Introduction: Pi in the Sky
A delicious berry pie in winter may seem impossible, but not with the magic of frozen blueberries. Read on for instructions on how to make your own Pi in the Sky as irrationally delicious as this one - complete with a pi-neapple moon. (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)
Step 1: Ingredient and Equipment Aggregation
I adapted this recipe loosely from a Martha Stewart blueberry-ginger pie, but I substituted my favorite pie crust - Smitten Kitchen's butter crust.
Gather the following:
9 inch pie plate
small star cookie cutter
2 cups frozen blueberries (probably 2 bags, depending on package size)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup tapioca starch or cornstarch
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
CRUST (from Smitten Kitchen, with some minor adjustments)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
Pineapple ring for garnish
Step 2: Crusting
That's the technical term. Smitten Kitchen says she's over the food processor. Not being skilled with the fork or pastry blender, I'm going to have to disagree - the food processor makes this very easy. I was raised on shortening crusts, which are flakier, but the flavor of butter crust is far superior (sorry, Mom).
Fill a large cup (a one cup measure works fine, but so does a drinking glass) with water and add a few ice cubes - you want the water to be cold when you use it. In the bowl of your food processor, mix all of the ingredients *except* the water together. Pulse until the butter is slightly larger than crumbs (SK describes it as "tiny peas"). This will probably take a few pulses max. Be careful - you don't want a puree.
Dump the mixture into a large bowl. With one hand, drizzle in some of the water. With the other, start clumping the mixture together. Repeat this process until the dough becomes a cohesive mass. Don't beat it up, but do press it together enough that it's clearly one unit and not a series of clumps.
Wrap it up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. If the dough is too warm, it will be too sticky to work with, so take this business seriously.
Step 3: Filling Preparation
If the berries are not fully defrosted, defrost them in the microwave according to package instructions. Combine in bowl with sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and ginger.
Step 4: Pie Assembly and Baking
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove pie crust from refrigerator and roll out on a floured surface to fit a 9-inch pie plate. Carefully slide crust onto plate and crimp edges; save the scraps - you'll need them for decorations later. Pour filling into crust and place pie into oven. Set timer for 20 minutes.
Roll out the scraps of pie dough into one piece. Using the star cookie cutter, cut at least thirty stars (just in case) from the scraps. Place these on a foil-lined sheet and place into oven.
After five minutes, start checking on stars. Remove when stars are beginning to turn golden. When the timer goes off at 20 minutes, check the crust. If the crust is still pasty-looking, leave it alone. If the crust is golden, turn the heat down to 350, cover the pie with foil (to prevent burning - this can be done loosely), and continue to bake, checking periodically, for 40 minutes to an hour, or until the filling appears set but still a bit loose. It will set further as it cools.
Step 5: Pie Decoration
Allow pie to cool for at least 20 minutes. While the pie is cooling, cut a wedge off the pineapple ring. Blot with a paper towel. Using a sharp knife, trim into a sickle shape. Pineapple is harder to cut than one might think, so use a serrated knife or a very sharp non-serrated knife.
Arrange pie crust stars into a constellation - ideally, one representing the nonexistent Pi Constellation. Add pineapple moon and other stars as you see fit. Enjoy while contemplating the mysteries of the universe.