It’s blueberry season here in Quebec. I always freeze blueberries for the winter, but I have never made a blueberry pie. In fact, I rarely make pies at all, so it’s a bit surprising that this summer I have made two.
My 96 year old mother asked for a Shoo Fly pie for her birthday this year. (This is an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe that uses flour and molasses as its base.) My mother has been a pie maker all her life and would think nothing of making pies most days. Me…not so much. Her birthday wish forced me to revisit pie making. I felt it was the least I could do – a little pay back for all the pies she made me over the years.
The problem I have been having with pies lies in the crust. Most of the flaky pie crusts I have tasted made by country cooks are full of vegetable shortening or lard. I am not happy eating or cooking with these fats and long ago switched my allegiance to butter. The few butter crust pies I have made have not been flaky and rolling them out has been something of a nightmare. That is, until this summer.
My daughter and son-in-law gave me this book a few years ago…and well, I am thinking everyone needs this book.
The Cook’s Book is full of techniques and recipes mastered by chefs. In this rather heavy book, I found the recipe that has altered my view of making butter crusts or pâte brisée (shortcrust pastry). This pastry can either be made by hand or in a food processor. For full disclosure here, I have to tell you I ran into the same problem with this recipe as I did with all of the others I have made. The recipe itself is a breeze and the dough comes together well, but like all shortcrust pastries, they call for it to be chilled in the fridge for at least two hours before rolling. This is where I broke with tradition. I recently read that it doesn’t matter when the dough is chilled – just that it be chilled before baking. I decided to roll the dough while it was still pliable and then chill it in the fridge in the pie pan. Some far better and much more experienced pastry chefs might dispute this, but all I can say is it worked for me. There was far less swearing as I was rolling out the dough and for that alone the switch-up was well worth it.
For this blueberry pie, I had only one crust, so I made it with a crumble top. I combined two online recipes that I found for blueberry crumble pie – one from Epicurious and one from Allrecipes. I used the filling recipe and the baking temperature and time from All Recipes and the crumble topping from Epicurious. It turned out well. The crust was flaky and the pie delicious.
I just might turn into a pie maker after all.