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Author Notes: What sets this blueberry pie apart is the inclusion of balsamic vinegar and a mix of warm spices — cinnamon, allspice, Sichuan peppercorn, Chinese five-spice, and black pepper. It isn’t overly sweet, so if you like a sweeter pie, increase the sugar to 1 cup. —An Honest Cook
- Your favorite double-crust pastry for a 9-inch pie, divided into 2 even pieces, wrapped in plastic wrap, flattened into 4-inch disks, and refrigerated for 30 minutes
- 36 ounces blueberries (two 18-ounce cartons fresh, or three 12-ounce bags frozen, unthawed)
- 3/4 cup sugar, preferably natural cane
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea or table salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon all-spice
- 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorn (ground)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- milk or beaten egg, for wash
- sugar, preferably turbinado or sparkling, for sprinkling
- Remove 1 disk of dough from the refrigerator and let soften slightly before rolling out. Roll out to 12-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Flip onto a 9-inch pie plate and press dough gently -- without stretching -- into the plate. Leave about a 1-inch dough overhang and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, roll the second disk of dough to an 11-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer to a sheet of parchment and refrigerate.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a rack in the lower third. Place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack.
- In a large saucepan, thoroughly stir together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and spices. Stir in blueberries, balsamic vinegar, and butter and mix gently. Over medium-high flame, cook filling, stirring, until it comes to a boil and juices visibly thicken to coat a spoon. Remove from heat and pour into chilled pie shell.
- Place the other round of dough over the filling. Fold the dough under itself and pinch edges together. Form a high crimped edge as a levee to prevent juices from bubbling over. Brush crust lightly with milk or egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. Use a sharp knife to slash four 2-inch vents radiating out from center of pie to release steam. Refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes before baking.
- Set the pie on heated baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is burbling with thick bubbles around the edges. If the edges of the crust start to darken too quickly, cover them with aluminum foil or a pie guard. If the top begins to brown too quickly, tent entire pie loosely with foil. Transfer pie to a wire rack and cool for at least 4 hours before serving. The pie will keep, covered at room temperature, for about 36 hours. For longer storage, refrigerate.
- To Make a Lattice-Crust Pie Proceed as directed through Step 1. In Step 2, roll bottom dough into 12-inch circle. With a sharp knife or a pizza or pastry wheel, cut ten 3/4-inch-wide strips from dough round. Transfer strips to a sheet of parchment paper and refrigerate. Proceed through Steps 3 and 4. In Step 5, weave the strips over the filling. (If you're weave-challenged, as I was, search Youtube for how-to videos). Trim dough strip overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips, pinch together, and form a high crimped edge as a levee to prevent juices from bubbling over. Brush lattice crust lightly with milk or egg wash. Sprinkle lattice with sugar. Refrigerate the pie for 30 minutes and then proceed to Step 6.