Honey-Sweetened Einkorn Blueberry Pie
There is nothing better than a classic American blueberry pie, especially when the crust is made with einkorn wheat. I’ve been working on a new recipe, both for the filling and for the crust, that I know you’ll be able to count on. Making pie is not necessarily difficult, but to make a good pie, you have to follow the cardinal rules, which I’ve learned at my cooking classes in Italy is not always easy for many. In fact, at our bake off, guests frequently stray from the instructions and this almost always results in failure. Please read through this recipe a few times and do exactly as indicated for the absolute best results. Don’t feel intimidated though – even a not-so-perfect blueberry pie made with einkorn will always be delicious.
Prepping for the crust
Plan ahead, at least 1 hour before beginning, to get all ingredients in the crust super cold, which will result in a flaky, not tough or crumbly, pie crust.
- In a large mixing bowl, measure the flour with a baking scale. Mix in salt and sugar (if using).
- Cut your cold butter into small ¼-inch cubes and place on top of the flour mixture.
- Place the bowl in the freezer for a minimum of 20 minutes, but 1 to 2 hours is best until the butter is very firm.
- Fill a measuring cup with water to ¾ full and place in the freezer too.
- The reason you start with extremely cold ingredients is that you will work the flour into the butter with your warm hands, roll it, crimp the edges, and in this time, the ingredients will warm up. Starting out almost frozen, coating many pieces of fat with flour, then mixing them into a dough which is rolled out, will create layers of flakes, while softened butter mixed with flour will create the crisp and crumble of shortbread.
Making the perfect blueberry filling
- The perfect blueberry pie filling has a nice mix of soft, whole fruit and syrupy juice that is neither runny nor thick and starchy.
- It is easiest to mix the fresh fruit with sugar and starch and bake raw in the pie. This allows you to create a beautiful lattice top, but depending the berries, the filling can often be runny and impossible to serve as a slice until the pie is cold.
- Cooking the blueberries before filling the pie starts the process of thickening the juice and softening the fruit, ensuring better results. The downside is that the filling has to cool completely before assembling the pie. You also will not be able to create a true lattice because the cooked blueberries will stain the dough, but you can create something almost as good. You may also roll out the dough into one piece and completely cover the top of the pie, or you can cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and place them on top of the filling.
- Although I am not a proponent of added starch in my cooking, it really is necessary to thicken the blueberry juices, and I opt for starch over flour.
How is einkorn pie crust different?
- There is nothing better than the milky flavor of einkorn and butter when baked into a flaky pie crust. However, einkorn can only absorb so much fat, so you must cut back a bit so your crust is flaky, but not greasy.
- I recently started adding more water to my crust, which helps make the dough more manageable. Because einkorn’s gluten is weak, it will never be as elastic as regular flour, but since you are not developing gluten in a pie crust, you won’t notice much of a difference.
Honey-Sweetened Einkorn Blueberry Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie
Ingredients for the crust
- 2¼ cups (270 g) all-purpose einkorn flour
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar, plus more for dusting (optional, helps the crust brown)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (170 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut in ¼-inch cubes
- 5 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons of ice cold water
- Egg yolk with 1 tablespoon milk (optional)
Ingredients for the filling
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 7 cups (875 g) fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1/2 cup (170 g) honey
- 3 tablespoons tapioca, arrowroot or corn starch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Make the crust: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. Place uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes until butter is very firm.
- Fill a measuring cup ¾ full with water and place in the freezer until it starts to freeze. Move the water to the refrigerator until needed.
- Using your hands, squeeze the butter into the flour. At first, the butter will be too firm to squeeze, but the warmth of your hands will start to soften the butter and slowly, you’ll be able to work the butter into the flour until you have flat pieces of butter covered in flour and dispersed throughout the mixture. It is important for the butter not to soften to room temperature, which might happen if you overwork the butter or your kitchen or hands are very hot. If the butter becomes very soft, place the bowl back in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Do not be concerned if you see larger pieces of butter.
- Add 5 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of cold water to the dough, and continue to squeeze the dough in your hands until it begins to stick together. This might take up to a minute, and the dough will seem dry at first. Once the dough begins to stick, dust your work surface lightly with flour, and knead the dough briefly until the flour is absorbed by the butter. (If you did not weigh the ingredients with a scale, you may have added more flour and may need more water, but only add 1 tablespoon at a time).
- The dough should weigh about 500g, so divide it into two pieces, one about 30% larger than the other (300 g). With your fingers, shape each piece of dough into a disc about 6-inches in diameter. Wrap the smaller piece in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. If the larger piece is still very cold, you may begin to roll it out. If it has softened too much, wrap it in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- On a piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll the larger disc into an 11-inch round. Invert the dough using the paper onto the pie dish, fold under and crimp the edges. Place the dish in the freezer.
- For a lattice top, roll the smaller disc into a 10 x 10-inch square. Place the dough on the parchment in the refrigerator.
Make the filling:
- For the best results, add the butter, blueberries, and honey to a medium saucepan and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the starch to a small bowl, then pour about a ½ cup of the blueberry juices (it’s ok if you add whole blueberries too) to the bowl and whisk until you have a smooth paste. Stir the starch mixture into the blueberries and cook for 5 minutes more, until the juices have thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Let the blueberry filling cool completely before adding it to the pie. To speed up the process, you can transfer the blueberry filling to a medium bowl, then place it on top of a large bowl full of ice.
- For a quick blueberry filling, add the blueberries to a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix the starch with 2 tablespoons of water until you have a thick paste. Stir in the honey and lemon juice, then mix well with the blueberries.
Assemble the pie:
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Remove the pie dish and the rolled disc of dough from the freezer. Transfer the blueberry filling to the pie dish. With a pastry wheel, cut ten 1-inch wide strips.
- For a lattice top on the cooked filling, place five paralell strips of dough, spaced evenly, across the dish. Rotate the dish so the strips are on a diagonal, the place five strips on top. The crust will shrink during baking, so cut the trim the strips long enough to attach them to the crimped edges. Alternatively, if you’ve rolled the top out to a round, you can place the dough on top, and fold down the edges and crimp. Do not pull the dough too tight. Cut a few vents into the dough.
- For a lattice top on an uncooked filling, add the blueberries to the pie dish and dot the butter on top. Place five paralell strips of dough, spaced evenly, across the dish. Counting from left to right, fold strips two and four toward you, leaving about an inch from the edge. Place one strip across perpendicularly, fold down the strips. Now, fold one, three, and five back about an inch from the perpendicular strip, then add another strip. Continue in this way for five strips, alternating the strips to fold.
- For a deeper colored crust, brush the top and sides of the pie with egg wash and dust with sugar.
- Bake the pie on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Lower the oven to 350°F, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
- Place the pie on a rack and let cool for a minimum of 2 to 3 hours before slicing. The pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day, and in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.