A lot of people have buckets lists when it comes to things they want to do or accomplish in their lifetimes: skydiving, running a marathon, climbing a mountain, those sorts of must-dos. Although I haven’t put together an official life bucket list (I have no desire to go skydiving, though climbing a mountain might be nifty), I do have a long-running bucket list when it comes to baking. I suppose that makes me a dreamer in the kitchen. Perhaps my still-to-be-written life bucket list should include building a dream kitchen? Swoon.
Atop that baking bucket list for quite some time has been making my own pie crust. For as much baking as I’ve done over the years, I have relatively little experience with making pie crust from scratch. Translation: I have (had) zero experience with making pie crust from scratch. My grandpa (the potato-salad-maker extraordinaire) has mastered this task, and it’s always good news when he’s bringing pies for dessert. I, however, have relied on the Pillsbury pre-made dough for far too long. Enough was enough.
This recipe for blueberry pie comes from The Essential New York Times Cookbook, and it’s another winner for sure. Although the berry mixture did get a bit too runny (my berries might have been too watery, or maybe I should have added a dot more cornstarch to the recipe), the pie crust was something to behold. Light, flaky, delicious. My guess is the lemon zest can be thanked for adding that extra something that made my taste buds all sorts of happy. Or maybe it’s my superior pie-crust-making skills. Nope, it was definitely the lemon zest.
Blueberry Pie with Lattice Top
From The Essential New York Times Cookbook (Amanda Hesser, p. 853)
For the crust
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
• 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
• 1 large egg yolk, plus 1 more if needed
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream
For the filling
• 5 cups blueberries
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch
• ¾ cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
To make the crust, put flour, confectioner’s sugar, salt and baking powder in a large plastic bag. Wrap the butter cubes in plastic wrap. Place both in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Pour the contents of the flour bag into the food processor, and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture is reduced to flakes. Add the lemon zest, 1 egg yolk and the heavy cream, and pulse five times. The dough is done if it holds together when you press it between your thumb and finger. If necessary, add another egg yolk.
Pour the mixture onto a countertop, and using the heal of your hand, smear the dough bits until they stick together. Form 2 balls, one a bit larger than the other, and flatten each into a disk. Wrap with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 3 hours.
For the filling, mix together the blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a large bowl.
Roll out the larger disk of dough between two pieces of floured plastic wrap. When it is 1/8 inch thick, remove the top layer of plastic and invert the dough into a pie dish. Peel off the plastic, gently lift the edges of the dough, and press it into the dish without stretching it out. Chill.
Roll out the other disk of dough 1/8 inch thick. Slice into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Chill the strips on a baking sheet.
Remove the pie shell from the refrigerator, and pour the berry mixture into it. Arrange the strips of dough into a lattice pattern on top. Cut the overhang of dough to ¾ inch, then roll it up and over the lattice edge to make a rounded border. Crimp the border, and chill the unbaked pie while you heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bake the pie until the filling bubbles at the edges and the crust is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Check the pie after 20 minutes; if the crust is browning too quickly, place a round bank of aluminum foil around the outside of the crust. Place the baked pie on a rack, and let cool to room temperature.
Do you have a bucket list for baking or cooking? What skills do you hope to master? What tasks have you tackled already? Do tell!