Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's a Pie Party! Blueberry Crumble Pie

So, first I made a pie crust (documented here), and then I made pie. Because even though as recently as a few months ago I was scared of pie crust, I wanted to be part of the pie party.

My friend Gina Hyams has just come out with a book called Pie Contest in a Box, and so she's made me think about pie more than I usually do. And then I read about Shauna Ahern, aka Gluten-free Girl, having an internet pie party. Apparently, thousands of people are making pies and many of them are blogging about it today. How could I resist?

I had to contemplate what kind of pie to make. Strawberries are almost gone here, and blueberries and peaches are not yet in season, though they will be soon. Rather than using non-local fruit, I decided to go for the local but frozen option--the blueberries still in my freezer from last summer's annual blueberry picking expedition.

I scoped out some recipes and relied mostly on a combination of Mark Bittman and King Arthur Flour. I decided that, despite my newfound comfort level with pie crust, I didn't want to make a 2-crusted pie. And given my love for peach-blueberry crumble and for blueberry crumble bars, it made sense to make a blueberry crumble pie.

I tossed the blueberries with sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice and a dash of nutmeg. I made my standard crumble topping from oats, flour, brown sugar, melted butter and walnuts. I topped one with the other and baked. Delicious smells wafted from the oven.

What I didn't do was wait to cut it. It was after 9 p.m., and Alex was lying on the couch, sleepy and waiting for his pie. The King Arthur Flour Baking Book said "Hold your horses." (Really.) Don't even think of cutting that pie until it's cool. But reader, I cut it. I waited until the vanilla ice cream was sufficiently soft, and then I cut it.

And lo, it was wet. Yes, my blueberry pie had turned into blueberry pie soup.

But you know, between the blueberries and lemon, the oats and walnuts, the vanilla ice cream melting in rivulets across the plate, it didn't really matter.

There was pie, and it was good.

Blueberry Crumble Pie
loosely adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, with
additional help from The King Arthur Flour Baking Book

1 9 inch pie crust (I used Melissa Clark's all-butter Perfect Pie Crust.)

5 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, picked over, rinsed and dried
1/2 - 1 cup sugar, depending on your preferences and the sweetness of your berries
2 tbsp. corn starch
Pinch nutmeg and/or cinnamon
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. lemon juice
Dash of salt

Crumble Topping
1 cup whole rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp. brown sugar
4 tbsp. melted butter
1/3 - 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
pinch salt

Note: I did not bake my pie crust ahead of time. None of the recipes I looked at called for it. However, given the soupiness of the fruit, I probably would blind bake it next time. The outside of the crust was nicely crispy, but the bottom was soggy. That might just be the way of fruit pies, but I'm going to experiment.

Preheat oven to 450.

If desired, partially blind bake pie shell. Good instructions for doing so here: Blind Baking a Pie Crust

For filling, toss blueberries with sugar, corn starch, lemon zest, lemon juice, nutmeg and salt.

Pile berries into crust.

Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, nuts (if using) and melted butter. Distribute over blueberries and pat into place.

Place pie pan on baking sheet (in case of drips). Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 F and bake for another 40-50 minutes. (I baked mine for another 45.) Cool on a rack for as long as you can stand it (longer is, indeed, better). Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


kerry dexter said...

I rarely wait for pies -- or such things -- to cool, either. I think the warm from the oven taste makes up for that. it made me smile to see your photo of the cut into pie and read the story. like the recipe too.

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