And amber waves of paint.
I’m declaring it right now: It’s the summer of pie.
Really, it’s time. Cake (read: cupcakes) needs to step aside for a minute and let pie take the key-limelight it deserves. Because pie is amazing. And in most cases, way easier to make.
Historically, (at least where I come from) the pie season tends to fall around the September-November time frame. Enter: Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie. But I think we have it all wrong. The summer months offer an abundance of fruit just waiting to be cooked down and wrapped up in a flaky butter crust. Picture this: a hot July afternoon, the sun is streaming into an open kitchen window, the birds are chirping, maybe there are even gingham curtains flowing in the breeze, and Ella Fitzgerald is singing about how the living is easy. And sitting right on the window sill is a gorgeous blueberry pie just waiting for someone to cut a big ol’ slice and top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It just doesn’t get more American than that.
With this image in mind, I am making it my goal this summer to try new approaches to classic pies, starting this week with a fresh look at blueberry pie.
Blueberry Chia Seed Pie
- 3 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4-6 Tbsp ice cold water
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp water (for egg wash)
- 3 Tbsp turbinado sugar
Blueberry Chia Seed Filling
- 2 pints organic blueberries, washed with the stems removed
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 Tbsp Chia seeds
- 3 Tbsp light brown sugar
To make the pie crust, start with half of the flour and half of the butter in the bowl of a large stand mixer with a hook attachment. Mix on medium to high speed until the butter starts to flake into small pieces. Add the sugar, salt, and remaining butter and flour, and mix on high until it resembles a course texture with small chunks of butter.
Switch to low speed while you add in the ice cold water. Add enough water so that the dough forms a ball. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of floured plastic wrap, and form it into a flat disc. Cover with the plastic wrap, and chill it for an hour or up to overnight.
In a large saucepan, combine half of the blueberries with the orange juice, granulated sugar, cardamom, nutmeg and vanilla. Cook the mixture on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a boil. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes so that the berries release their liquid.
Cut the dough in half and roll one piece of it out into a circle about 1/4 inch thick. **This is a very buttery dough so if the dough gets too crumbly, knead in some more flour, and if it gets too soft, refrigerate it for 20 minutes until it firms up. After the berry mixture has cooled, fold in the brown sugar and remaining blueberries.
Take the rolled out dough and press it gently into a 9 inch pie plate. Prick the bottom of the dough a few times with the tines of a fork. Fill the pie plate with the blueberry mixture.
Cut the dough around the perimeter of the pie so that there is about an inch hanging off of the edge. Roll out the other piece of dough to about a 1/4 inch thick, and cut it into long strips that are about an inch wide. You may need to cut some strips and then re-roll the remaining dough to get the length you need to cover the pie. Starting from the center and using the longest strip of dough, lay each piece in a cris cross formation, alternating how they weave under and over each other, leaving a small space in between each strip. Don’t worry, it won’t be perfect, and that’s okay.
Pinch the dough around the edge to seal it and fold it under to form the crust edge. Make a decorative edge using your thumb and pointer finger in opposition of your other thumb, creating a wavy pattern. Or you could press the edge using the back of a fork.
Poke a few holes around the dough with the tines of a fork and wash the top and edges with the egg wash. Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar. VERY IMPORTANT: Chill the pie for at least an hour. This will ensure that the crust retains it’s design and shape.
Place the chilled pie onto a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350° F and continue to bake for another 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
Let the pie completely cool before cutting and serving, making sure to top each slice with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream.
It won’t last long.