On a recent afternoon I found myself standing beside three foot high blueberry bushes kneeling in weight. The afternoon sun warmed the berries and I plucked them by the handful and dropped them in my bucket. Large mountains surrounded the fields swallowing our town, leaving only the room for blue sky and enough wind to rustle the leaves. Blueberry picking went relatively fast with the abundance of fruit. When I returned home pounds and pounds of blueberries took a bath in the sink and waited on trays to be frozen. A few more pounds were washed briefly, pierced individually with the tip of a knife and dehydrated for 36 hours. When only 1.5lbs remained Shane put in his request for blueberry pie.
I started with a pie crust, by biggest weakness in the kitchen. Everything started off prefect. I froze my flours and chilled my cubed butter. I cut the fat in flour until pea sized amounts. I added the water just a bit at a time to get the prefect balance of stickiness to dryness. I wrapped the dough up in a disk and chilled it for two days. When I got back to it, I rolled it out perfectly, not too big or too small. The process was quick and soon it was back in the fridge chilling again. Loaded with pie weights it went into a 375 degree oven for twenty minutes. When I pulled it out...a wail escaped. The pie crust had shrunk right down, so it wasn't covering the sides. Where did I go wrong?!
It could have been the oven, this one is not very good though we check the temperature with a thermometer that read accurately. I could have worked the dough just a little hard, developing the gluten too much when adding the flour or shaping into a disk. Maybe it warmed too much as I rolled it out, or absorbed too much flour to keep it from sticking (I've read rice flour is a great substitute.) Of course I'll try again, but it sure is discouraging to fail over and over again.
I finished the pie nevertheless, loading the macerated blueberries into the pie plate and then topping with crumble. It baked until it was sticky and and perfectly goopy, the sides caramel-y where the glass plate heated the sugar hotter. I'd say I've never had a finer blueberry pie (aside from the crust) and topped with the most perfect and smooth batch of vanilla ice cream Shane has ever made (and possibly that has ever existed) I think I'll be eating this for breakfast.
Blueberry Crumble Pie
1 par-baked pie crust
1 lb 10 oz (5 cups) fresh blueberries
130 g (2/3 cup) plus 38 g (3 Tbsp) white sugar, divided
2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp grated lemon zest plus 2 Tbsp lemon juice
90 g (3/4 cup) white AP flour
38 g (3 Tbsp) light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
80 g (5 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
In a medium sized bowl place 2/3 cup white sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest. Mix the ingredients well. Add the blueberries and lemon juice and stir to coat the blueberries evenly. Let the blueberries stand for 20-30 minutes, mixing periodically while the juices leach out.
Whisk the flour, remaining 3 Tbsp of sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl to blend. Add the melted butter and mix, fingertips work best.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Scrape the blueberry filling into the crust and then sprinkle the toping over. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crumble is golden. Cover the crust with foil after 30 minutes if it seems to be browning too much. Let cool on a wire rack. Can be kept a few days drapped with a clean towel but it is obviously best if consumed the same day.