Which presents the perfect opportunity to incorporate these antioxidant rich berries into just about anything. I, under the influence of my sweet tooth, opted to use them in a dessert. I was torn between baking a blueberry pie, blueberry cobbler, or blueberry crisp. In an effort to yield the most delicious product I decided to utilize all options and bake a blueberry pie crumble. I had bought a 48oz bag of frozen blueberries earlier in the week (for $10 might I add) at Hollygrove Market – making this creation an eligible dessert for the Eat Local Challenge. At first I was weary of using frozen instead of fresh blueberries. But except for a minor issue which I will get into later, they were a perfect substitute for fresh berries. This is good news for anyone who wishes to bake with berries when they are out of season. Depending on what you use frozen berries for you may need to tweak the amount of liquid the recipe calls for, since frozen berries will add more liquid to the mix than fresh berries will. If you are lucky enough to go berry picking for the real deal, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries can be stored unwashed in your refrigerator for up to 7 days until they need to be used.
Some tips before you get started:
1) Make sure all utensils, butter, shortening, and liquid used for a pie crust are chilled. This will ensure a flaky, tender crust.
2) Do not overwork the dough. Add chilled water to dry ingredients and mix until the minute the dough forms, not a second longer.
3) Always roll dough from the center out to the edge.
4) Placing strips of aluminum foil around the edge of the crust during baking will prevent excessive browning.
For this dessert I used Paula Deen’s “Perfect Pie Crust” recipe. It’s too bad Paula Deen went off the deep end because this crust really is perfect. I know I may come under scrutiny for this, but I did substitute lard for shortening. You really can’t skimp out on the fat when it comes to some things. And I believe pie crusts, along with biscuits, fall under this rule.
Crust – I halved the original recipe since I was only making enough for the shell
– 1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
– 1/8 tsp fine salt
– 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
– 2 tbsp lard or shortening
– 6 tbsp butter, cold and cubed
– 1/4 c – 1/2 c ice water
– 6 c blueberries
– 1 c sugar
– 4 tbsp cornstarch
– 1/2 tsp lemon zest
– 2 tsp lemon juice
– 1 c all-purpose flour
– 1 c packed brown sugar
– 1 1/2 sticks butter, cold and cubed
In large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the shortening(/lard) and break it up with fingers to coat the flour. Cut in cold butter cubes using a snapping motion with your fingers. You may also use a pastry cutter if you’re not up to digging dough out from under your nails. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t get too soft. Continue until mixture is the texture of coarse cornmeal.
Add the ice water 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture forms a dough. Bring dough into ball, careful not to over mix, and flatted into disc shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Remove chilled dough and roll into circle on a lightly floured surface using rolling pin. Place crust in 9 in pie pan, cover with foil, and place dried beans (uncooked rice, or pie weight) in center and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil, reduce heat to 350 and bake for another 5 minutes until crust is lightly brown on the edges. Place on wire rack to cool until needed.
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Crush about half of the berries so the juice mixes with the cornstarch and thickens the filling. *This is where I hit the road block. Frozen berries are HARD to crush. You can allow them to thaw slightly before this step or do as I did and transport the bowl onto scorching Louisiana pavement and slave over it until juice forms.
Combine flour and sugar in a bowl. Add chopped cold butter and mix until a crumble is formed. If not using right away, store in refrigerator to ensure butter does not soften.
Fill the pre-cooked pie crust with filling and top with crumble. Cook for 60 minutes at 350 degrees, rotating 180 degrees half way through to ensure even browning. Should be aromatic and bubbling near crust when done. Serve with vanilla ice cream and enjoy! ..In moderation, of course.