Bake a Lattice-Top Blueberry Pie
I love pie, all pies, but this one stands above the rest. I'm not even a huge blueberry fan, but when they are baked up in a pie shell, with just a bit of lemon, some sugar and pats of butter, I could eat the whole thing. I prefer to use fresh wild blueberries. They tend to be smaller, are just a bit tart and have a more intense flavor, but the larger variety works as well and I've baked this pie using frozen berries with great success.
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and well chilled
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon sugar (more for sprinkling over the top crust)
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground dry ginger)
Have all of your ingredients ready and chilled. If it is hot out I even put the flour in the freezer for a little while, which makes it easier to work with.
Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Add the butter.
Use a pastry cutter or your hands to work the butter into the flour, until it looks like cornmeal and starts to stick together when squeezed. You want to keep some of the butter in pea-sized pieces. If the butter is too soft and it won't stay in pieces, place the bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes and then try again.
Mix together the water and vodka and add to the flour-butter mixture. Stir this with your hand or a wooden spoon, but be very gentle. The goal is to keep the pea-sized chunks of butter in tact.
When most of the flour is coming together, gently knead the dough into a ball. It should not be perfectly smooth, but it should also not seem dry or crumbly.
Divide the dough into two pieces and create round disks. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
When you are ready to prepare the pie, roll one of the disks out on a well floured surface. If the dough seems hard, let it sit at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes. This will prevent the edges from cracking too much. You still want the dough to be chilled, so the butter doesn't get too soft.
As you are rolling, you can round out the edges with your hands. Cracking edges are part of the beast, but this will help to keep them smoother.
Once you have it rolled out to about 1/8-inch thick round, measure the dough to make sure it will fit the 12-inch pie plate. I usually just hold the plate over the dough and eye it. There should be about 2-inches of extra dough beyond the bottom of the plate.
Fold the dough over the rolling-pin to lift it.
Lift it over the plate and gently fit the crust into the plate. Do NOT trim the edges yet. Set the crust in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
Preheat the oven to 425°F, with the rack at the bottom 1/3 of the oven.
To prepare the filling, toss together the berries, sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg, freshly grated ginger, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a large bowl.
Roll out the second disk of dough to 1/8-inch thick and use a pastry cutter to make strips for the lattice top.
Pour the blueberry mixture into the chilled pie shell. Lay out strips of dough over the blueberries, about 1/2-inch apart. Fold every other strip in half and lay more strips across the ones that are not folded. Unfold the first strips over the ones you just put down. Repeat this, but alternate which strips you fold, until the whole pie is covered.
Fold the bottom crust over the lattice top, trimming any extra so it isn't too bulky.
Crimp a design into the edge. If the dough has gotten very soft while working, place it in the freezer for a few minutes before baking.
Brush the top with egg wash and place the butter between the lattice work. Sprinkle with sugar. Place the pie on a baking sheet in case the juices from the pie bubble over the edge of the pie place and slip it into the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes and then drop the temperature to 400°F and continue baking for about 40 or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. If the crust is nicely colored, but the filling isn't bubbling, tent the pie with foil.
Allow the pie to cool to room temperature and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Zoë François, author of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in 5 Minutes a Day, studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants. You can find her writing and recipe creations on Devour, on her baking blog, zoebakes.com, and on the site www.breadin5.com.