Thursday, June 09, 2005

Three-Crust Blueberry Pie

Cipâte aux Bleuets (Quebec)

This recipe is from the Time Life Foods of the World series, American Cooking: New England. If you see any of these cookbooks in used bookstores be sure to grab them. They are incomparable for both describing American food or food from around the world as well as the cultures they all derive from.

This is the blueberry pie that my family made every summer. Nothing could be simpler or more delicious. I did take a couple of liberties in adding a bit of flour to the blueberries. I like juice but this slightly thickens it. Also, I baked the pie at the recommended temperatures from the piecrust recipe.

To make one 9-inch pie

1 tablespoon butter
Pastry for a double-crust pie (use this recipe for Perfect Piecrust. It's the easiest ever and makes a ton of dough.)

6 cups fresh ripe blueberries, washed, picked over and dried between two layers of paper towels
1-1/2 to 2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 450°. Spread the butter over the pie tin. According to the instructions in the pastry recipe, roll out the pastry to make the bottom layer, top layer and, using the scraps, a middle layer of crust that measures 8" (I rolled it out and then used an 8" cake pan to cut around).

Put the bottom layer of pastry in the pie tin. Mix the blueberry ingredients gently together in a large bowl until well combined. Taste the berries to see if you need the extra half-cup of sugar or not. I always put a spoonful or two of flour in with the berries to slightly thicken the juices. Put half the berries in the pie tin.

Lie the middle layer of pastry over the berries and then cover with the remaining berries and top layer of pie crust. Trim pastry edges and crimp together firmly. Cut a 1 inch hole in the middle of the top crust. I cut a cross in the middle and turned the edges back. It was a little prettier that way.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 375° and continue baking for 35 minutes (total baking time will be 1 hour). This is a very juicy pie and I always put a couple of pieces of foil on the oven rack below the pie. Otherwise you will have a lot of burned sugary juices on the bottom of your oven ... a horrible mess.

Serve warm (although this is good for breakfast too!). the center crust, which will steam as the pie bakes, will have a dumplinglike texture and absorb some of the berry juice.

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