Summer means I’m done with my PhD exams so hopefully I will be able to resume posting on this blog at a decent frequency. Summer also means fruit pie, with blueberries being personally my favorite candidate for the job. So here comes a blueberries pie!
My version uses a dough that is slightly different than the traditional American pie crust, because it is sweetened with powder sugar and enriched with eggs. This kind of dough is used for a very traditional Italian tart, named crostata. This tart has a very long history: the earliest known use of crostata in its modern sense can apparently be traced to the cookbooks Libro de Arte Coquinaria (Art of Cooking) by Martino da Como, published circa 1465. The name derives from a Latin word (crustata), and the Italian word crostata appeared in the earliest Italian dictionaries starting in 1612.
Dough (9-inch pie plate)
- 200 grams all purpose flour (7 oz. or 1 3/4 cup)
- 60 grams powder sugar (2 oz. or 1/2 cup)
- 125 grams cold butter (4.4 oz or 9 tablespoons)
- 1 egg or egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons milk (for brushing before baking) and 1 tablespoon of light brown sugar for finishing
As for the filling, this dough is versatile. In Italy, you will typically find apricot or berry jam filling, but also fresh fruit. Here I have used a simple blueberry filling, with just a little sugar and a hint of lemon (I like fruit pies when they are not overly sweet o spiced).
- 4 cups blueberries
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- grated zest of 1 lemon
Start by making the crust. Combine flour and powder sugar in a bowl, then add the cold butter cut to pieces and use your fingers to cut the butter until you have very small pieces. Add the egg yolk and mix until it’s combined and the dough comes together in a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by simply mixing the berries with all the other ingredients listed above.
When you are ready to assemble and bake, heat the oven at 375°F (190°C). Take the dough out of the fridge and cut it into two pieces. Shape the dough into a disk and put it between two sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the dough out evenly in a round shape, until you reached the right size for you pie plate. Remove the plastic wrap and fit it into a buttered pie plate, trimming the excess dough form the edges of the pan. Pour the filling over the dough. Roll out the other piece of dough into a rectangle and cut it into 1-inch-wide strips to make a lattice top. Once you are ready to bake, brush the lattice top and the edges with milk and sprinkle with light brown sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes, then let stand and cool slightly before cutting it.