You’d think that I’d be really good at making pie, but until this past weekend, I wasn’t.
Historically, I’ve had a lot of problems making pies. I think it’s because I’m impatient. I don’t refrigerate the dough long enough. When I try to roll out the crusts, they either don’t budge or they get too thin and fall apart. There’s an art to making pies, and for a while, I didn’t master it. One Thanksgiving, I messed up the crust so much that I had to use store bought ones and add the filling. It broke my confidence a little.
This past weekend, I decided to take my time. It’s part of a new theme I’m rolling with lately due to my sports injury, which is, cut out all strenuous activity, take naps, and bake things. So far, it’s been great.
A key to making good pie is taking your time with the crust. I like to make my pie crusts in a food processor because it takes a lot of time to work butter into flour with your fingers. It’s fun to do once in a while, but if you have little to no patience, it feels like torture.
To make the crust, you start with some flour and then pulse in cubes of butter. You do this until the flour mixture has clumps the size of lima beans. It should look like this throughout. Then you add a tablespoon of cold water, pulsing after each addition, until the dough comes together. DO NOT overpulse. You don’t want goopy, wet dough, but you do want slightly moist dough. Repeat this process if you’re making a top and bottom crust.
Then you take the dough and work it into a ball on a floured surface. You wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge overnight. Don’t skimp on time. The longer you refrigerate the dough, the better the chance that your crust will come out looking the way you want it to.
Rolling out the dough for crusts is kind of intimidating the first time you do it. I think it’s easier if you take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit for a few minutes on the counter. Then, you lightly flour a work surface and start rolling it out. When you’re rolling it, try to work from every angle so the dough forms a wide circle instead of a rectangle.
While you’re assembling the filling, you’ll want to put the top crust in the fridge. A way to easily do this is to roll your crust back onto the rolling pin and then unroll it onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then it will be flat and ready for you once you’re done assembling the rest of the pie.
If you have any extra dough and berries, I’d recommend making hand pies. They’re so easy and they’re fun to give as gifts. I made a few and gave them to my sister.
I love the blueberry rhubarb combo in this pie, but you could sub in another fruit with rhubarb. Strawberry rhubarb is my favorite but strawberries aren’t in season yet and the ones at the grocery store look gross, so it will be a while before I make that.
Anyway, I’ll be repeating this pie recipe with different fruit fillings throughout the year. Now that I’ve nailed the crust, I feel more confident in my pie-making skills. Stay tuned for a strawberry rhubarb version of this pie.
Until then, I’ll leave you with this song. It’s me in a song.
Blueberry Rhubarb Pie
for the crust (double if you’re making two):
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (150 grams)
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
2 to 4 Tbsp ice water, as needed
for the filling:
2 cups/312 grams rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch lengths
2 cups/226 grams blueberries
3/4 cup/150 grams granulated sugar, more for sprinkling
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp quick-cooking tapioca
1/3 tsp salt
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
1 egg white, whisked with 1 Tbsp water
The day before, make the crust. Pulse the flour and salt together in a food processor. Then pulse in the cubes of butter until the mixture looks like lima beans. Pulse in the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. You want it to be moist but not wet.
Turn out the dough on a floured work surface and work it into a ball. Then flatten the ball slightly with your palm. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate, preferably overnight.
The next day, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Roll out your dough on a lightly floured work surface. Place one crust in a greased, 9-inch pie pan, and press it into the sides. Place the other rolled out crust on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Place the pie pan and the baking sheet in the refrigerator while you assemble the filling.
Toss together the rhubarb, blueberries, sugar, flour, tapioca, salt, nutmeg, and lemon juice in a bowl until the berries are evenly coated. Take the pie pan out of the fridge and fill the crust with the berry mixture, making sure that it doesn’t quite come up to the top. Don’t overfill it. Break the cold butter into pieces and sprinkle it on the fruit.
Place the other rolled out crust on top of the berries and use your fingers to pinch it together with the bottom crust. Cut off any excess dough so you have a clean edge on your pie.
Cut six or seven vents on top of the pie and brush it liberally with the whisked egg white. Don’t forget the edges.
Place in the oven and baked for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 25 minutes. At the halfway point you might want to cover the crust with a silicone crust protector (if you have one). It will keep it from getting overdone.
Right before the pie is done baking, sprinkle some sugar on top. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the filling is bubbling through the vents and the top is golden brown. Let cool completely before serving. Enjoy!