With berries in season, Bob and I keep our fridge filled with fresh blueberries. Besides tasting great, they're loaded with antioxidants and fiber, are belly friendly (1 cup has only about 85 calories) and can even help keep your memory sharp. Bonus!
Bob mixes them with Greek yogurt for breakfast. I munch on 'em at lunch. And we both enjoy blueberry sweets like this prize-winning pie after dinner.
Want to bake like a champ? It's simple with this berry-licious recipe from America's Best Harvest Pies (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., Oct. 1, 2013, $11.95). This two-crust treat puts a tart-but-sweet blueberry-raspberry filling with eight cups fruit in a made-from-scratch crust that cries "HOMEMADE" with every bite.
Day 1 - Chill out. Put 1 stick unsalted butter and 1/2 stick plus 2 tablespoons Crisco shortening in the freezer.
Day 2 - Make some dough. This is where it really helps to have a stand mixer with a pastry attachment because you can walk away while it does the work. Once you have a ball of dough, separate it into two disks, wrap each in wax paper and chill them in the fridge for an hour or overnight. Just remember, longer is better.
Day 3 - Roll, fill and bake. All that cooling time makes it easy to handle the dough. Simply dust a little flour on some wax paper and your rolling pin to prevent any sticking. Then roll out the crusts, line a pie plate with one, and return both the pie plate and the second crust to the fridge for another 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix up the berry filling and make an egg glaze by stirring an egg white with a tablespoon of water.
Then layer goodies on the bottom crust in this order:
Next, bake your creation for a total of about 1 hour and 10 minutes starting at 425 degrees then lowering the heat to 350 as described below. Once done, cool it on a wire rack for two hours or longer to allow it to firm up and become easier to dish out.
Since we're big on warm desserts, I like heating our slices in the microwave briefly before serving. But this must-try is also wonderful cold. Either way, one taste of this double-berry filling in the oh-so-flakey homemade crust will have you thinking "Masterpiece!" The only problem is, it's so good you may find it difficult returning to the little red box!!
1 large egg white with 1 tablespoon water added
1/2 cup blueberry preserves
Blend together dry ingredients in large bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Using a pastry blender, cut in fat until mixture resembles dry rice. Add egg yolk, vinegar and a minimum amount of water. Lightly toss until mixture just begins to clump together. If dough looks too dry, sprinkle on a little more water. Dough should cling together and feel pliable, but not sticky.
Form dough into a cohesive ball on a piece of waxed paper by lifting opposite corners of paper and pressing them together. Flatten into 6-inch disk for single shell, or divide in half and make two discs for double-crust pie. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or even overnight (the longer the better). Soften dough at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling out. When ready, roll out bottom crust and line 9-inch pie plate. Roll out top crust. Refrigerate both for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, combine berries. In another bowl, combine sugar, tapioca, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle over berries, add lemon juice and gently stir together. Brush egg glaze on bottom of pastry shell, then spread 1/4 cup of blueberry preserves on bottom as well. Pour filling into pie shell and dot with butter. Attach top crust either as a whole or in pastry cutouts. If using a whole top crust, poke holes for steam to vent. Brush with egg glaze and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 425°F in lower third of oven for 15 minutes. Raise rack to center, lower temperature to 350°F, and then bake an additional 50 to 55 minutes. Half-way through baking time, cover with foil if browning too much. Transfer to wire rack and cool for at least 2 hours or longer. Slice and serve. Refrigerate leftovers covered with loosely tented foil.
Author: The American Pie Council with Linda Hoskins
Other Works: American Pie Council executive director Linda Hoskins is the author of America's Best Pies. She's also been a judge for the Food Network and the Travel Channel, and was named to Baking Management's Influential 20 in both 2009 and 2011.
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
Penned: Oct. 1, 2013
What's Inside: Almost 80 award-winning recipes from the National Pie Championships. Arranged by harvest crop, these two-crust, one-crust and crumb-topped creations include apple, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, peach, sweet potato, pumpkin and other delights. You'll find everything from classics like Splendid Apple Pie to innovations like Double Strawberry Malt Shop Pie. Complete with simple instructions for making crusts, fillings and toppings from scratch, these family-pleasing ideas are great for anyone who enjoys baking.
Time Out: 176 pages
Available: $11.95 at Amazon and other book retailers
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