I really actually despise hot weather.
I should also clarify that anything above 80 degrees is ‘hot’ for me.
Perhaps it’s after two decades of mum warning me not to go out in the sun for fear of tanning until I’m black as night, but mostly it’s that I’m not particularly fond of having my shirt sweat-stick to my back the second I walk into a marginally cool building after strolling outside for less than 10 minutes.
And maybe that’s more information than you wanted.
In any case, on such hot afternoons I stay indoors, sit by a sunny window – because the only thing I hate more than heat is artificial light – and flip through a book or two. All in the comfort of an air conditioned room.
But I do appreciate that warm weather means the arrival of buzzing outdoor markets, colorful greens and reds, and baskets of summer fruit.
(Okay, so, maybe I will make the trek outside if it means coming home with bags of strawberries and fresh basil, but anyway.)
I’m at my parents’ house for the moment, though today has been spent primarily on my own, as they’ve driven up north to do some shopping in the city. Faced with a lazy, hot afternoon (and the promise of a 12-qt crockpot from mum’s shopping adventure that has me much more excited than I should be), I decided it was the perfect time to bake a pie to avoid tanning and break up the emotional drainage that is A Song of Ice and Fire. So I’ve spent the past few hours making pie crust, tossing fresh blueberries, and alternating between yesterday’s Eurovision gems (earnestly lamenting the fact that we can’t participate) and Van Morrison on the stereo.
It’s been lovely.
I’ve not done a fruit pie in a long time. To me they’re like ‘once-a-season’ type of dessert, so I’ll do maybe two or three a year. Plus, I’m always weary when it comes to pie dough, having never found one that I think is just right. Still, I figured it was high-time I gave it a go.
I was, actually, planning on a cherry pie today, but upon reaching the grocery store realized that I didn’t want to spend 18 hours sitting at the table, pitting cherries, and on my solitary afternoon no less. So laziness won out, as it typically does with me, and I instead picked up a few pints of blueberries and made my way home.
Why lattice? Well, mainly because I’ve never done one before, and because I find them to be absolutely beautiful. Homey and rustic with a touch of sophistication that puts them a notch above a typical one- or two-crust pie.
Blueberry Lattice Pie
Yields one 9-inch pie
Ingredients for the crust:
- 3 1/2 cups AP flour
- 1 cup [2 sticks] butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water
Ingredients for the filling:
- 4 pints blueberries, washed
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar, depending on sweetness of the berries
- juice and zest of half a large lemon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
To prepare the crust, pulse flour, butter, shortening, salt, and sugar in a food processor until crumbly. Slowly pour in the ice water until dough comes together. Divide dough into two discs, wrap tightly with cling film, and refrigerate at least one hour.
Preheat oven to 425F and lightly grease and flour a 9-inch pie dish. In a large bowl, toss the blueberries with the cornstarch, sugar, lemon juice, zest, and nutmeg until evenly coated.
Roll out one of the dough discs to a circle about 12-inches in diameter and place in the pie pan. Fill the bottom crust with the blueberries. Roll out the second disc to the same size. If you want to do a lattice top, follow these instructions (again with the laziness). Otherwise, gently place the dough on top of the blueberries and pinch the edges with the bottom crust. Draw an X on top of the crust with a knife to allow air to escape while baking. Brush the dough with the beaten egg and sprinkle a bit of sugar over top. If the dough has gotten soft, pop the thing in the freezer for 5-10 mins before baking.
Bake for 25 mins at 425F, or until top is beginning to turn a golden brown. Lower oven temperature to 375F and bake for an additional 25-30 mins. Cool pie on a wire rack at least 2 hours before slicing. Serve with sweetened cream or vanilla ice cream.
I was actually incredibly, pleasantly surprised by the crust on this one. In fact, it may be my new go-to crust. Then again, Bon Appetit does refer to the recipe as its ‘Master Crust’ recipe, so I probably shouldn’t be as surprised as I am. (For the record, the recipe yields a two-crust pastry, so if you’ll be doing a lattice, you will likely end up with some excess dough.)
It even lived up to mum’s standards, which is quite a feat. Particularly since she never fails to inform me that I will never be a successful pastry chef with my ‘too-warm’ hands. But no criticisms on this one (and, in fact, seconds for her), so I will count it as a massive victory.
Well, except that I wish I had some ice cream on hand, but there will be all the time in the world to go to the grocery store tomorrow.
Perfectly juicy blueberries encased in a flaky pastry, staining a trail of purple on your plate and fingertips. A more wondrous sight is hard to come by.
“Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe; You ought to have seen!”