Blueberries and cardamom are a match made in heaven. Really. I first started on this when I tossed some blueberries with cardamom and sugar as a topping for homemade frozen yogurt. Slam dunk. My next experiment? Blueberry cheesecake squares with cardamom. I fed these to our neighbours and by all accounts, the squares were a home run. I tried unsuccessfully to recreate them for the blog once, but somehow it failed. I was a little blueberry-cardamomed out at this point, but lo and behold, nine months have passed and I find myself in Nova Scotia with the in-laws and the promise of jars upon jars of frozen wild blueberries, the desire to bake a pie and the need for a new idea. New vehicle for blueberry cardamom combination? PIE. Done.
I'd never made a blueberry pie before. I've really only made stone fruit or apple pies, which are much more difficult to screw up given how they break down when cooking. Blueberries introduce a whole world of juiciness which, when dealt with incorrectly, can ruin your pie. So I turned to the internet for advice and found a recipe for wild blueberry pie that called for tapioca as a thickener. How brilliant is that?! 15 minutes by car from the nearest grocery store, I asked my mother-in-law if she had any tapioca, fully expecting her to say no and that I would have to use flour. Well, she had it, so here we are.
The benefit of using tapioca versus cornstarch is simple: sometimes cornstarch can leave behind traces of flavour reminiscent of grade 5 magic mud experiments. It's subtle, but it's there. I really only use it in meringues or stirfry sauces with potent flavours. The tapioca worked fantastically well, but I decided that next time, I would reduce the tapioca to 4 tablespoons because it was a little thick. However, I later read that open or lattice top crusts aren't great for tapioca-thickened pies because they dry out a little too much, so instead I would recommend using a full pie top crust with air vents and keep to the 5 tablespoons of tapioca.
deep dish cardamom wild blueberry pie
Adapted from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style
3/4 cup unsalted butter, frozen and grated on a cheese grater
1/3 cup shortening, very cold and grated on a cheese grater (I used more unsalted butter for this)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
roughly 1/2 cup ice water, plus a sprinkle or two more if necessary
1 egg, beaten mixed with 1 tablespoon water for the egg wash, and more granulated sugar for sprinkling
Adapted from Epicurious.com
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
5 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
6 cups wild blueberries
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- crust: In a medium bowl, mix together flour, salt and sugar. Add the grated butter and shortening. Work with your hands until it resembles coarse meal. Gradually add the ice water, working with your hands until a dough forms. Divide the dough in half and form into 2 disks. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven. See note below.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out one disk to a thickness of 1/8 of an inch. Turn it as you go to ensure it isn't sticking. Gently place it into a 9 or 10 inch deep dish pie plate. Push with care along the bottom edge of the plate to make sure it's resting snugly against it. Don't stretch the dough, you should have lots of slack!
- Roll out your second disk to the same thickness. See the note above regarding the lattice top. After filling your pie, gently place the top crust over it, trim the overhang and crimp the crust. Cut in a couple of air vents.
- Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar and bake. See note below about baking temperature and times.
- Filling: In a large bowl, combine sugar, cardamom and quick-cooking tapioca. Mix well. Add the blueberries and lemon juice. Toss until everything is relatively evenly distributed (it won't be perfect). Pour the filling into the bottom crust and dot with 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Note re: baking temperature and time - The original recipe for this pie calls for it to be baked at 425ºF for the first 30 minutes and 375ºF for a further 45 to 50 minutes, with the crust edge covered in foil for the second part to prevent burning. My mother-in-law's oven is even crazier than mine, so we baked the pie for 400ºF for 45 minutes, covered the edge of the crust with foil and let it go for a further 30 minutes at 375ºF until it was really bubbling up at the sides. Yeah... I thought I was baking it at 375ºF then 350ºF, but her oven runs 25ºF hot too, just like mine! Sooo... confusion. You people know your ovens, whatever works.
- Let the pie rest for at least 2 hours before eating - I could be wrong but I think the tapioca is still doing its job after the pie comes out of the oven!