Predictably, I got no sewing done so, nope, no new dress for Thanksgiving. Damn.
I did, however, make a successful blueberry pie. Fruit pies are on the list of things that hate me, so I count this as a genuine accomplishment. My fruit pies are notoriously weepy, and I hate making pie crust so they're always saddled with storebought crusts that taste like rawhide. Blueberry pies, for some reason, seem to be particularly finicky. My sister-in-law said that blueberry pie was her favorite, though, so we were determined to put on a good show.
One of my problems starting out is that I don't actually like pie crust. It's always supposed to be flaky and buttery, and I have never in my life liked buttery, flaky, pastry. Not croissants, not stollen, not pie crust, not phyllo, none of it. I actually prefer the softer, semi-cookie-like crusts on Kroger's bakery pies even though they're not at all what pie crust "should" be. I don't have time to reverse-engineer Kroger pie crusts, though, so we dug out a recipe for one that we remembered liking ten years ago. A friend of a friend got it from his mom, who got it in her high school home economics class.
2 cups flour1 cup shortening, chilled (we used butter-flavored Crisco)1/4 cup tepid water1 capful white vinegar (used a tablespoon)1 eggAdded: Two tablespoons sugarCut shortening into flour (and sugar). Add egg and . . . distribute. The recipe wasn't clear on how to do this without overworking the rest of the dough. Add water/vinegar until crust is just roll-able; should still be slightly crumbly. I added very little water, though, since the crust seemed almost overly buttery already. I ended up adding two tablespoons of flour and then rolling it and putting it in the pie plate before it got any warmer. Rolled out two crusts. Had a little ball left over (more about that later).
The pie filling was the basic Betty Crocker one, tweaked. This is for a 10-inch pie plate (I used a big Pyrex one).
6 cups of blueberries (3 fresh and 3 frozen but separated, in our case)3/4 cup sugar1/4 cup flour1/4 cup tapioca starch2 tablespoons lemon juice (will try some zest next time)1/2 teaspoon cinnamonpinch cloves1 tablespoon butter, cut into little bitsPreheat oven to 425 degrees.Combine dry ingredients (include lemon zest if you're using it). Toss berries in flour mixture and fill pie plate. Cut strips to do a lattice top if you want. I'm far too lazy to do a lattice and always just cut some rounds out with a bottle cap; I'm considering putting a little tiny spool handle on a bottle cap just for this purpose. Sprinkle with lemon juice and dot with butter. Seal edges and brush with an egg wash if you want.Bake 35-45 minutes. Make sure the filling is bubbling or the tapioca won't be effective.
Tips from friends suggested that my biggest problem was that I'm too impatient to let the pie cool before cutting it. Ha. But when I finally did cut it this time, the next day, it only wept a small, totally acceptable, amount:
That was it. I split the difference between flour and tapioca because I was a bit worried that all-tapioca might be gummy, but all-flour might be . . . floury. As it is, I'm A-OK with the texture of the filling, and it tastes good. It doesn't ooze but it's not gelled, either.
The pie crust is actually pretty good as far as the way pie crusts should be. I don't like it, but it's a personal taste problem, not a bad-pie-crust problem. This must be a pretty foolproof recipe because I have no idea what I'm doing where pie crusts are concerned, beyond "don't overwork them".
I had a small handful of dough left so I rolled it out, pressed it into two cups of a muffin tin, and mixed:
1 tablespoon half-and-half
1 tablespoon shredded Cheddar
(should have added salt, but forgot)
350 for 17 minutes.
These were awesome, too. They could have all kinds of fillings.