I made my first fruit pie last weekend. Oh, I've made pies before, but usually I limit myself to pumpkin and then move on to cakes and cookies. In the States, it's pretty easy to make a pie: buy pre-made crust, line pie dish, fill pie, bake. But over here, good sweet pie crust is really hard to come by, so making a pie means making pastry, and we all know how I feel about that...
Nonetheless, this being spring and all, I got it into my head that I wanted to make a blueberry pie. We invited the work girls over for dinner, and I planned a menu of Italian Wild Boar Stew with Taleggio Polenta and a big side salad, then got to planning the piece de resistance: my pie. I thought if I could just get the crust sorted, I'd be golden. And after much huffing and puffing and mess (and a premature nervous breakdown), I had what looked like a decent crust!
But that dang lattice top was no joke either... I'd thought it would just be a matter of weaving – I can do that. I did arts&crafts every summer when I was a kid! But in arts&crafts, the material you're weaving doesn't simultaneously crack and melt. That lattice top was a delicate process, and very nearly the end of me (and it was only 11am!).
Still, I persevered. And, amazingly, after much careful placing and plaiting (and even more cussing and cursing) it actually came out looking rather lovely!
The next step was easy: bake the durn thing! I can definitely do that. I egg-washed the top and popped 'er in the oven, and 45 minutes later, I had one seriously pretty pie.
It was definitely prettier than I expected.
I was kinda proud of myself ... like, so proud I took a bajillion pictures. I've whittled it down to just 137 for you:
And as far as I could tell, everyone seemed to really enjoy eating it, too. Luckily, it seems I was the only one who got a big chunk of crystallized sugar/arrowroot in her piece... yeah, that's not in the pictures... but I'd recommend either using tapioca, as the recipe suggests, or checking on amounts if you sub arrowroot. Because that was all kinds of wrong.
Still, I count it as one of my greatest successes to date. AND I even made the main dish all by myself (if you don't count the bf pulling the meat off the little bunny bones because I was too sad), including chopping the onion, which made me cry for an hour. And the stew was delish. Maybe one of these days I'll find a pic of it on my camera and write a post about the wonders of hearty Italian stews. But not today. Today is all about pie, and rightly so.
In a large bowl, with a pastry cutter, cut together:
3 cups flour
1.5 cups vegetable shortening
When the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, stir in
1 egg, beaten
5 Tbsp cold water
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
Mix it all together, gently, until combined. Divide the dough into thirds, shape into balls, and put each ball in a freezer bag. Squish out the air, flatten the balls into discs, and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
When you're ready to use one of the crusts, pull it out of the freezer and let it soften for a few minutes before flouring your surface and rolling it out, working in one-way rolls from the center outwards. Place the rolled circle in your pie dish and clean up the edges, pinching your way 'round to make it pretty.
Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Chill prepared pie dish in fridge while you put together your filling.
In a large bowl, combine:
1 1/4 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Let stand 15 minutes while you roll out your second crust for the lattice. Slice into long, thin (1/2") strips. Pour pie filling into chilled bottom crust and dot with:
1 Tbsp butter
Lay crust strips over filling one at a time, weaving them into a lattice pattern. Pinch edges to seal with lower crust. Brush with egg wash if you like, then pop in the oven (on a baking tray, if you want to spare yourself a mess) for 40-50 minutes, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling.
Serve room temperature, with vanilla ice cream or (my preference) freshly whipped heavy cream with a sprinkling of sugar and a drop of vanilla. Yum!