It’s blueberry season and I had been having a craving for this Best Blueberry Pie– it’s the pie by Rose Levy Beranbaum from Food 52. Only now I have remade the recipe – Best Blueberry Pie – Mary’s Version!
The weekend before last, I was invited to my new friend Maria’s house in Bayville, NY. Her home is smack dab right on the water, the beautiful Long Island Sound. It is just gorgeous! Maria is also a recent widow like me, and has a terrific group of great friends who get together on a regular basis. They are all foodies and wine snobs, so I fit right in.
For a dinner party at her friends’ house we were tasked with bringing dessert. Maria suggested to go buy something but since it was cloudy, non-beach weather on Saturday, I suggested I make something. And I must say, this new version of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Blueberry Pie was spectacular! Everyone LOVED it – calling it the perfect dessert, not too sweet, the crust was so flakey, so many positive comments, even on the next day. I always think that if people are still remembering and talking about your food the next day, then you’ve made a real hit!
This is a masterpiece pie to look at and eat. I’m so sorry my photo was taken under the low light of the dining room table so it is not at its best. In reality, the berries glisten like jewels and I just love the fresh pop of taste with the uncooked berries.
Truth be told, this pie was made under distressed conditions in that Maria is not a baker. She did not have a pastry cutter or cloth or rolling pin cover and her pie plate was particularly deep.
This pie crust is a pretty big deviation from my normal, Mom’s pie crust recipe. But this is the ONE to keep! And I made my recipe so much easier than Rose Levy Beranbaum’s.
YOUR LOVE AS ONE OF YOUR INGREDIENTS
Remember it is always about the quality of the ingredients you use, along with the amount of LOVE you put in.
Here, I used Plugra unsalted butter, the best blueberries you can find, freshest lemons and even homemade vanilla that her friend, Glenn, had made.
For the crust, the two phases of refrigeration in the recipe are very important. These cold portions will help to produce a very flakey crust so please do not skip them.
The fried chicken dinner with broccoli rabe and a celeriac salad was all too delicious. Not only was I over-served on great Nebbiolo wines but I over-served myself on the chicken too! So good.
It was super fun to be in a different area – Long Island – to me is like another state. On Friday night we met up with the mutual friend who had introduced Maria and me, for a long dinner at a local restaurant. On Saturday morning, we met up with that same friend and her group of friends for a hike through this beautiful wooded area that used to hold all of the Gold Coast mansions with everyone’s dogs (Maria has two). One of the friends is Italian so Maria and I got to practice our ISL – Italian as a second language. So fun!
SUCH HAPPY MEMORIES
Saturday night was the fabulous dinner party. Her friends were so warm and welcoming. Most of them came over to Maria’s house on Sunday, bringing a beautiful brunch. It was a glorious beach day on Sunday, all of us full and happy, sipping on beers, tequila or Bloody Mary’s, lying in front of the LI Sound just enjoying each other and the beauty. This reminded me of my younger days, pre-children, when Steve and I would visit friends in the Hamptons, enjoying a hungover Sunday sweating it out in the sun. So now I am creating new memories.
BEST BLUEBERRY PIE – MARY’S VERSION – serves 8
PIE CRUST – for a 9” pie
8 TBS. unsalted very cold Plugra butter
1 1/3 cups bleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
3 TBS. ice water
1½ tsp. cider vinegar
1 TBS. egg white, lightly beaten
Toss the flour and salt together with a fork in a medium sized bowl.
Cut the cold butter into very small chunks by cutting the stick lengthwise into 4 quarters and then slice those quarters into ¼” pieces.
Put all of the butter into the flour mixture and using your fingers on both hands, mix and mash the butter and flour together until no chunks of butter are visible. It all has to be incorporated together otherwise you will get butter holes in your crust.
Then sprinkle on the vinegar and toss together with a fork. Sprinkle on a tablespoon of ice water, (one tablespoon at a time), toss with a fork, and repeat with the remaining two tablespoons. Your dough will now hold together and may seem a bit too wet but trust me, it is ok.
Form the dough into a thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 – 2 hours or overnight. This dough can also be frozen for 3 months for future use if you want to make a double recipe.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and if necessary, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes until soft enough to roll out. On a floured surface – pastry cloth or parchment paper – with a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to ⅛” thick and fit into your 9” pie pan, crimping the edges as shown in the photo.
Refrigerate the pie crust shell for at least one hour, with a maximum of 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Line the pie crust shell with parchment paper and weigh it down with dried beans or rice, trimming the corners of the extra parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, checking at 10 minutes to rotate the pan so one side does not get too brown (as mine did). At the 20 minute mark, lift up and remove the parchment and beans or rice. Then with a fork, lightly prick the crust all over the sides and bottom to prevent it from bubbling up. Do not prick hard and all the way through as you do not want to create holes.
Place the crust back into the oven to lightly brown completely, baking for 5 – 10 minutes more. Check it at the 3 minute mark. It should be a pale golden brown all over.
Remove the crust and cool on a rack for 3 minutes.
Separate the egg yolk from the egg white and lightly whisk the white with a fork. Brush the inside of the pie crust with the egg white. This will keep it from getting soggy with the blueberries.
FOR THE BLUEBERRY FILLING
4 – 5 cups blueberries, rinsed and dried. Save a handful for garnish.
2 TBS. cornstarch
2 TBS. water
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 TBS. lemon juice
Good pinch of salt
2 cups whipped heavy cream, lightly sweetened with 1 TBS. powdered sugar and 1 TBS. vanilla extract
Combine 1 cup of blueberries with ½ cup sugar and ½ cup water in a medium sized pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 – 6 minutes until the berries pop and it becomes nice and liquidy and starts to thicken, stirring constantly.
Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and water.
Have your fresh lemon juice ready.
Whisk in the cornstarch and water mixture, the lemon juice and salt. Simmer for a minute until the mixture becomes translucent. Immediately off heat, fold in the remaining blueberries, being sure to cover all berries with the jammy mixture.
Spoon into the pie crust, gently spreading the mixture all over.
Let the pie set at room temperature for at least 2 hours before cutting.
Just before serving whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla and gently spread in a small circle on top, in the center of the pie. Garnish with the saved handful of berries as shown in the picture.