Blueberriest Pie

Pregnancy cravings are weird! Never in my life have I had a craving so intense that I am so close to jumping in my car at midnight and running to the grocery store or closest fast food place. The cravings are just random too, not just salty or sweet foods, but it seems like everything goes! Some of the cravings are things I have never craved in my life, like Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, hot dogs, sweet iced tea, fruit pie, Raisin Bran cereal, and Panera’s Chocolate Chip Bagels, just to name a few. I have also had some major food aversions that reared their ugly head early on and have not gone away yet. The thought of chicken just turns my stomach and don’t even get me started on broccoli! Ugh! It just doesn’t seem to make sense, just when you are supposed to be eating healthy you can’t seem to stomach the thought of it. Before I got pregnant I would eat grilled chicken and broccoli all the time, but definitely not lately. Now I know I am not alone ladies, for all those of you who have gone thorough pregnancy, did you have any weird cravings or aversions? I’d love to hear about them! :)

This recipe is a result of one of my intense pregnancy cravings and the insanely cheap (I am talking $2 a pound!) blueberries that I found at the grocery store. Although I have shared with you a recipe for a blueberry pie before, I am always on a hunt to find an even better recipe. I was really impressed with this recipe because it stood up when sliced and didn’t turn into a runny mess. Blueberries have so much juice that many times if you don’t have a great recipe the pie will turn into a mess when cut. The secret in this recipe is the addition of a grated Granny Smith apple and ground tapioca, which combine to thicken the filling but not interfere with the berries. The apple bits just melt into the berry filling during baking, helping to thicken the filling, but leaving no textural sign of their presence. The pie dough in this recipe uses vodka instead of water to achieve a tender and flaky crust. It always turns out so well that it has become my go to recipe for pie crust! The vodka imparts no flavor and is only used for the incredibly flaky texture. However, if you are concerned about using vodka you can always try the basic pie dough recipe. Up until I tried this recipe I believed that this was my favorite blueberry pie, although both recipes are delicious, this one wins hands down! :D

Blueberriest Pie

Homemade blueberry pie.

Yield: one 9-inch, double-crust pie

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup cold water
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water

For the Blueberry Filling:
6 cups fresh blueberries (about 30 ounces)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
2 teaspoons grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, ground
Pinch table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Directions:

For The Pie Dough: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour. Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 pulses. Transfer mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. Using a folding motion, use a rubber spatula to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on floured work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
For The Filling, adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees. Place 3 cups of blueberries in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Using a potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry. Transfer apple to large bowl. Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine. Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.
Roll out the second pie dough disk into a 11-inch round. Using 1 1/4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut round from center of dough. Cut another 6 rounds from dough, 1 1/2 inches from edge of center hole and equally spaced around center hole. Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush top and edges of pie with egg mixture. If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
Place pie on heated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. Cut into wedges and serve.

Recipe Notes:
Unthawed frozen blueberries will work as well. In step 4, cook half the frozen berries over medium-high heat, without mashing, until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 12 to 15 minutes.
Grind the tapioca to a powder in a spice grinder or mini food processor. If using pearl tapioca, reduce the amount to 5 teaspoons.
Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor; do not substitute

One Year Ago: Chocolate Ice Cream