Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Guest Post – A Twist on Blueberry Pie!

Written by Patti on June 14th, 2014

Good Morning Darlings,

I am so happy to hand the reins over today to my dear friend and business partner, Carrie. She is an incredible cook and can whip up a party in a moment’s notice. It’s truly fabulous to behold.

Southern Living Magazine is one of our favorites, so when they asked if I would pick something to try from their newest issue, I was just dying over the pie on the cover.  Carrie picked up the ball and ran with it…here’s her story. Enjoy!

Southern Living’s Honey-Balsamic Blueberry Pie

I love blueberries.  They are a true sign of summer and remind me of blueberry picking in Georgia with my mom; avoiding all the critters, basking (read: sweltering) in the hot Georgia summer sun, dreaming of pool time afterwards. We would walk away with the most beautiful berries, sneaking a few plump ones along the way, and would try and pick enough to have plenty to freeze. So when this glorious blueberry pie recipe popped up,  I had to take it for a spin as I’m always a sucker for a great pie crust.  Add balsamic vinegar in the mix?  I’m in!

Like any good pie recipe, you start with the crust (of the matter, wait, that’s crux, but still it’s the “crucial part” so it works). Flour, cold butter, cold vegetable shortening and kosher salt are processed in a food processor until it resembles ground graham crackers. Then cold water is added until a ball is formed, of course you can add a little more flour along the way if you over-do the water, but be careful not to over mix. I will say this was a resilient recipe and took well to my accidental heavy hand with the water. The dough is then split into two disks, wrapped in plastic wrap, flatten slightly and chilled.

I cheated a little and placed in my deep-freeze while prepping the filling so the dough only needed about an hour.

The filling started with crushing up a portion of the blueberries with a wooden spoon prior to adding the cornstarch and balsamic vinegar.

Sugar, honey, vanilla extract, kosher salt, ground cinnamon and ground black pepper are then added and mixed well prior to adding the remaining blueberries.

Now it’s back to the crust. Pull out one of the disks from the fridge/freezer and roll out to 1/8″ thickness (you can use a ruler if needed). You want it thin, but not so thin that you can’t handle it without it falling apart. I tend to use a roll and turn method as well as a flip in the middle to ensure my crust isn’t sticking to the counter/rolling mat.

A deep-dish pie plate ( mine was a regular one since I didn’t have a deep-dish and it was fine, but it was a large pie pan, not something that a store-bought pie comes in) is greased and the bottom crust is placed in it. At this point I trimmed the excess dough that was really draping over the edges, but left it on the top of the pan to adhere to the top crust.

The blueberry mixture is added to the pie plate, dotted with cutter and you grab the other disk from the fridge/freezer. Then, even if you think you know how to make the lattice top for the pie, watch and pin this quick video as a refresher – Roll out the dough, same as the first crust, and cut 12-14 1/2″ strips with a pastry cutter or pizza cutter (a knife works fine too).

Follow the lattice video and drape, fold, drape, fold, drape, fold your way into a lovely lattice-work topped pie.

I trimmed the edges again after affixing the lattice strips to the edge with some egg mixture (1 egg mixed w/ 1 Tbsp water). I deviated slightly from the recipe here and rolled my remaining crust into 6 9” x 1/2″ pretzel-like strips rather than re-rolling and cutting into strips. The result is almost the same, but, as you can see in the picture mine are a little more rounded, which I liked for the crust. I just braided them together and affixed to the crust edge with egg mixture, then brushed the entire pie crust with the egg mixture.

The pie then went into the deep-freeze for 20 minutes while preheating the oven to 425F degrees. Prep a baking sheet by covering with aluminum foil to catch any ooze from the blueberries. Quick tip: make sure to use larger sheets of foil than needed so you can wrap the pie later, if needed, by just pulling up the edges. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes, reduce to 375F and bake for 20 mins, cover with the foil and bake 25-30 mins more until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Remove to wire rack and let cool 1 hour, which is tough with the aroma permeating everything!

Slice and service after a summertime cookout on the patio, everyone will love it!

Honey-Balsamic Blueberry Pie
Yield: 8 servings
Time: 5 hours

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cold butter, sliced
6 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 to 6 Tbsp. ice-cold water

7 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 large egg

Prepare Crust: Process first 4 ingredients in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. With processor running, gradually add 4 Tbsp. ice-cold water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, and process until dough forms a ball and pulls away from sides of bowl, adding up to 2 Tbsp. more water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, if necessary. Divide dough in half, and flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill 2 hours to 2 days.

Prepare Filling: Place 1 cup blueberries in a large bowl; crush blueberries with a wooden spoon. Stir cornstarch and vinegar into crushed berries until cornstarch dissolves. Stir sugar, next 5 ingredients, and remaining 6 cups blueberries into crushed berry mixture.
Unwrap 1 dough disk, and place on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with flour. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Fit dough into a greased (with butter) 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Repeat rolling procedure with remaining dough disk; cut dough into 12 to 14 (1/2-inch-wide) strips. (You will have dough left over.)

Pour blueberry mixture into piecrust, and dot with butter cubes. Arrange piecrust strips in a lattice design over filling. Trim excess dough.
Reroll remaining dough, and cut into 6 (9- x 1/2-inch) strips. Twist together 2 strips at a time. Whisk together egg and 1 Tbsp. water. Brush a small amount of egg mixture around edge of pie. Arrange twisted strips around edge of pie, pressing lightly to adhere. Brush entire pie with remaining egg mixture. Freeze 20 minutes or until dough is firm.

Preheat oven to 425F. Bake pie on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375F, and bake 20 more minutes. Cover pie with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning, and bake 25 to 30 more minutes (65 to 70 minutes total) or until crust is golden and filling bubbles in center. Remove from baking sheet to a wire rack; cool 1 hour before serving.

Thanks, Carrie! That pie was delicious!

What are you cooking this summer?

xoxo, Patti


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