From America's Test Kitchen: "This recipe was developed using fresh blueberries, but unthawed frozen blueberries (our favorite brands are Wyman’s and Cascadian Farm) will work as well. If using frozen berries, in steps 16 & 17, cook half the frozen berries over medium-high heat, without mashing, until reduced to 1 1/4 cups, 12 to 15 minutes. Grind the tapioca to a powder in a spice grinder or mini food processor. If using pearl tapioca, reduce the amount to 5 teaspoons. Vodka is essential to the texture of the crust and imparts no flavor; do not substitute." Cook time includes chill times.
Foolproof Pie Dough
- 2 1⁄2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface (12 1/2 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1⁄2 cup vegetable shortening, cold, cut into 4 pieces
- 1⁄4 cup vodka, cold (see note above)
- 1⁄4 cup cold water
- 6 cups fresh blueberries (about 30 ounces, see note above)
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated on large holes of box grater
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 3⁄4 cup sugar (5 1/4 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, ground (see note above)
- 1 pinch table salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- For The Pie Dough:
- Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses.
- Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds; dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour.
- Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade; Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses.
- Empty mixture into medium bowl.
- Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture.
- With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.
- Divide dough into 2 even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk; wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Remove 1 disk of dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick.
- Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side.
- Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand.
- Leave dough that overhangs plate in place; refrigerate while preparing filling until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
- For The Filling:
- Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat.
- Using potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices. (Note: If using frozen berries, see note in recipe description above).
- Continue to cook, stirring frequently and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Place grated apple in clean kitchen towel and wring dry; transfer apple to large bowl.
- Add cooked berries, remaining 3 cups uncooked berries, lemon zest, juice, sugar, tapioca, and salt; toss to combine.
- Transfer mixture to dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter pieces over filling.
- Roll out second disk of dough on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 11-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick.
- Using 1 1/4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut round from center of dough; cut another 6 rounds from dough, 1 1/2 inches from edge of center hole and equally spaced around center hole.
- Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll over pie, leaving at least 1/2-inch overhang on each side.
- Using kitchen shears, trim bottom layer of overhanging dough, leaving 1/2-inch overhang.
- Fold dough under itself so that edge of fold is flush with outer rim of pie plate.
- Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with tines of fork to seal.
- Brush top and edges of pie with egg mixture. If dough is very soft, chill in freezer for 10 minutes.
- Place pie on heated baking sheet and bake 30 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes longer.
- Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours.
- Cut into wedges and serve.
Update: I have made this pie many times...and my only comment would be to use 7 cups of blueberries. By adding more, it just fills out the crust nicely! July 22. 2012: I found this recipe in Cook's Illustrated magazine recently. I made both the crust and the filling using frozen blueberries. This is, by far, one of the best pies that I have ever tried!! The only thing I did different was I forgo the egg wash and after the pie was cooked, I sprinkled a bit of white sugar on the crust. This was an old trick I learned from my dear MIL. The crust was fun to try out because of the vodka. Once put together, it was literally "easy as pie" to roll out and shape in the pie crust. My only comment would be that this dough could have possibly been stretched out to make 3 small pie shells. I found there was just too much dough for 2 crusts. I have a friend who has a blueberry farm and I get roughly 2 huge flats of berries each year...so I am always looking to find blueberry recipes that I can use up these frozen berries. As I have 4 large freezer bags in my freezer right now and the new season coming up, I will have my next couple of weeks shaped out for me making pies!!! If you are a blueberry fan like me, I would encourage any one to try this phenomenonal pie!!! Slice of heaven!!!