Monday, August 03, 2009

Blueberry Lattice Pie

I did it! I conquered my fear and irrational insecurities about this most quaint and homey treat. I somehow managed to produce a real live actual edible representation of a buttery crust filled with fruit and topped with more crust. Yes, it's true. This is a huge milestone for me: after countless failures, I can finally say that I made a pie!

Blueberry Lattice Pie

I've always wanted to make a lattice pie, and since I've had a hard time mastering crust (see the pie crust chip and dip episode), I was determined to do it right this time. So I turned to my favorite no-fail recipe source, America's Test Kitchen. The secret ingredient in their pie crust is vodka. It has something to do with the gluten and the ethanol and other things that make my eyes glaze over. Oh! I almost forgot to mention the best thing about this pie: the fruit was hand-picked by me and Andy (and Oliver, who ate the rejects), fresh from the berry patch!

Blueberry Lattice Pie

A couple of observations: the recipe instructs the baker to freeze the lattice strips after cutting to allow for easier handling. Maybe my freezer's too cold, but I think this step made it more difficult, as some of the pieces broke easily despite my delicate handling. I'll have to look into other methods. Also, when I turned the temperature down halfway through the baking time, I noticed the edges of the crust looking quite done already, so I made some little foil tents and laid them over the edges, preventing further burning (big thanks to my cookbook's hefty pie troubleshooting section!).

I'm so pleased that this pie turned out well, even if it is a bit "rustic" looking. I feel like I can cross a big goal off my ever-expanding list of foods to conquer!

Foolproof Double-Crust Pie Dough
Printable Recipe
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
12 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces and chilled
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces and chilled
1/4 cup vodka, chilled (1 of those tiny bottles is exactly 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup ice water

1. Process 1 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Scatter the butter and shortening over the top and process until incorporated and the mixture just starts to collect in uneven clumps and there are no remaining floury bits, about 15 seconds

2. Scrape down the workbowl and redistribute the dough evenly around the processor blade. Sprinkle the remaining cup flour over the dough and pulse until mixture has broken up into pieces and is evenly distributed around bowl, 4 to 6 quick pulses.

3. Empty the mixture into medium bowl. Sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture. Stir and press the dough together, using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together.

4. Divide the dough into two even pieces. Turn each piece of dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Before rolling the dough out, let it sit on the counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.

Blueberry Lattice Pie
Adapted from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

1 recipe double-crust pie dough (see above or use your favorite)
3/4 to 1 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
6 cups fresh blueberries (ATK says don't use frozen!)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp grated fresh lemon zest
1 egg white, lightly beaten

1. Roll 1 disk of pie dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured counter, then fit it into a 9-inch pie plate, letting the excess dough hang over the edge; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Roll the other disk of dough into a 13 1/2 by 10 1/2 inch rectangle, the transfer to a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet. Trim the dough into a 13 by 10 inch rectangle with straight edges, and using a straight edge, slice it lengthwise into 8 13-inch long strips. Separate the strips slightly, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze until very firm, about 30 minutes.

3. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position, place a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven ti 425 degrees. Whisk 3/4 cup of the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a large bowl, Gently stir in the berries, lemon juice, and lemon zest until well coated. If the blueberries taste tart, add up to 1/4 cup more sugar.

4. Spread berries into the dough-lined pie plate. Weave the chilled strips of dough over the top into a lattice, with 4 strips going in each direction. Let the strips soften for 5 to 10 minutes, then trim, fold, and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. Lightly brush the lattice with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tbsp of sugar.

5. Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and bake until the top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees, rotate the baking sheet, and continue to bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is a deep golden brown, 25-35 more minutes. Let the pie cool on a wire rack until the filling has set, about 2 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


Maria said...

Your pie is stunning! Love the lattice work!

Maggie said...

That is Americana in one bite! Fantastic!

Pamela said...

I've never really tried to make a lattice topped pie. Gotta try it. I've heard great things about that pie crust, so I guess I have to try that, too! Beautiful pie.

Julie @ Bunsen Burner Bakery said...

Yummm. That looks GREAT. Personally, I prefer the more rustic looking pies anyway -- I feel like that's how a pie is supposed to be; ready to dig right on it!
The vodka works well in pie crusts because it allows the dough to be moist enough to roll easily, but evaporates as it bakes, so you wind up with a drier, flakier crust. You could substitute in any alcohol since they would all do the same thing, but vodka is flavorless. Pie crusts are excellent with certain flavors of alcohol -- like, blackberry brandy in a fruit pie.
I don't want to put down the cookbook you are having such great luck with, but I have never heard of freezing lattice strips before baking, and it does seem to me like that would make them more brittle. You've already rolled out the dough, so I don't quite see the point. I think you will have better luck next time weaving them at room temperature -- it's kind of like playing with play-dough, and I've never had any snap on me.
Also, you can use pie shields throughout the entire baking time to prevent the browning of crusts -- though, I generally find them to be a pain to dig out of the back of my "random stuff" kitchen drawer, and often opt without them. A well-done crust never hurt anyone. :)
Funny, now I have a huge craving for a rustic, homemade blueberry pie... but no blueberries, and no time to roll out a pie crust if I am going to make it to the gym in the morning!

(wife.) said...

Dude... I'm so proud of you for tackling that one. I'm scared of it, too. And I think your crust looks perfect - if it's not "rustic," you can't tell it's homemade! no fun that way. :-)

Jenna said...

Looks gorgeous and delicious. Please remind me how you aren't 300 lbs by now with all those delicious treats you are baking? :)

Amy I. said...

Thanks everyone!

@EthidiumBromide I knew my scientist buddy would come to the rescue re: the vodka issue. And a pie shield? I think I need one stat...thanks!

@Jenna I have lots of nice friends and coworkers who so generously take treats off my hands. I enjoy the baking and feeding other people as much as the eating. Well, that, and Weight Watchers :)

Sarah said...

Its beautiful!

Jill @ Jillicious Discoveries said...

Congrats on making your first pie! You did a great job on the lattice crust--it looks delicious! :)

Mary Camu said...

The pie was as gorgeous as it was tasty! And it was TASTY!!!! Job well done chef!

Sara said...

Yay! I love pie and have been wanting to make ATK's crust and blueberry filling. It looks amazing.

Bella Baker said...

Congrats on conquering a pie...and especially a lattice top!! I've always been afraid of the lattice top! It really looks gorgeous and you did a spectacular job!! And fresh picked blueberries, I can only imagine how delicious this pie was!

Gudrun said...

I made that same crust at Thanksgiving, and it turned out really great! Plus, it was so easy to work with, it is now on my favorites list.

There is nothing quite as special an accomplishment as pulling a successful pie out of the oven. Congratulations!

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