Why This Recipe Works
We wanted a blueberry pie that had a firm filling full of fresh, bright flavor and still-plump berries. To thicken the pie, we favored tapioca, which allowed the blueberry flavor to shine through. Too much of it, though, and we had a congealed mess. Cooking and reducing half of the berries helped us cut down on the tapioca required, but not enough. A second inspiration came from a peeled and shredded Granny Smith apple. Apples are high in pectin, which acts as a thickener when cooked. Combined with a modest 2 tablespoons of tapioca, the apple thickened the filling to a soft, even consistency. Baking the pie on the bottom oven rack produced a crisp, golden bottom crust. To vent the steam from the berries, we cut circles in the top crust with a biscuit cutter. We were happy to find that the pie held beautifully for up to 24 hours as long as we refreshed it in the oven before serving.
Active Time 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes (plus 4 hours cooling time)
Use a coarse grater to shred the apple. Grind the tapioca to a powder in a spice grinder or mini food processor.
1 recipe Foolproof Double-Crust Pie Dough (see recipe below)
30 ounces (6 cups) blueberries
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and shredded
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) sugar
2 tablespoons Minute Tapioca, ground
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 2 teaspoons juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1. Roll 1 disk of dough into 12‑inch circle on well-floured counter. Loosely roll dough around rolling pin and gently unroll it onto 9‑inch pie plate, letting excess dough hang over edge. Ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with your hand while pressing into plate bottom with your other hand. Wrap dough-lined plate loosely in plastic and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes. Roll other disk of dough into 12‑inch circle on lightly floured counter, then transfer to parchment paper–lined baking sheet; cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, place 3 cups berries in medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Using potato masher, mash berries several times to release juices. Continue to cook, stirring often and mashing occasionally, until about half of berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1½ cups, about 8 minutes. Transfer berries to large bowl and let cool completely, about 1 hour.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place shredded apple in dish towel and wring dry. Stir apple, remaining 3 cups berries, sugar, tapioca, lemon zest and juice, and salt into cooked berries. Spread mixture into dough-lined pie plate and scatter butter over top.
4. Using 1¼-inch round cookie cutter, cut hole in center of top crust. Cut 6 more holes evenly around edge of crust, about 1½ inches from edge of center hole. Loosely roll top crust round around rolling pin then gently unroll it over filling. Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of plate. Pinch edges of top and bottom crusts firmly together. Tuck overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of plate. Crimp dough evenly around edge of plate using your fingers.
5. Brush surface with beaten egg white. Place pie on prepared sheet and bake until crust is light golden brown, about 25 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, rotate baking sheet, and continue to bake until juices are bubbling and crust is deep golden brown, 35 to 50 minutes. Let pie cool on wire rack for 4 hours before serving.
To Make Ahead
- Unbaked pie, prepared through step 4, can be frozen until firm, then wrapped in double layer of plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil and frozen for up to 2 weeks; to bake, continue with step 5, increasing baking time at 350 degrees to 45 to 55 minutes
- Baked pie can be held at room temperature for up to 8 hours or refrigerated for up to 24 hours; to serve, refresh in 350 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes (crust will be less crisp)