Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blueberry Pie for the Fourth of July

For those of you in the United States, I hope you all are enjoying the holiday weekend! I know I am! Its great to be home with my husband for the long weekend. Unfortunately, hubby is recuperating from surgery for a torn Achilles tendon so we are basically taking it easy, but I'm trying to make the time more enjoyable for him by making him some of his favorite treats.

Nothing says "summer" and "Fourth of July" more to us than a homemade blueberry pie.  My husband is a nut about blueberries and could eat them by the bucketful-- and if I can snag some away from him I try to make several pies each summer.  One of the nice things about living in Virginia is that there are a lot of great "pick your own" places around and we try to hit as many types of fruit as we can when they come in season (strawberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches, and apples) from May until the fall.  I think my husband will be out of commission for awhile this year so that might not be possible for him but he can at least enjoy this pie!

For the crust, I again used my absolute favorite crust from America's Test Kitchen.  This recipe replaces some of the water with a little bit of vodka.  If you think that sounds strange, the reason is that the vodka steams out faster than the water would, resulting in an amazingly flaky crust (aren't those America's Test Kitchen folks brilliant???) Its colorless and tasteless so its really just there to preform a chemical reaction in your crust. Its the one recipe that always give me a consistently flaky delicious crust and I've tried many-- all butter, all shortening, part butter/part shortening, using the food processor, cutting by hand, you name it.  This is the recipe you need if you want a delicious flaky crust!

Blueberry Pie

For Foolproof Double-Crust Pie Dough
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
12 tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) 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
1/4 cup ice water

In a food processor, process 1 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt together until combined.  Scatter the butter and shortening over the top and continue to process until incorporated and the mixture begins to form uneven clumps with no remaining floury bits, about 15 seconds.

Scrape down the workbowl and redistribute the dough evenly around the processor blade.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup flour over the dough and pulse until the mixture has broken up into pieces and is evenly distributed around the bowl, 4 to 6 pulses.

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.  Sprinkle the vodka and ice water over the mixture.  Stir and press the dough together using a stiff rubber spatula, until the dough sticks together.

Divide the dough into 2 even pieces.  Turn each piece of dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a 4 inch disk.  Wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Before rolling the dough out, let sit on the counter to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.

For Blueberry Filling:
4 cups blueberries
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3 tbs. cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs. butter

Mix all of the above except the butter into a bowl.  Taste and adjust ingredients as necessary to suit your preference.  Set aside while you roll out the pie dough.  

For Assembling the Pie
Roll one of the disks of dough out to fit a 9-inch pie pan.  Pour blueberry filling on top.  Dot the filling with the tablespoon of butter.  Roll out the other disk of dough and cover the filling.  If you are completely covering the  pie, cut several slits in the top to allow steam to escape.  Use a pastry brush to paint the egg wash all over the top crust of the pie including the edges.  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Cover the edges with tin foil to avoid over browning.  Bake at 375 for about 50-60 minutes.  Remove tin foil from the edges for the last 10-15 minutes of baking so the edges can brown.

Crust from America's Test Kitchen.  Filling slightly adapted from Annie's Eats 


  1. I love this crust, I've used it many times. I love telling people what the secret ingredient is, they're always amazed! Beautiful lattice crust, the pie looks delicious!

  2. Ryan that pie looks delicious. we have lots of bluberries too in the back yard right now. Thanks for that tip about the vodka, I shall have to try it - it sounds like the perfect remedy to soggy crusts. Sorry to hear about your husband's problem and I hope you manage to have a great 4th of July celebration just the same.

  3. Your pie looks absolutely perfect! I'm jealous that your fruit didn't bubble over and "stain" the crust. Hope your husband is feeling better!

  4. I've never tried this crust but this pie looks gorgeous! I love blueberries the way your husband does and blueberry pie is my 100% all time favorite.

    I'm definitely trying this crust !

  5. Ryan, Beautiful pie! I just posted a pie for the Fourth of July also! Great Minds…LOL! Your crust looks fabulous! Enjoy the Fourth! Hope your husband is feeling better and enjoying that pie! What great medicine!

  6. I just found you via Twitter, love your blog! And this pie looks so perfect, I love blueberries...perfect for the holiday!

  7. What a gorgeous pie! My hubby loves blueberry I'll have to make sure to make this for him this summer. I've heard talk of this crust...I will definitely give it a shot (pie crust is my nemesis!). Thanks for the lovely recipe~your lattice crust is perfect!

  8. Oh you have a beautiful blog! I'm signing up to follow you immediately!! Your pie looks perfect - the lattice is so pretty.

  9. What a gorgeous pie. Our blueberries haven't started to come in yet, but when they do I'll be back to try your recipe.I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  10. The crust looks perfect! I may have to try that vodka trick! Sneaky, sneaky ;) The day that I made the individual blueberry cobblers, I had blueberry pie on my mind. But, then I remembered how it would sit around my house and I would eat the whole thing lol I'm sure it was delicious!!!!

  11. Perfect recipe to celebrate the occasion. It looks lovely and perfectly baked.

  12. Whenever I make pie(although sporadically) I crumble the top since I cannot make a beautiful lattice top just the way your pie looks. I was also surprised to see vodka in the recipe. Pardon the ignorance but honestly this is my first time to see vodka as an ingredient to a crust. Thanks for sharing Ryan.

  13. Your pie is beautiful! I need to try this crust! Vodka is an interesting ingredient for pie crust!

  14. Beautiful job on this. The lattice looks perfect. Such tasty feel better food. ;)

  15. Love the lattice top...very pretty and "authentic" :-)

    I also baked a pie this though. Not a berry in site here at the moment.

    Seriously sucks about your hubby's achilles tendon.
    My brother-in-law plays basket ball, and has snapped each one twice, and then the one again a second time for good measure. But he still won't take the hint from his body and stop playing B-ball (and he is a doctor on top of it all...hmmm).

    My best wishes for a full and rapid recovery for your beau.

  16. Hey Ryan! My brother and I love to bake too. Your blueberry pie looks divine! I'll be trying the crust recipe for sure - I'm living remotely for the summer, so I'll have to get someone to bring the Vodka in! Karlin @

  17. Our husbands share their love of blueberries, Ryan. Your pie looks beautiful! How intriguing that the pie crust has vodka. Hope your husband is recuperating well from his surgery.


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