I’ve never made pie crust. Ever. I was the girl who would buy it in the grocery store, unroll it and bake. My mom always made good pie crust. Everyone loved her pies because the crust was always good and flakey. I just never learned.
I don’t know what made me decide to try it after all these years but I thought I finally would. I wanted to make these little mini pies that looked so cute….but I needed to learn crust in order to do so. Crust was my nemesis.
I thought I was going to lose this challenge. It was almost an epic fail. However, to my surprise, mixing the crust turned out to be the easy part. It went together so effortlessly and it appeared to turn out as the instructions directed. However, when I went to roll it out, it was like the crust was fighting back. It was sticking to everything! The cutting board, the granite, the rolling-pin, my hands…!Perhaps I was afraid to use too much flour or perhaps it didn’t go together as well as I thought…. whatever the reason, it got to the point I wanted to trash everything and quit. I almost cried.
I’m so glad I didn’t.
This being my first time in making the crust, it wasn’t pretty. I really thought it was going to taste like a big handful of flour. But it didn’t. The texture and the flavor were just like I had hoped. Flakey and light, not tough and thick like I expected. I know I have a lot more to learn with making a perfect crust, but in the end I’m glad I challenged myself. Perhaps it was a little difficult, but certainly not as hard or as scary as I thought it was going to be.
What did I learn from this? Don’t be afraid to use flour, and don’t give up. It might not turn out exactly like you had hoped but nothing ever does the first time. Practice makes perfect and I hope there will be a lot more practice with this recipe. I loved it and everyone else did too.
Mini Blueberry Pies
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 fresh vanilla pod
- 3 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes, frozen (3 sticks)
- 1 egg, beaten
- raw sugar
In a saucepan over low heat, add about one-third of the blueberries, the sugar and juice of 1 lemon. Reserve the remaining blueberries. Using the back of a knife, scrape out the vanilla seeds and add the seeds and pod to the saucepan. Stir and continue to cook until the blueberries break down and the compote has a syrupy consistency, 5 to 10 minutes.
Create an ice bath by placing a mixing bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice. Pour the compote into a strainer over the mixing bowl. Use a rubber spatula to help work the compote through the strainer. Let the compote cool until it's cold to the touch.
Once the blueberry compote has cooled, add the compote to the remaining blueberries and gently mix together to create your pie filling.
Pulse flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter, pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal (no big pieces of butter should remain.) With motor running, slowly drizzle 1/2 cup ice water through feed tube. Pulse until dough just begins to come together.
Divide dough in half. Form each half into a ball, flatten into disks. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic. Chill for at least 2 hours.
DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to soften slightly before rolling out.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside. Working with one disk at a time, roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until very thin, about 1/16th inch thick. Using a circular cutter, cut out into 16 circles.
Brush edges of 8 circles with beaten egg. Place 1 heaping tablespoon filling in center of each egg washed circle. Top with remaining circles to form 8 pies. Using a fork, crimp 1/4" around edges to seal. If desired use cookie cutter to clean edges. Repeat with remaining dough, egg and filling.
Divide pies between prepared sheets, chill for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Working with 1 baking sheet of pies at a time, score dough, forming a small X int he center of each pie. Brush tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake pies until crust is golden brown and filling bubbles out of X's, 17-20 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining baking sheet of pies.