blueberry star pie + strawberry pie ice cream
If you aren't scrambling to make a red, white and blue dessert with stars, is it even the fourth of July? Like the basic gal that I am, I am here to deliver the sweets that will make your patriotic heart swell with pride and your blood sugar shoot through the roof. Is it even America if we aren't overindulging in patriotic gluttony and screaming "'MERICA" at the top of our lungs? This pie does just that. I did at one point mention that I am not a talented pie baker. It has taken me a very long time to get the hang of making a pie crust that is the right texture with the right amount of flake and flavor. I am not a strong lattice maker or dough braider. Though instagram would have you believe that everyone is making their damn pies this way, that is not the freaking case. This pretty star pie is exactly what I want from my pie making: minimal risk with maximum reward. It only looks like I know what I'm doing when it comes to fancy pie design but I'm over here floundering like the rest of you. Pro tip: cutting out cute shapes from pie dough and tiling them over the top of a pie makes you look like you know what you are doing. You're welcome.
With blueberry season in full swing, making a blueberry pie only makes logical sense. Plus, it's delicious. Also, they are blue. For the "red and white" part of my dessert, I made a vanilla ice cream with strawberry jam swirled in and the leftover pie dough from the star cut outs baked and folded in. It's literally pie in a scoop of ice cream. I could just eat the ice cream and be happy, but the combo of the blueberry pie plus the ice cream is what America is all about, my friends. I could go on and on about baking and blah, blah, but just make the pie. Make your friends happy. And enjoy the holiday with friends and family.
makes 2 pie crusts (I used a 9in pie pan)
600g (about 4 cups) all purpose flour
30g (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
6g (scant 1/2 teaspoon) salt
227g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced, cold
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup ice water
1 egg, beaten
turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
1 1/2 lbs. fresh blueberries
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon vanilla
Strawberry pie ice cream, for serving (recipe below)
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together flour, salt, and sugar. Place bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes. Add diced butter and egg to flour and using a pastry blender, mix until butter is in pea-sized pieces and the dough just sticks together if you squeeze it in your hand. Mix together water and vodka with ice in a small bowl. Start by adding 6 tablespoons. Mix the dough until all the liquid is incorporated. If the dough is still dry, add 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing between each addition, until the dough is shaggy and just coming together (it took me 10 tablespoons, for reference). Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until dough has come together and is no longer shaggy. Divide dough into two equal portions, press into a disc shapes, wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
Toss together blueberries with sugar and vanilla and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When blueberries have started to release juices, stir in cornstarch until very well mixed. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove dough from the fridge and flour your work surface. Roll the dough into a large circle (about 11 inches or so, and between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick), turning the dough frequently to keep it round. If the dough cracks, that's a-ok--just smush it back together with your fingertips. Gently lift the dough and place it into a greased 9in pie pan. Cut the excess dough away from the edges. Place pie pan/dough in the freezer for 10 minutes. In the meantime, roll out the other portion of dough until it is between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Cut out varying sizes of stars (save the leftover dough for the ice cream below!). I used little ones for the edge of the pie crust and a bunch of larger ones and just filled in the gaps with medium and small ones.
Remove pie pan from the freezer and pour blueberries with juices into the prepared pie dough. Brush the edge of the crust with egg wash and use that to secure your small stars around the edges. Start by placing the larger stars over the blueberries, just close enough together to touch. Fill in gaps with the smaller and medium sized stars. Brush all the stars with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place pie on a baking sheet (to catch any overflow of liquid) in the oven and bake at 425 degrees F for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for another 45-50 minutes. If the crust is getting too browned, tent with foil. Remove pie from the oven and cool completely, at least 4 hours before slicing. Serve with ice cream!
STRAWBERRY PIE ICE CREAM:
makes 2 quarts
600g heavy cream
475g half and half
2 vanilla beans, split
8 egg yolks
1lb. strawberries, tops removed and sliced
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Reserved pie dough from above
remaining egg wash from above
turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
In a small sauce pan, mix together sliced strawberries, sugar and vanilla. Cook over medium-low heat until dark red in color and strawberries are soft with any liquid looking very syrupy. Set aside and cool completely then transfer to the fridge until cold.
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Place pie scraps on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool and break into small pieces. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, mix together half and half and heavy cream. Using a paring knife, scrape vanilla bean seeds from pod and throw them into the pot as well as the pods. Warm gently over medium heat until just barely simmering. Turn off heat and set aside. Let vanilla steep for 30 minutes, then remove vanilla bean pods, squeezing all of the seeds out of them before you throw them away. Return to medium low heat.
Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl until thick and pale yellow in color. Whisk 1/2 of the warm cream mixture into the eggs taking care to whisk constantly while doing so*. Whisk egg mixture back into the rest of the cream in the sauce pan (scrape all the egg and sugar from the mixing bowl into the pan) and return to medium-low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, about 5-7 minutes.
Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl set over a bowl of ice water; let cool, stirring occasionally. Transfer to the fridge until ice cream base is very cold. Process custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once the ice cream looks like soft serve, transfer to a mixing bowl and fold in the strawberry jam and pieces of pie dough. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.
* this technique is referred to as tempering. You are gradually adding hot liquid to egg yolks to bring the temperature up slowly without turning them into scrambled eggs. If you were to immediately add the eggs to the warm cream, your eggs would scramble. The goal is to get them warm enough to be able to add back to the cream mixture without them overcooking.