It’s been almost six months since I last posted a pie recipe on Cakes & Bakes. I’ve righted that wrong this week with a blueberry pie.
My recipe is a hodgepodge of three others. The blueberry pie filling is from my vintage 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook, Dinner for Two; the sweet pastry is from Dorie Granspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours and the crème anglaise is from that catering college staple, Ceserani & Kinton’s Practical Cookery.
Much as I enjoyed this bake, if I were to make another blueberry pie, I’d do it a little differently.
Firstly, the blueberry pie filling was WAY too sweet for my taste. Perhaps it wouldn’t have tasted so sweet if the pastry I’d used had been just a plain shortcrust.
Secondly, the filling recipe calls for ½ teaspoon of cinnamon; Justin liked it, but it just didn’t work for me.
Thirdly (and lastly), I had my first slice with crème anglaise and my second (not straight after, obviously 🙂 ) with double cream. I much preferred the latter version.
Perhaps I’ll test my 3rd portion with vanilla ice cream – all in the name of research on behalf of our readers, of course!
- 400g/14oz plain flour
- 120g/4oz icing sugar
- pinch of salt
- 250g/9oz very cold butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 125g/4½oz caster sugar
- 30g/1oz plain flour
- ½tsp teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 375g/13oz blueberries
- 2 tbs butter
- 300ml/½pt milk
- 25g/1oz caster sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2-3 drops vanilla extract (I used ¼tsp vanilla bean paste)
- Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine
- Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine
- Stir the eggs, just to break them up, and add it them little at a time, pulsing after each addition
- When the eggs are in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds
- Just before your pastry reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change, so listen out
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing
- Butter the pie dish and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the dish and over the rim. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly shortbread-ish texture
- Freeze the pastry for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4
- Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly against the pastry
- Bake the pastry for 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the pastry has puffed up, press it down gently with the back of a spoon
- Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes. Allow to cool before adding the pie filling
- Combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon
- Stir in the blueberries
- Turn into pastry-lined pie dish and dot with butter
- Roll out the remaining piece of pastry into a round and, using the rolling pin, carefully lower the pastry over the filling
- Press the pastry lid into the pastry bottom either with your thumbs or a fork. Trim the excess and brush the top with a little milk
- Bake at 175ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 4 for 25-30 minutes or until crust is brown and juice just begins to bubble through slits in the crust
- Boil the milk in a medium-sized saucepan. Allow to cool a little
- Mix yolks, sugar and vanilla in a basin before adding to the milk
- Put the saucepan back on a low heat and stir with a whisk or wooden spoon until the desired thickness. Do NOT boil
- Pass through a fine sieve into a serving jug
Spring is coming, spring is coming!
That means that we’ll be able to get back to using our garden again. It’s looking really sorry for itself at the moment – neglected, frost-shattered terracotta pots
Much as I love pretty, jaunty annuals, I never feel like they’re value for money. I prefer having bulbs – they bring pleasure year after year and once they’ve been planted, the majority of them just get on with it.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about investing a bit more and getting a few fruit trees. Top of my list are damsons, quinces and blueberries. I make jams & jellies so fruit from my own garden will make it all that more “home-made”.
Bluberries really suit where we live – they love acid soil and you can grow them in pots (the majority of our garden is cobbled stone setts). Damsons are famous for growing well “up north” – apparently they like a bit of damp – they’ll feel right at home with us then! I’ve wanted my own quince tree ever since I made a batch of jelly from a big bag of quinces given to me by a friend of Granny Glittens. They’re not the kind of fruit you tend to find to readily in shops or markets and the jelly is fragrant, delicious and a beautiful amber colour.
I think I’d like to turn our little plot into a micro orchard!