dough. Cover each and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 48 hours.
Make the filling:
- In a large bowl combine half of the blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt; lightly mash together with a potato masher, back of a spoon, or fork.
- Stir in remaining blueberries; let stand 10 minutes.
- Make the egg wash. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and cream. Set aside until ready to use.
Assemble and bake the pie:
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Remove dough from refrigerator, let stand 5 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll one piece of dough into a 1/8-inch thick round. Transfer dough to a pie dish; spoon in blueberry mixture. Brush exposed dough with egg wash.
- One a lightly floured work surface, roll second piece of dough into a 1/8-inch thick round. Place dough on top of blueberries. Press edges of top and bottom dough together to seal, crimp as desired.
- Make 2-to-4 small slits on top of pie for venting; lightly press top crust down with hands so that the dough is in contact with the blueberries.
- Brush dough with remaining egg wash, sprinkle with sugar.
- Place pie on a baking sheet. Place baking sheet in oven. Bake 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375, continue baking 25 to 35 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and top crust is golden brown.
- Remove pan from oven, let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing.