If you could have a summer pie with attitude, this would be it. The filling is a giant mountain of blueberries with a hint of apple and the crust is the kind that flakes apart when you take a bite. The filling stays with the slice of pie because of the natural pectin in the apple sauce and a tiny extra bit of citrus pectin added to the filling.
Pie crust anxiety?
Once you have gluten-free pie crust making down, nothing can stop you from being a pie-d piper. Pie crust may seem crazy difficult, but it is a simple ratio – 3 parts flour to 2 parts fat to 1 part liquid. As it goes with gluten-free baking, the ratio shifts, just a little, to accommodate how rice flours and starches absorb fat and liquids – it usually requires a bit less liquid.
While you can mix it all up by hand, the food processor makes quick work out of pie crust. The biggest mistake that folks make when mixing up pie crust is to add all the water at once – then they end up with a soggy dough, too wet to hold a shape. Add the water a bit at a time until the dough holds a shape.
The trick is simple. Add just a bit less than half the water and then a little more as needed until it looks exactly like a raggedy, crumbly ball of dough – messy, but not gooey or wet. It might even look slightly too dry. But when you gather all the dough together and give it a knead or two, it comes together nicely. It shouldn’t be terribly sticky or smeary.
You don’t want it to feel like a pile of wet sand. Have you ever baked a crust that looked pretty good only to have it dissolve like a sand dune once you start to bite into it? That’s usually because it was slightly too wet going into the pan, or the flours didn’t have time to absorb the liquids – by letting it rest for at least a few hours or even better, overnight, it turns into a cooperative dough. Even if the dough seems a bit too gooey to start – once it sits for a while (overnight) in the refrigerator it feels entirely like a different dough ball. It will be less gooey because all the rice flour and starches are hydrated.
Also, chilly dough means you can work it into shape more easily. It won’t bend as easily, but it will be easier to roll and move around. Give it a few minutes to warm up once it is placed in the pie pan, and it will bend just fine. Press to fit where it cracks or misbehaves.
Roll the top crust between sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper, a bit wider than the diameter of the pie pan and refrigerate it while preparing the filling. Once you place the chilled top crust on the pie, let it warm up for about five minutes to avoid cracking it while pinching the edges.
And always, always, chill the pie before baking so the fats can solidify which then makes it bake up nice and flaky. How do you know when it is chilled enough? The crust should feel cold and not very pliable. Make sure the pie has vents (either by creating a hole in the center of the dough or by piercing it with a knife) so the filling can release the steam and sort of bubble up and out of the vents – giving it that homey pie look.
Let it cool until room temperature and slice away. The blueberries are not overpowered by the apple, which become a subtle back note. It’s a terrific pie to start the off the berry season.
|Blueberry Apple Pie, Gluten Free||
- 300 grams Canteen Flour (2⅓ cups)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 115 grams unsalted butter, cold (8 tablespoons)
- 48 grams shortening (Spectrum solid) (4 tablespoons)
- 35 grams cream cheese, cold (scant 2 tablespoons)
- 70-100 grams ice cold water (remove ice before weighing)
- One twelve ounce package frozen or fresh blueberries
- 60 gram unsweetened applesauce (1/4 cup)
- 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
- ¼ teaspoon citrus pectin (Pomona’s brand)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 extra large egg, beaten for brushing
- Coarse sugar
- In the bowl of a food processor blend together flour, sugar and salt. Cube butter, shortening and cream cheese. Add to the processor and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like uneven coarse crumbs. Pour about 70 grams water down the chute while the processor is running and let it drip into the bowl. As soon as the dough begins to form a ragged bowl stop adding liquid.
- Place the contents on plastic wrap and knead just until all the dough comes together. Divide dough in half. Wrap and refrigerate dough for 4 hours minimum or overnight (better). Roll each half between two pieces of plastic wrap. Remove top plastic and use the other piece to flip the dough into a 9 inch pie pan (metal or ceramic for best results). Place dough between sheets of plastic wrap – roll slightly larger than the bottom and use a cookie cutter to cut a hole in the center, if desired. Refrigerate top piece between sheets of plastic wrap while preparing the filling.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl stir together, blueberries, applesauce, starch, pectin, cinnamon and sugar. Fold in zest. Place filling in the center of the pie crust making sure the pile is higher in the center than the edges.
- Using the plastic wrap (from the bottom of the crust) flip dough on top of the pie placing the cutout in the center. Remove plastic wrap. Let dough warm up for 5-10 minutes. Without stressing the dough, pinch together edges and crimp with a fork by pressing down with the tines to seal the crust. Refrigerate pie before baking for at least 15 minutes. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle generously with sugar.
- Place pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips and bake 40-50 minutes or until the crust is dark golden brown on the edges and the filling is bubbling over in the center. Cool completely on a rack and serve at room temperature.