Happy National Blueberry Pie Day! I love pie and I love blueberries, so this “fake” holiday is one that I can really get behind.
Before we get into all things pie, I want to fill you in on the past few weeks and why I haven’t posted anything. We were down in Florida visiting family for the Easter holidays and my birthday. I took that time to really listen to feedback I’ve received and shape the mission and goals for this blog. I bought a new notebook (not like I need more stationary…) and wrote a full blown business plan. I have a lot of work before all of my ideas come together but I’m back home now and super excited to get started. I’m not going to spill the beans on anything specific just yet but I will let you in on my mission: I believe that all people should be able to eat delicious and healthy food regardless of their allergies. It seems so simple and straight forward but I promise you, it’s not (which I’m sure you already know if you’re reading this!).
Now, let’s talk about pie! Pie is a sort of institution in my family. I think most of us would chose pie over other dessert options given the choice. My older sister even had pie at her wedding in place of a wedding cake! Liking pie certainly is not something you learn but making it, on the other hand, definitely is. We grew up with our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother whipping pie together like it was NBD, so we learned the art of pie baking at an early age almost like it was an essential skill like learning how to ride a bike. Because of that, we are all expert pie makers, something I didn’t realize was special until I started talking to friends.
Pie usually is not an allergy friendly or vegan food, sadly. Pie dough can contain butter and wheat and is brushed with egg, and the filling will often have a few dollops of butter on top to give it creaminess and flavor. BUT, all of these problems can easily be solved.
First, let’s remove the dairy aspect. My family has never used butter in pie dough. You may think it’s gross, but I’m telling you right now, vegetable shortening is the way to go. It produces an easy to work with and flakey crust and tastes pretty much the same if not better. Crisco is the most common vegetable shortening on the market but it’s made with soy, another allergen for me. I use a brand called Spectrum that is made from organic palm fruit oil. You can also use vegan butter (contains yeast) or coconut oil in it’s solid form. For the filling, simply leave out the butter, et voila, you have a dairy free pie!
Now, the egg: every pie you see that is a perfect glossy, golden brown has been brushed with egg. That’s great if you’re not allergic to egg, and you should definitely brush an egg wash on your pie if you can. But, if you are allergic to egg like me, you’re out of luck. Nothing I’ve tried works like egg to create such a perfectly browned crust. I’ve tried brushing the top with melted coconut oil, coconut milk, almond milk, grapeseed oil, and none of them work. If you know a trick then please let me know it!
If you have an allergy to gluten, substitute all-purpose flour for your preferred gluten-free flour mix.
With a few simple steps and some patience, you are going to be on your way to making pie like a pro in no time!
Pie dough is where most of my friends have claimed pie is too difficult to make or that they just can’t get it right. I promise you, it is much easier than you think. Some recipes say to use a food processor. Don’t do that. Get out your handheld, manual pastry blender and get your hands dirty! First mix together your flour and salt it a medium bowl. I use the pastry blender like it’s a whisk and just mix it all around for a few seconds. Then add in your shortening and cut it with the pastry blender until the mixture resembles a bowl of peas. To form the dough, add in ice cold water one tablespoon at a time and blend until you can form a ball. Be careful not to add too much water! The dough should not be sticky.
Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes. While it is chilling, prepare your pie filling.
I always prefer to use fresh fruit in pies whenever I can. Whoever planned #nationalblueberrypieday is not on my side, though, and did not take into account that blueberries are not in season in April so my options were either making a $50 fresh blueberry pie or using frozen blueberries. I opted for the latter.
When you’re using frozen fruits make sure to completely thaw them beforehand. I like to empty the fruit into a colander placed over a bowl so that the juices can drain and be used for another purpose. By doing this you are ensuring you will not get a runny, messy pie filling.
My blueberry pie is very fruit forward with very little added other than sugar to help bring out the sweetness. I also like the warmth of cinnamon so I add in a dash of it along with some flour to help thicken up the filling. Throw it all into a large bowl, mix it together, and set aside to macerate.
Alright, back to the pie dough! It should now be chilled enough to roll out. Remove the plastic wrap and cut it into two even pieces, setting one to the side and rolling the other into a ball. Dust your work surface with flour then flatten the ball of dough onto it and begin to roll out. I use a silicon pie mat with size guides on it to make sure I roll the dough to the proper size. This isn’t necessary but it is very helpful.
You don’t want the dough to be too thick so that it easily bakes through. I roll mine to about 1/8″ or a little thinner. To make sure the dough doesn’t stick to your work surface, flip it over about half way through, re-dusting the surface with flour.
Roll the dough onto your rolling pin and transfer to a pie plate. By rolling the dough onto your pin you will keep it from tearing and potentially having to roll it out again which will result in a tough crust.
Trim off the excess dough around the edges and use it to fill in any gaps using a little water to help it stick together. Place any remaining dough to the side. Pour in your pie filling and set to the side while you roll out the pie top the same way you rolled out the bottom.
Once you’ve topped the pie, roll together the edges of the top and bottom crust and crimp with your fingers. Cut a few lines into the top to allow for steam to escape while baking. You can create any pattern you’d like: stars, hearts, arrows, etc. Brush the top with dairy-free milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Bake the pie at 375* for 30 minutes then lower the heat to 350* and bake another 20 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown.
When the pie is done baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool for several hours before serving. The filling needs time to solidify before you cut into it. This will test your patience but you’ll be happy you waited. If you’d like to serve the pie warm, put it back into a 200* oven for 15 minutes just before serving.
If you’ve done all of this and your pie filling is still runny, it happens. Fruit can be a finicky thing! Adjust the recipe next time to have more flour in the filling or a little bit of corn starch to help it thicken.
Please let me know if you’ve tried this recipe by commenting below or posting a photo to instagram with the tag #champagneandfrites.
- 1 Dairy-free double pie crust (recipe below)
- 5 cups blueberries
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- dash of salt
- ¼ cup flour
- If using frozen blueberries, thaw blueberries in a colander for several hours to release excess water.
- Mix together blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, salt and flour in a large bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes to macerate.
- Pour blueberry mix into prepared pie plate and top with pie crust. Cut a few holes into the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking.
- Bake at 375 for 20 minutes then lower heat to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
- 2 cups flour
- ⅔ cup vegetable shortening
- 1 tsp salt
- 6-7 Tbsp ice cold water
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour and salt.
- Add in vegetable shortening and cut with a pastry blender until the shortening is the size of peas.
- Slowly add in water one tablespoon at a time until the mixture forms a dough.
- Place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before rolling out.