May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Blueberry Pie

Memorial Day for most people signals the beginning of Summer, and I am no exception.  While most of you celebrated by soaking up the sun, sipping on cold beverages, and eating barbecue, I was sitting inside my tiny apartment. 

Before you feel sorry for me, though, you should know that I only wanted two things to help me celebrate the beginning of summer:

I wanted an air conditioner and I wanted blueberry pie.

I wanted to eat blueberry pie while enjoying my air conditioned apartment.

You can see why staying indoors actually was a celebration.  And anyway, I wasn't inside the whole time. Someone had to go get my air conditioner!

Saturday we went on an excursion south of Boston to Lowe's where I found the most perfect air-conditioner at an even more perfect price.  It was exactly what I needed, and I was in and out of Lowe's in under 30 minutes, which to me, is my kind of hardware store trip.  Since the A/C was the only thing on our list that day, we spent the rest of the afternoon driving up and down the South Shore with the sun-roof open and the windows down, enjoying the salty air and admiring the beaches.  We ended up at the Hingham Shipyards where we leisurely strolled in and out of shops and along the boat docks.  The weather was perfect, so we stopped for an early dinner and drinks at Hingham Beer Works.  It was a really lovely Saturday.

And I got an air conditioner!  So, bonus.

Last night, while enjoying my cool, comfortable apartment, I made appetizers, salad, chicken and potatoes for dinner; my indoor, non-barbecue version of a Memorial day cook-out.  When we finished eating we were both way too stuffed to even think about dessert, but I couldn't get the blueberry pie out of my mind.  It was calling to me.  Plus, I had a list to take care of!  At 10 o'clock I started making my blueberry pie.  I believe K's exact words were, "Are you seriously still cooking?"  What can I say, the air-conditioned air energized me.

Let's make pie!

For the filling, I combined 5 cups of fresh blueberries, some flour, some sugar, half of a stick of butter, a little salt, some lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl.  I mixed it all together then added 13 ounces of blueberry jam and mixed again. 

I used Pillsbury pie crust because I just don't have the patience or strength to worry about my ineptitude at pie crust.  Some day I will learn to make the perfect, buttery, flaky crust, but last night at 10 o'clock was neither the time, nor the place.  I know my strengths, and pie crust ain't one of them.

I rolled out one piece of the dough and laid it in my buttered pie pan, then spooned the filling over the dough.

 Then I carefully placed the other piece of dough on top of the filling and tucked it under the bottom piece.(Pillsbury pie crust comes in two perfectly rolled pieces so all you have to do us unroll them carefully and you're ready to go!)  I poked some holes in the top so the pie wouldn't explode in my oven* then baked for about 45 minutes.

*The pie did not explode per se, but the filling did leak out of the sides of it, making a gooey, sticky mess in my oven.  I'd advise you to put the pie pan on a baking sheet so you don't have to clean a sticky oven, like me.

I let the pie cool overnight and this morning I woke up to a perfectly formed, beautiful blueberry pie.  The inside isn't as firm as I would have liked, and next time I probably will cut back on the amount of jam I use, but the taste was phenomenal.

I got my air conditioner, and I got my blueberry pie.  Memorial day for me was pretty dang awesome.

Here's the recipe!

Blueberry Pie (adapted from Popular Plates Magazine)

1 package Pillsbury pie crust, or if you're a rock star pastry chef, use your favorite pie crust rolled out and divided into two equal parts.  And then please send me your favorite pie crust recipe.  And then please teach me how to make it.  Pretty please.
5 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1 cup sugar
1 pinch kosher salt
1 lemon, zested and juiced
13 ounces of blueberry jam (or less, depending on how you like the consistency of your pie)

Preheat the oven to 425 and generously butter a pie pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the blueberries, flour, butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Add the blueberry jam and mix well.

Keep the dough in the refrigerator until the very last second to keep it cold, then take one half of the pie crust and carefully unroll it into your prepared pie pan.  The sides of the crust should go over the pan.  Spoon in the filling, then carefully unroll the other half of the dough and gently place it on top.

Working around the edges, take the top piece of the dough and fold it under the bottom piece, but not around the edge of the pan.  Then take a fork and make little fork marks all along the edge of the crust, because you want your pie to be pretty.  Poke holes in the top of the crust so the pie won't explode.

Place the pie pan on a baking sheet and bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 40 more minutes. 

Remove pie from the oven and let cool completely before serving.

Hope you all had a great long weekend, and enjoy!

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