I start craving blueberries in January, at the height of my inability to get them at there best. Yes, I know they are available most of the year, but nothing beats them right now, when they are at their bounciest, juiciest, and most splendid.
Though eating them straight out of the basket is great, blueberry pie is what my mind is on, always.
Nearly every summer when I was growing up, my family would take a week or so to visit my grandmother in Monterey, CA. If the timing was right, my aunt and uncle, master foragers of all things local and delicious, would take us into the wooded hills close to my grandmother’s house, and with buckets in hand, we would go blueberry picking. Whatever did not get eaten as it was plucked got taken back to the house and made into cakes, pancakes, whatever Nana could think of. And thus the yearly berry craving began.
It happens that in my neck of the woods, air conditioning is almost never needed. It gets sunny and warm, but never hot enough that opening up the windows and the back door won’t fix things. That is, until right about now. The breeze doesn’t cool off the house quite as efficiently, and kitchen stays hot a bit too long after the oven is turned off. That’s a challenge when you want to make a really pretty pie, because fiddling with the dough too much results in a sad, sticky pile of goo. Lazy-Girl Lattice is a nice solution. Shorter pieces applied with minimal handling gives you a cute, wabi-sabi lattice-like look.
Blueberry Pie with a Lazy-Girl Lattice Top
6 cups fresh blueberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. tapioca starch
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
juice and finely grated zest of one lemon (preferably a Meyer lemon)
1 Tbsp. cold butter, chopped
1 batch of double-crust pie dough, chilled (recipe below)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Roll out the first disc of pie dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Line the pie pan with the dough and trim away excess. Roll the second piece of pie dough into a 1/8 inch thick, rectangular shape. I use a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with a little flour for this part. The dough stays in place and is easy to transfer back into the refrigerator this way. Chill for 5 minutes. Using a pastry cutter or a thin sharp knife, cut the sheet of pie dough into long 3/4 inch wide strips. Cut the strips into three shorter pieces. Using the parchment paper, transfer the entire sheet of dough onto a baking sheet and allow to chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
Okay, let’s make the filling!
Pour the blueberries, sugar, both starches, salt, juice, and zest into a large bowl and gently toss together. Pour into the dough-lined pie pan.
Beat the egg with a tablespoon of water, and brush a thin layer onto the cut sheet of dough. It is not necessary to move the pieces or try to brush both sides (that will only result in another form of goo and sadness). Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top, and pop back into the fridge for another minute or two to firm the dough back up.
Starting at the edge and working toward the center of the pie, place the lattice pieces evenly on the filling. No rules here, just criss-cross them evenly over each other in whatever way looks good to you.
Press the ones on the outer edge gently onto the rim, and call it ready.
Bake on the bottom rack for 15-20 minutes. Reduce the oven temp. to 375F, bring the pie up to the middle rack, and bake for another 35-45 minutes, or until the crust is evenly brown and the juices are bubbling out. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. If you like a thicker filling that doesn’t run, allow this pie to cool completely to room temperature.
I have tried so many pie dough recipes over the years, but I always come back to this one. It is simple, delicious, as easy as can be, and uses only butter.
Nick Maglieri’s Flaky Butter Pie Dough (Classic Home Baking, Richard Sax, 1994)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
8 oz (two sticks) cold butter (unsalted), cut into 1/4 inch pieces
6 tablespoons ice water
Place flours, baking powder, and salt into a food processor and pulse to blend. Add the butter and pulse again for 2 or 3 seconds. Pour in the water and pulse just until the water is fully incorporated and pea-sized pieces of dough begin to form. Divide into two piles and gently press each pile into a ball. Loosely wrap each ball in plastic and press into a 1/2 inch thick circle. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.