Sunday, June 03, 2012
Recipe for "Blueberry Pie" is from Nigel Slater's "Ripe: a Cook in the Orchard".
This was not the prettiest pie, but it is tasty. It has a soft crust, which Nigel Slater warns is "too tender to transfer from tart pan to plate in one piece"; he likes this sort of crust for blueberries since "the little baubles tend to collapse in a pie, and a tender pastry crust, so fragile it crumbles with the merest pressure, seems more appropriate than a crisp one".
As soon as I mixed the dough, I realized that the soft crust was going to be difficult to roll out. Slater doesn't include any advice for how to handle the dough, but luckily I happened to stumble upon this post this morning, which linked to this post which suggested techniques for rolling out pie dough. I decided to refrigerate the dough (using the freezer is okay too if you want to make it firm up faster), and roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment. I'm glad that did! The parchment kept the dough from sticking to the rolling pin, and made the dough easy to turn and flip (you should turn the dough several times, and flip it over a few times as you are rolling to ensure that you are doing everything evenly). If you briefly chilling the rolled out dough in the parchment sheets made the sheets easier to remove. If you use parchment, don't flour your workspace (it makes a huge mess); instead only flour inside of the parchment. Also, you can leave one parchment sheet on the dough to help you transfer the dough to the pie dish, and then remove the dough once the crust is in the dish. I also had to cover the edges of the crust with aluminum foil halfway through the cooking, since they were browning too quickly.
Next time I make this, I think I would only do a single top crust. The bottom crust gets soggy and nearly disappears because of all the blueberry juice. Also, I think that the crust in this recipe is too thin; the rolled out thin dough is difficult to work with, and as soon as the pie went into the oven, the top crust softened so much that you can see the shape of the blueberries through the crust. So I think a thicker pie crust would be better, plus the thick portions of this pie were tasty.
All the sugar in this recipe is mixed in with the pie crust. There is no sugar in the blueberry filling. I liked how this resulted--the blueberries are sharp, and the pie crust provides a sweet contrast. Slater points out in his book that the best pies and crumbles have a sharp acidity to them (e.g. plum, gooseberries, damsons, rhubarb are more successful than the mild and sweet strawberry or peach).
(Side note: I didn't use red currant jelly in the recipe since I didn't have any. I used 1 quart of blueberries in this.)