This pie recipe is for you to take advantage of the last of the summer berry harvests while you can – or to come back to in the cold and dreary winter months if you’ve planned well and stocked your freezer full of fresh summer berries. If you are using frozen fruit instead of fresh in a pie, then it may help to read this article with some tips for swapping fresh fruit with frozen, so that your pie will have great results!
I made this pie while visiting my mom on Vancouver Island in British Columbia in July. My mom, sister, and I spent a sunny afternoon picking blueberries from Blue Haven Farm in Comox with a vision of this pie in our heads. It was so peaceful to spend time in the rows upon rows of blueberry bushes, picking in a relaxed silence. Nothing makes you a more appreciative cook and eater than interacting with your food in nature – seeing how and where it’s grown and then harvesting it yourself. If you have a U-Pick farm nearby, I highly recommend checking it out before the end of the season and experiencing your food directly from farm to kitchen to plate.
After we picked enough blueberries for pie, snacking, and other delicious ideas, we enjoyed homemade blueberry ice cream at the farm before heading back home, where I gave my mom and sister a crash-course in making my all butter pastry dough. The pie crust is my go-to pie dough and works especially well with any fruit pie!
If you’re a fan of citrus, I’ve included optional additions of lemon zest and lemon juice to the pie filling. I love the tartness of lemon paired with the buttery, rich pastry and the sweet berries. It’s an especially fresh and bright combination if you have less flavourful, or out of season, blueberries. If you’d prefer just a classic blueberry pie to highlight your sweet berries, then simply leave out the lemon ingredients for an equally delicious pie.
I hope you enjoy this pie recipe and make the most out of the remaining weeks of summer!
Pie Crust Ingredients:
- 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1" cubes
- 1/4-1/2 cup ice water (you may need up to 2-3 Tablespoons additional water)
- 6 heaping cups fresh blueberries (if using frozen blueberries, do not thaw the berries first)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup tapioca starch (or 1/4 cup corn starch)
- zest of one lemon (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tablespoon cream or milk
For the Pie Crust:
Cut the butter into 1” cubes and place them on a plate. Put the butter and 1/2 cup of water in the freezer to chill while you measure the rest of the ingredients.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt, and sugar until combined.
Once the butter is very cold (not frozen), remove it from the freezer and add half into the bowl with the flour. Using a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut the butter into the flour until pea-sized chunks of butter remain. Add the remaining half of the butter and continue to cut it into the flour, leaving some bigger-sized chunks this time.
Pour in 1/4 cup of the ice cold water into the flour/butter mixture and stir with a sturdy rubber spatula or a spoon to begin working the water into the flour. If there is still a lot of dry, crumbly bits of flour at this point, begin adding more ice water and continuing to stir it into the dough. This is the most variable part of the recipe because you may not need to use all the water, and sometimes you may need even a couple Tablespoons more water. Use your hand to press the dough into a rough ball and when it can hold together without dry chunks of dough scattering everywhere then you know it has enough water. Don’t knead the dough like you would bread dough, just press it together a few times until it holds. It should not be smooth like bread dough or pizza dough, and you may notice chunks of butter throughout, which is excellent – this is what will make a nice flaky pie crust.
Turn the rough dough ball out of the bowl onto the countertop and cut it evenly in half. Quickly shape each half of dough into a round disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours. You can also freeze the dough once it is made if you don’t plan to use it right away and it will keep well for 2-3 months.
For the Pie:
Preheat the oven 425°F and move rack to the lower third of the oven.
Remove one of the discs of pie dough from the fridge and unwrap it from the plastic wrap. Place it on a lightly floured counter top and use a heavy rolling pin to pound the disc even thinner before you start rolling it out. I find this helps start off the rolling process much more easily than trying to begin just rolling out a cold, thick disc straight from the fridge.
Roll out the pastry disc into a circle. I start from the center of the disc and roll up, then down, then left, then right. I will lift the disc up every now and then to make sure it isn’t sticking to the counter and if I need to even out the circle. Don’t worry if it isn’t perfectly round! Keep rolling until it is about 2” wider than your 9” pie plate.
Place the dough in the pie plate, and trim the excess dough, leaving about a 1” overhang around the edge of the pie plate.
In large bowl, stir together the blueberries, vanilla, sugar, tapioca starch, and lemon zest and juice (if using). Pour into the bottom pie crust. The crust will be very full! Mound the berries up in the middle of the pie crust like a little hill. They will sink down as the pie bakes and as the berries begin to release their juices. Dot the top of the filling with the small pieces of butter.
Roll out the second disc of pie dough in the same way that you did for the bottom crust. If you would like to do a lattice top (pictured) then use a pizza cutter or paring knife to cut the rolled out circle of dough into strips. You can make them any width you’d like to, just aim for them to be the same width. If you just want to make a regular double crust pie, then roll the circle large enough to cover the top of the pie plate and overhang about 2” just like the bottom crust.
Whisk the egg yolk with 1 Tablespoon milk or cream to make the egg wash to “glue” to top and bottom crusts together and for brushing on the top crust of the pie.
Brush some of the egg wash over the edge of the bottom pie crust; arrange the lattice strips over top, then trim off the excess strips around the edges of the crust. Pinch the lattice strips and the bottom crust together. You can use your thumb, middle and forefinger to pinch the crust into a fluted edge, or you could also use the tines of a fork to press all the way around the crust – it is completely up to you. If you make a double crust pie with no lattice, just place the second round of pie dough on top of the filling, trim away the excess dough around the edges, and then use your fingers or a fork to pinch together the top and bottom crusts. Be sure to cut some steam vents into the top crust so that it doesn’t burst once it goes into the oven (a few pokes with your paring knife will do, or you can make a pretty pattern or design).
Evenly brush the top of the crust with the egg wash. This will give the finished pie a beautiful golden shine. Sprinkle the top of the pie with coarse sugar or more granulated sugar.
Place the pie on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil to catch any filling that drips out (this will save you sooo much hassle in oven cleaning). Bake on the bottom rack of 425°F oven until top is light golden, about 16-18 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F, then bake until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 30-35 minutes. Cover the top crust loosely with aluminum foil if it is browning too quickly.
Let the pie completely cool in pan to allow the filling to set, at least 3 hours is best. If you cut into it right away, the filling will still be warm and runny. Slice and serve as is, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’ve stored this pie covered on the counter for a day or two and covered in the fridge, and both ways work just fine to keep it fresh.