Being good on my goal to start the pie chapter of the MB cookbook this year, I decided my first bake out of the book for the year would be a recipe from that chapter. Blueberries were on sale last week at the grocery store, so I decided to make the Blueberry Crumb Pie. “It’ll be easy!” I said to myself. “Really, how difficult could pie crust be?”
Well, it turned out to not be as easy, or as exciting as I thought.
This recipe basically has three parts: the pie crust, the blueberry filling, and the crumble topping. I will break down how each part went below. But let me warn you: yes, the easiest and hassle-free part was, indeed, the part you are all thinking it was.
Recipe Part 1: The Pie Crust
As you may recall from previous posts, I have never worked with homemade pie crust before. When I bake a pie, I’ve always used a store-bought crust, a shortbread crust, or something similar. So this was my first attempt at making my own pie dough.
I got all the ingredients ready: weighed the flour, put some water with some ice to be really cold, and cubed up the butter as quickly as possible so it wouldn’t get too warm. I even dug out the seldom used food processor. I think the last time I used it was to make a soup over a year ago! I think my first “mistake” was in mixing the butter and flour mixture together. Though I pulsed my food processor many times, I don’t think the butter got small enough. Sadly, I didn’t realize this until the dough was already rolled out.
The dough took a lot more water to come together than the recipe said it would. However, it’s currently winter in my neck of the woods. This means less moisture present in the flour, so it needs more to behave properly.
After making the dough, it went into the fridge for over an hour to “firm up.” But, honestly, I wish I was able to keep it in there longer. It could have used it. It then came time to roll out the dough. Believe it or not, this was not all that bad. Perhaps it was the flour duster I got as a gift for Christmas.
This was also where I noticed that the butter was too big. At least, I think it was.
After the dough was rolled out, I had to place it in the pie dish. Transferring it was easy, but the dough seemed too thin. As though I rolled it out to too large a size. There was a lot of excess there. The recipe called for parbaking the pie dough, so I did what the recipe said to do.
When it came out of the oven, I was disappointed. The dough shrank quite a bit. In some spots, it slipped down below the rim of the pie dish. I did freeze it for at least 15 minutes before baking, but I don’t think the dough was adhered to the glass dish well enough. The thinness of the dough may have also been a factor.
Recipe Part 2: The Filling
The easiest part of this recipe was making the filling. There was no cooking required! All I had to do was toss the washed blueberries with some lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. Once the crust was cooled, I dumped the filling into the parbaked shell.
Then, came the final step…
Recipe Part 3: Crumb Topping
By the time I got to this step, I was on a time crunch. I also just wanted it to be done! I opted to use a pastry blender to make the crumb topping rather than use my stand mixer. Sometimes, even I don’t want to set it all up for a something quick and easy. In hindsight, this may have been a mistake.
Cutting the butter into the sugar mixture with the pastry blender was tough and a lot of work. I don’t think it blended as well as it should be, but I was just so done by this point. I was still annoyed with the crust not working out as well as I’d hoped it would.
The lack of proper blending the crumb topping forced me to sometimes make large clumps of crumbs on top of the pie (See the pictures below). While overall, it wasn’t to worst looking top, it wasn’t great either.
Eventually, it was (finally!) time to bake the pie. According to the recipe, it bakes at a higher temperature for a while, then you reduce the oven for the remainder of the baking time. The large clumps of topping caused it to brown too quickly, so I had to tent it with foil. No biggie.
At the end of the day, it was a tasty pie. But it was quite involved. There are some similar recipes in the book like this one (in fact, I still have another pie crust to bake since this recipe makes two) but I’m sure they will come out better. After all, practice makes perfect.