Blueberry season is one of my favorite times of year. In the South, we are blessed to beautiful, plump, and juicy (not to mention affordable!) berries throughout the summer months. And my goodness – doesn’t in season produce just taste better?! These berries were so delicious, I decided to treat my family to a made from scratch blueberry pie.
It was a huge hit. Everyone I shared a slice or two of pie with agreed – the berry filling was sweet, tart and so juicy, the crust was perfectly crisp and flaky and the oat topping was the perfect amount crunchy and crumbly . My son, who doesn’t typically like crust, finished his whole slice – crumble, berries, crust and all!
Ok one more thing before we get to the recipe – 3 quick tips for a delicious (blueberry) pie.
First is a secret ingredient. Besides the typical ingredients of flour, sugar, butter, salt and ice water, I used a trick from Cooks Illustrated: The Science of Cooking and added a quick splash of vodka to my pie dough! The alcohol evaporates while the pie crust bakes, creating a tender and flaky crust.
Second tip, if at all possible, make your pie dough in a food processor so the ingredients are combined quickly and evenly, without overworking the gluten or causing the butter to melt.
And my third tip, comes from a recipe I found in an older Williams-Sonoma cookbook, Essentials of Baking. The recipe called for the usual blind-baking of the crust, but then called for a tablespoon of sugar and flour to be sprinkled directly on the pre-baked crust. This helps keep the crust from getting too mushy and soggy as the berry filling cooks down and also combines with any berry juices to thicken the filling.
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed
- 3-4 tablespoons ice water
- 1 tablespoon vodka
- 4 cups blueberries
- 3 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 3 tablespoons flour, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1/3 cup oats
- 2/3 cup flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the bowl of your food processor. Give it a few quick pulses until they are combined. Add in the cubed butter. Pulse for about 15 seconds until the flour and butter start to come together. Add the water one tablespoon at a time, giving it a few pulses in between. Lastly, add the vodka and give it one last whir. As soon as the dough pulls together to form a very rough ball, turn off the processor and and transfer the dough to a silicone mat or floured work surface.
- Using the palms of your hands, work quickly to flatten the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the dough for an 1 hour up to overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- On a floured work surface or silicone mat, flatten the disk with the rolling pin. Lightly dust the top of the dough so the rolling pin doesn't stick and continue to roll out until you have a round about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish.
- Blind-bake the crust by poking several times with a fork, then placing a piece of foil on top. Fill with dried beans, uncooked rice or pie weights.
- Bake the crust for about 15 minutes then drop the heat down to 350. Continue to bake until the crust looks light brown on the edges, about 5 minutes more.
- Combine the blueberries, sugar and flour. Toss gently to coat the blueberries.
- Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of flour and sugar over the bottom of the crust before pouring the filling into the crust.
- In another bowl, combine the oats, 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt. Using your fingertips, work the butter into the other ingredients until the mixture forms large, coarse crumbs.
- Sprinkle the topping evenly over the blueberry filling.
- Bake the pie for 50-60 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the blueberry filling just begins to bubble. Let the pie cool before slicing and serving - if you can!