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Make Ahead: Frozen Blueberry Pie

August 11, 2014

This pie is absolutely delicious.  Often times, when you make a pie and freeze it to bake later, you are left with a watery filling and soggy crust.  Not with this pie.  The filling is perfectly gelled and the crust is delicious.

I altered the original recipe both in the filling as well as the crust.  I used my usual pie crust recipe, which worked out great, and adjusted the filling which originally called for dried cranberries, to include a touch more instant tapioca instead.  The original recipe also states you can make this pie with both fresh or frozen blueberries, although it will take a bit longer for the filling to break down and thicken if using frozen.  I have not tried this with frozen berries, only fresh.

An unusual ingredient is called for, and no, it's no mistake.  Apparently, graham crackers help soak up some of the juices while providing a barrier between the berries and crust allowing the crust to remain firm.  It really works and you would never guess there are graham crackers in the final product.

Make Ahead Blueberry Pie
source:  adapted from a recipe by America's Test Kitchen

Pie Crust:
12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening, chilled
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup ice water

6 cups blueberries {see note above}
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 heaping Tablespoons instant tapioca
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
2 teaspoons lemon juice {1 lemon}
1/4 teaspoon salt

4 whole graham crackers, crushed to fine crumbs

To Make the Pie Crust:
Dice the butter and vegetable shortening and return to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture.  Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix.  Add the butter and shortening.  Pulse 8-12 times, until the butter is the size of peas.  With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball.  Dump out on a floured surface and roll into a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and let dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator and cut the dough in half.  Roll each piece on a well floured surface into a 12-inch circle.  Place the first rolled dough in a 9-inch pie pan, leaving the edges hanging.  Sprinkle half of the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the crust, cover with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator.  

Gently roll or fold the second piece of rolled out dough and cover with plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator while making the filling.

To Make The Filling:
Heat 4 cups of the blueberries in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally and mashing slightly, until blueberries break down and mixture is thickened, 8-10 minutes {longer if using frozen berries}.  Mixture should measure approx. 1 1/4 cups.  Let berries cool slightly, then stir in sugar, cinnamon, tapioca, lemon juice, salt, and remaining blueberries.  Refrigerate until cool, about 15 minutes.

Transfer filling to chilled dough-lined pie plate.  Sprinkle remaining graham cracker crumbs evenly over the filling, then fold the excess dough from the bottom crust over the filling.  Brush the dough border with cold water, then arrange top crust over the pie.  Crimp the edges. 

Cut 4-6 slits in center of pie.  Allow pie to freeze until firm, in freezer, about 1 hour.

To store:  
If using aluminum or foil pan, you can wrap the entire pie and pie pan with plastic wrap, then with foil, and freeze up to 2 months.

If using pyrex, remove frozen pie from pie plate {if it doesn't lift out, leave at room temp for 15 minutes which should soften it slightly to be removed}, and wrap pie in plastic wrap then foil.  When you go to bake it, you'll be able to just set it into your pyrex pie pan.

To serve:
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Unwrap pie {place in pie pan if you had removed it from a pan when freezing it} and bake until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown, about 80 minutes. 

Let cool on wire rack at least 2 hours.


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