Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blueberry Crumble Pie

Pie is a labor of love. Clearly I love myself since that's exactly who I was making this pie for. And since I was making it for myself, I decided I would combine the things I love about pie and the things I love about a crumble or crisp. P.S. I tried to figure out the difference between a crisp and a crumble and they're pretty much the same. I assume a crisp is crispier and a crumble is crumblier because they pretty much have the same topping. This should probably be called Blueberry Crisp Pie but it doesn't flow as well as Blueberry Crumble Pie. So there ya go.

I love crust. It's one of my favorite things about eating a pie. I don't like making crust though because I'm not the best at it. This crust is super easy because it's Joy the Baker's Easy No-Roll Pie Crust from her cookbook. Full disclosure: this makes a 10-inch crust while I only have a 9-inch pie plate. Now I was pleased with the results of having a bit thicker crust but you can totally make a 9-inch crust with this recipe. But because it gets pressed into the pie dish you can't make a top crust out of it. Which is fine with me because I also happen to love a crumbly, crispy oat topping. Boom boom pow.

The crust: Milk, vegetable oil (I used grapeseed), flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cream cheese, and butter. The most important thing for the crust is that everything be cold. In this case, the butter should be frozen because we're going to grate it.

 The filling: Sugar, flour, fresh blueberries, ginger, cardamom, and lemon.

 The topping: Flour, butter, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

First things first, pour the sugar over the blueberries.

Toss the berries in the sugar and let it sit at room temperature while you make the crust.

Let's get to crusting. Ew. Forget I said that. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Let it chill in the fridge while you grate the butter.

Again, you need the butter to be frozen to grate it. I held the still-wrapped part of the butter with a clean dish towel to keep the heat from my hands from warming the butter while I grated it. When you get down to the last little bit, save your fingers and cut it into chunks. Put it back in the freezer for a couple of minutes just to be extra sure it's cold.

Add the cold, grated butter and cold cream cheese to the flour mixture.

Quickly work it in with your fingers until you have pea sized lumps. With grated butter it really doesn't take long at all.

Whisk together the oil and milk. Isn't this the craziest thing?! I know, it looks a little green-ish. That's just the grapeseed oil. I promise if you use grapeseed oil instead of regular vegetable or canola oil you won't get a weird green crust.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and bring them together with a fork. Basically you want all the flour to have touched the wet ingredients at some point. It doesn't have to completely come together though because you're going to press it in to the pie plate.

See, it's still a little crumbly in places but there's no bare flour.

Dump it into the pie plate. I chilled my plate as an extra measure to keep everything as cold as possible.

Press it down the bottom and up the sides. Stick it back in the fridge while you put together the filling and topping.

 Sprinkle the flour, ginger, and cardamom over the blueberries.

Stir it together. The flour acts as a thickener and the spices just add a hint of warmth to the filling.

Don't forget the lemon! Zest the whole lemon and juice half of it. I got about a tablespoon of juice out of my lemon half. Toss the berries to coat them in the zest and juice.

For the topping, simply whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, oats, and salt.

Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the flour mixture. For once, room temperature butter is okay.

Work it in with your fingers until you can squeeze clumps of topping together. Again, leave no flour untouched.

Finally, we can assemble the pie! Pour the blueberries into the chilled crust and spread them evenly in the pan.

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the blueberries. You'll probably have a little topping leftover. Don't throw it away! Bake it up on a sheet of parchment paper and use it to top ice cream and the like. SO good. Oh and put your pie in the fridge whilst the oven heats up. This will help keep the crust from getting soggy.

Here's the baking method: Put your racks on the bottom two levels of the oven. Heat the oven to 400º and bake the pie for 20 minutes on the very bottom rack. Lower the heat to 375º and move the pie up a rack. Bake another 20-30 minutes. If the crust looks like it's browning too fast, tent it with foil or use one of those nifty pie rings that protects the crust. Obviously I should've checked mine a little sooner. You'll know the pie is done when the filling bubbles.

Lucky for me I like really brown crusts.  You'll want to let the pie cool for a while before you cut into it or the juices will run everywhere. An hour or two is usually best. And I'll be honest, my first slice was less than pretty. But the second one is what you see in the pictures, and it was lovely. If you're serving it to a crowd, you can heat your oven to 350º before you serve it and warm the (covered) pie up about 10 minutes.

Of course, what's pie without ice cream? I paired this with High Road Craft's Bourbon Burnt Sugar ice cream. If you have a Fresh Market or Whole Foods around, run, do not walk, and go grab a pint of this stuff. My favorite so far is the French Toast, but this Bourbon Burnt Sugar was so lovely with the pie. It has a creme brulée sort of flavor that plays well with the tartness of the blueberries.

I was thisclose to eating pie for breakfast. Blueberries are breakfast fruit, right? Whatevs, I'll make it my lunch dessert. And dinner dessert. But lunch dessert is smaller and doesn't have ice cream. Those are good rules, right? I'm totally doing Zumba tonight.

And then eating this pie.

Blueberry Crumble Pie (makes one 9-inch pie)

Joy the Baker's Easy No-Roll Pie Crust:
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3 tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
6 tbs butter, frozen
1 heaping tbs cream cheese, cold
1/2 c milk, cold
1/4 c + 2 tbs vegetable oil

Blueberry Filling:
2 pints fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over
1/3 c granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbs flour
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
Zest of one lemon with juice from half of it

Crumble Topping:
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c light brown sugar
1/2 c oats
Heaping 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
6 tbs butter, cut into cubes and room temperature

  • Begin by pouring the 1/3 cup of sugar over the blueberries in a medium bowl. Toss and let stand at room temperature. Also, chill the pie plate in the refrigerator while the crust comes together.
  • For the crust, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Place bowl in the refrigerator and grate the butter. Add the butter and cold cream cheese to the flour mixture. Quickly work the fats in with your fingers until you have pea sized pieces. Whisk together the milk and oil and add to the flour mixture. Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a fork until all the flour has come in contact with the wet ingredients. You may have some smaller crumbles and that is okay as long as the flour is not dry.
  • Dump the dough into the chilled pie dish and press down and up the sides. Chill the crust while you put together the filling and topping.
  • For the filling, take the sugared blueberries and sprinkle the flour, ginger, and cardamom over them. Toss to coat. Add the lemon zest and juice and toss to coat again. Set aside.
  • For the topping, whisk together the flour, sugar, oats, cinnamon, and salt. Add the butter and work in with your fingers until you can squeeze the topping into clumps.
  • Assemble the pie: Pour the blueberries into the chilled crust and sprinkle the crumble topping over the blueberries. You may have some topping leftover. Chill the entire pie while the oven heats.
  • Position your oven racks to the bottom two slots and set the oven to 400º. Place the pie on the bottom rack and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, move the pie up a rack and turn the heat down to 375º. If the crust is browning too quickly you can tent it with foil. The filling will be done when it bubbles in the center, 20-30 more minutes. Remove the pie and let cool about an hour before slicing. Serve with good vanilla ice cream (or bangin' Bourbon Burnt Sugar).

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