Thanksgiving is upon us, but this year is going to be different—I'm going to bake a pie. I've been scouring food blogs for the past few weeks and one common theme I continue to see are beautiful pies. This got me thinking... why not use the Baking Steel beneath a pie plate to improve the crust? The Steel is going to improve the cooking process on just about anything, and my most recent mission has been to show the versatility of the Baking Steel. On this attempt, I'm going to use blueberries—easily my favorite fruit inside of a crispy simple blueberry pie. I'm particularly fond of a recipe I found on Food52, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Please be sure to check out her website. She offers some clever ideas to get a huge bang of flavors! Before we get into the recipe, I want to emphasize a few things I have learned about making pies. First and foremost, the ingredients need to be cold—and I'm talking about throwing the flour, butter, salt in the freezer. I was reading a recent post by Alexandra Stafford who says her aunt is a pie master—she even tosses her rolling pin in the igloo while gathering her ingredients. So keep it cold!
The Pie Crust
I'm all about keeping it simple in the kitchen, and sometimes I find technology to be helpful. This can be done by hand, or in this case, I'm going to use a food processor. A few pulses with this instrument and our dough is ready to chill. This pie crust recipe is adapted from Alexandra Stafford at alexandracooks.com.
Ingredients 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (320 Grams)
2 tablespoons sugar (28 Grams)
1/2 teaspoons fine salt (2.5 Grams)
8 oz. butter unsalted (227 Grams)
1/2 cup ice water (114 Grams)
Get all your ingredients measured and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Using your food processor, combine flour, salt and sugar, then pulse for 10 seconds. Add frozen butter and continue to pulse until it is the size of peas. Next add ice water a little at a time until mixture starts to form. About 15 seconds or pulses later, mixture is ready. Pour out mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in two. Shape into hockey pucks and surround it with plastic wrap. Chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
1. Place your Baking Steel on the bottom rack and preheat your oven at 375 degrees F. The heating element in most ovens is on the bottom, and this will help give us a beautifully browned and firm crust.
2. Take one of your chilled discs and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Grab your chilled rolling pin from the igloo and gently roll out the dough into a cylinder.
3. Simply place dough inside your pie plate and cut the edges and crimp. (Get creative with your crimps on the edge!)
4. Grab some parchment paper and place inside the pie. Next, we're going to add some weight. Using either rice or dried beans, fill pie plate. This is going to help eliminate blistering and shrinking while we par bake our crust.
5. Launch pie plate carefully onto Baking Steel and bake for 20 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and paint some egg wash on the edges, I like to add a little raw sugar and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown.
Adapted from a recipe by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
16 oz. fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
lemon juice from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1. Take 1/4 (4 oz.) of the blueberries and place in with water; bring to a boil.
2. Whisk together cornstarch and water; put aside.
3. When the mixture boils, lower the heat and stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Add cornstarch, lemon and salt and continue mixing. Simmer for a minute or until the mixture becomes translucent. Remove from heat and gentle fold in the remaining blueberries (carefully, as not to smash and break).
4. Add blueberry mixture to warm pie shells and let rest until thickens. (I couldn't wait, so I devoured while hot...) Store at room temperature for up to 2 days.