ElderBlueberry Pie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 425°F/220°C
Baking Time 40 to 50 minutes

Several years ago, my green-thumbed friend and neighbor Maria Menegus, who has an enormous elderberry bush, gave me a generous supply of the berries with which to experiment. Maria had assumed that as a food writer I knew that it is necessary to cook the berries to render them edible and flavorful, but this was my first encounter with elderberries, so after tasting a berry or two, and even sugaring a few more, I found them to be so bitter I threw out the rest. The following summer I started to create a recipe for elderberry pie and this time found the berries so seedy I almost gave up, but for their hauntingly unique flavor. Then inspiration struck. I replaced some of the elderberries with blueberries to interrupt the seedy quality. No one would ever guess there were blueberries in this pie and the smaller amount of seeds provides a delightful crunch. Now, every August I look forward to the appearance of elderberries—although Maria and I have fierce competition from the birds, who also adore them.

Ingredients

Perfect Flaky and Tender Cream Cheese Pie Crust

VOLUME WEIGHT
dough for a standard double crust 9 inch pie . 22 ounces 624 grams

Filling

VOLUME WEIGHT
elderberries 2 cups 10 ounces 284 grams
blueberries 2 cups 10 ounces 284 grams
cornstarch 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon 1 ounce 30 grams
water ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (89 ml) 3.1 ounces 89 grams
sugar ¾ cup 5.3 ounces 150 grams
fine sea salt a pinch . .
lemon juice, freshly squeezed 2 teaspoons (10 ml) . 10 grams

Special Equipment

One 9 inch pie plate | An expandable flan ring or 12 inch round cardboard template | A ½ inch round pastry tube | A baking stone or baking sheet | A foil ring to protect the edges of the crust

Method

Roll the Dough for the Bottom Crust

Remove the dough for the bottom crust from the refrigerator. If necessary, let it sit for about 10 minutes, or until it is malleable enough to roll.

On a floured pastry cloth, pastry mat, or between two sheets of lightly floured plastic wrap, roll the dough into a ⅛ inch thick disc, 12 inches in diameter or large enough to line the bottom of the pie plate and extend slightly past the edge of the rim. Lift the dough from time to time and add flour as necessary to keep it from sticking. Before measuring the dough, make sure to lift it from the surface to allow it to shrink in so that it doesn’t retract when set in the pie plate. Use the expandable flan ring, or a small sharp knife with the cardboard template as a guide, to cut a 12 inch disc of dough.

Line the Pie Plate

Transfer the dough to the pie plate, easing it into place. If necessary, trim the edge almost even with the edge of the plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 3 hours.

Make the Filling

Wash the berries and dry them thoroughly on paper towels.

In a medium saucepan, stir together the cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the sugar, salt, and berries. Over medium heat, bring them to a boil, stirring and crushing the blueberries (most of the elderberries will remain whole). Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 minute until thickened. Stir in the lemon juice and scrape the mixture into a bowl to cool to room temperature.

Transfer the berry mixture to the dough-lined pie plate. Moisten the border of the bottom crust by brushing it lightly with water.

Roll the Dough for the Top Crust and Crimp

Roll out the dough for the top crust large enough to cut a 12 inch disc. Use the expandable flan ring, or a small sharp knife with the cardboard template as a guide, to cut the disc of dough.

To create a berry motif, use the ½ inch round pastry tube to cut little circles from the dough in three little clusters. (Stay within an inch diameter circle because the rest of the dough will become the raised border.) To maintain the design with no distortion, slip the dough onto a flat baking sheet, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for about 10 minutes until firm.

Place the top crust over the berry filling. Tuck the overhang under the bottom crust border and press down all around the top to seal it. Crimp the border using your forefinger and thumb or a fork. (If you did not make the berry motif, use a small sharp knife to make 5 evenly spaced 2 inch slashes in the top crust, starting about 1 inch from the center and radiating toward the edges.) Cover the pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour before baking to chill and relax the dough. This will maintain flakiness and help to keep the crust from shrinking.

Preheat the Oven

Forty-five minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack at the lowest level and place the baking stone or baking sheet on it. Place a large sheet of nonstick aluminum foil or foil lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray on top of the stone to catch any juices. Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C.

Bake the Pie

Place the foil ring on top of the pie to protect the edges from overbrowning and set the pie on the foil-topped baking stone. Bake for 20 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pie halfway around. Continue baking for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the juices bubble thickly through the holes or slashes.

Cool the Pie

Cool on a wire rack for at least 2 hours before cutting. When set, the filling will remain juicy with just a little flow. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Store

Room temperature, 2 days; refrigerated, 4 days.

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