blueberry rye slab
May 28, 2015 § 59 Comments
A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to get the hang of making a good pie crust. Both fruity & savory pies are at the top of of my favorites list and there is no excuse for bringing home store-bought pie crust. Crumbles, cobblers and pretty much any fruity baked dessert that doesn’t involve a combination of butter, flour, icy cold water and refrigeration for a period of time are put together with ease, but no, not pie crust. Not for me anyway.
I mix my pie crust by hand and just for practice I made four pies in the past two weeks; two savory pies and two blueberry slabs. Yes, I made this slab twice in two weeks. It is that good.
The slabs turned out beautifully. The crust was perfect. Flaky, buttery, it easily rolled out to a perfect thickness and it held the juices in. Both the rye flour and the apple cider vinegar added a twinge of sourness which contrasted well with the sweet blueberries. I just love a rustic looking pie. And this held together well enough to eat without using a plate or fork. You can pick up the squares and eat them as you would a hand pie.
I still need a lot of practice but this blueberry slab was simple enough for a novice pie maker. If you have any tips on making pie crust you would like to share, please do, I can use all the help I can get.
I took this Food52 recipe and reworked the filling by leaving out a large amount of sugar, ginger, lemon zest, salt and flour.
Recipe adapted from Food52 by Yossy Arefi.
- 1- 1/8 cup (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 – 1/8 cup (9 ounces) rye flour
- 2 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 to 12 tablespoons ice water
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
To make the crust, combine the flours and salt in a bowl. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut half of the butter into the flour until it is the size of peas, then cut in the other half until it is the size lima beans. Some of the butter will be completely worked into the flour, but you should have lots of visible pieces of butter in the dough, too. Add the apple cider vinegar to the water and make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Use a gentle hand or wooden spoon to mix about 8 tablespoons of water into the flour until just combined. If the dough seems very dry, add more water a couple of teaspoons at a time. You have added enough water when you can pick up a handful of the dough and squeeze it together without it falling apart. Press the dough together, then split it in half, form into discs, and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for at least one hour before using, or overnight.
- 5 cups blueberries, about 2 1/2 pints
- 1/8 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 1 egg for egg wash
- 3 tablespoons crunchy sugar to finish
Preheat oven to 400º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Gently toss the blueberries, sugar and vanilla bean seeds in a bowl until well combined.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough into a roughly 8- by 12-inch rectangle, 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Gently move the dough to the prepared baking sheet and put the whole thing in the fridge. Roll out the other piece of dough to roughly the same size, erring larger rather than smaller, and set it aside for a moment.
Remove the dough from the fridge and pour the blueberry mixture on top, leaving a generous border of at least 1 1/2 inches around the edges.
To make a lattice top, cut the remaining dough sheet into 1-inch strips and starting from the top left corner of the pie, lay one strip of dough horizontally and one strip vertically, so that the horizontal strip is on the bottom. Lay a second horizontal strip about 1/2 inch below the top strip so that it overlaps the vertical strip. Fold the top horizontal strip to the left and lay another vertical strip about 1/2 inch to the right of the first one. Next, fold the top horizontal strip back over it. This way, the second vertical strip will go underneath the top horizontal strip and over top of the second horizontal strip. Fold the first vertical strip up and lay down a third horizontal strip. Fold the vertical strip back down. Next, fold the second horizontal strip to the left and place a third vertical strip. Fold the horizontal strip back over the pie. Fold the middle vertical strip up and lay down the fourth horizontal strip. Fold the top and third horizontal strip to the left and place a fourth vertical strip. Continue until all strips are used and the top of the pie is covered. You may have to piece some scraps together to make the last few strips of dough. Fold the bottom crust up and over the top of the pie and press firmly with a fork to seal.
Put the baking sheet into the refrigerator or freezer until the crust is very firm. When you are ready to bake, brush the top of the pie with a beaten egg and generously sprinkle it with sugar. Bake the pie until the crust is deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool slightly before cutting.
Note: Be prepared; a lattice-topped pie will probably leak, so do not forget to line your pan with parchment paper.
Doesn’t look like a novice pie crust to me! Love the rustic quality to the slab pie and that adorable vintage tea towel in the picture. Your home must have smelled divine with all these pies baking in the last 2 weeks!
Yes! The house smells so wonderful with pies in the oven. I love it! I found it interesting how my pie crust turn out so much better if I keep it rustic, like a galette or this slab. Don’t know why I can not seem to pull off a good looking fluted pie crust. I’m determined to figure it out though!
I love slab pie and really love the addition of rye flour in your pastry dough. The pie looks incredible and delicious.
I found dark rye flour and have used it a couple of time now. It certainly has a wonderful flavor. It figures I’d enjoy it because I really enjoy a rye whiskey too! :)
What splendid timing as yesterday I bought 2lbs of blueberries because seriously at $3 I couldn’t NOT buy them but ever since have been in a total tizz as to what to do with them besides the usual smoothie – your slab sounds perfect – and DIVINE! ;)
That’s great! Blueberries are in season! I’ve been buying them too and for the same reason…smoothies. My daily smoothie these days consist of blueberries, coconut water and a tablespoon of almond butter. That’s breakfast. Seriously hope you make a slab…it’s wonderful and the presentation is so unpretentious. :)
This pie looks rustically gorgeous. Just the way I like them!
Me too… I think it’s due to the fact I am only able to create a rustic pie! :) I have tried and tried to put together a a fluted shell and I’m always having some sort of an issue with it. I just have to keep trying though…
Isn’t that lovely!
Thanks Valerie! :)
I’ll take a piece – looks luscious.
Wish I could sit and have a piece with you Jovina. I’m sure we could talk for hours about Italian food. :)
This looks like a great summertime dessert! Thanks for sharing! :)
Thank you Linda, it is a wonderful summertime dessert…especially if a scoop of vanilla ice cream is on the side. Heavenly.
Very nice slab pie. I like the use of rye flour in the recipe and will give it a try. One tip I use is make sure everything is chilled before mixing the pastry – including the flour.
Good Idea! I’ll try chilling the flour before mixing next time…thank you! :) What I’m finding is the ingredients really need to stay cold. I mix my crust by hand so maybe I need to chill my hands too! :)
I use my hands too, so when I have the time I chill it a couple of times before it is ready. I also use my rolling pin and fold it up rather than too much working with the hands. Sort of like making croissants!
I tend to get into bother with the latticework. I’m like a kid tying his shoes. Lovely pie.
You should have seen the first lattice slab I made. Apparently I didn’t pay attention to the lattice work at all and it looked like a kindergartener trying to make one of those paper placemats. And I didn’t even notice it until I saw the photographs! Dumb.
The camera rarely lies!
Great looking pie, rustic is good, it says made by a real cook, not a machine!!!😉
Sometimes I wish I had a pie making machine. :) No, not really, but I am determined to turn out a good crust. Of the four pies I made in the past two weeks I actually tossed one in the compost. I was not happy at all. It kept crumbling into bits as I was trying to roll it out. And I had the filling ready to go. Ahhh, live and learn.
Using any flour other then wheat flour to make pastry instantly makes it more temperamental. I’ve found that rolling it out between 2 sheets of baking paper helps when having to move and position the pastry, also i’ve been known to do away with the rolling pin and just pat it into the shape I want. I’m about to try out pastry with zero wheat flour, wish me luck!!
Impressive! I haven’t bought rye flour in ages as I didn’t use up the last lot. Hadn’t even thought of using it in pastry. Tell me, does your pastry shrink? Maybe it’s because my flat is so damp, but every time I make pastry with water it’ll cause the pastry to shrink – badly. And I’m wondering exactly what the vinegar does. In cakes I think it gives it more lift. I wonder if pastry is flakier because of it. Huh, will have to try it!
Interesting you should ask about shrinking because when I use store-bought pre-made pastry it shrinks! So much that you can not even see it around the edges sometimes. Regarding the vinegar, I searched around a little and found this ” Vinegar helps tenderize pie dough because it slightly inhibits gluten development, leading to a crust that is flakier and easier to work with” which make sense because two of the four crust I made were with vinegar and I felt they were much easier to work with. Don’t know why this is so difficult for me. I tossed one of the crust in the compost because it kept crumbling when I was rolling it out. I’m wondering if making crust by hand is the problem. I thought about buying a pastry cutter to see if that helps. I’ll keep trying…
We are blogging on the same tangent today Seana. I made mini hand pies today with Apple filling and chocolate filling. I too add vinegar to my dough for extra flakiness and crisp texture. Love that blueberry slab.
Oooo. I love hand pies! This slab cut so well you could eat it by hand. Adding vinegar to the dough was a new concept for me and I’m thinking it may be a little secret to ease the handling a little. I’m heading over to see your post but do you make your dough by hand too?
Gorgeous slab pie! You look like an expert to me :)
Thank you! What a nice comment. :)
That golden, glossy crust is to die for Seana! I’m intrigued by the vinegar as well, though I’ve also heard of using vodka in pie crusts – perhaps they work in a similar way? I have blueberries in the freezer… guess what I’m off to make today! :o) Have a great weekend. M.xx
Oh good news! Please do report back if you make it. I have heard of using vodka in the crust and I imagine it is for the same reason. The original rye slab recipe calls for grated ginger, flour and sugar in the filling. I only added a small amount of sugar and vanilla and thought it was perfect. I just couldn’t imagine ginger with blueberries, but maybe it’s delicious! Hope you have a fine weekend too. :)
Love the way your rustic pie crust looks, that to me would smell and scream homemade. I have heard about adding vinegar to dough to make it more flaky, have not tried yet. Have a great week-end!
Oh my goodness Cheri…it’s so nice to hear from you this evening! Thank you so much for stopping in. It’s been too long since I have visited your blog. I seem to get stuck on the wordpress reader and don’t venture too far from it. :) I’m headed your way to check in and see what you have been up to lately.
Your slab pie looks delicious. I will tell a friend of mine that loves to make pie about the vinegar or vodka and adding rye flour. What a great tip. Thank you!
Thank you very much! I think I’ll stick with the idea of using vinegar in the dough because after comparing the crust I made without it I realized how much easier it was to handle. Thanks for stopping by! :)
You did a fine job indeed with that slab pie! I’ll leave the baking to the “experts” as I’m the last person to ask for pastry advice, lol! :D
I don’t know what has come over me. Suddenly I have this need to know how to make a good pie crust. I remember my mom being able to turn out a good crust without even following a recipe and maybe even without using measuring cups! We’ll see how many I can make over the weekend…hope your weekend is fun!
Wow that is one gorgeous pie!! Love the use of rye!
Thank you so much! I really liked the rye flour. I also made a pie with oat flour and the rye crust had a much better flavor. :)
Hi Seana – I too like the first comment thought rustic ad hearty and homely rather than novice when I saw this pie!
Thanks Laura! I really do prefer a rustic looking pie, there’s room for imperfections, which I need while I’m piecing together the dough because it didn’t roll out perfectly. :)
Lately I’m trying to experiment with different flours, so thanks a lot for sharing this! It looks very yummy! The use of apple cider vinegar is brilliant!
I’ve been using different flours too! Not only in pie crust but also cakes. It’s so interesting to see different results in various flours. I made a pie crust with oat flour the other day too. Haven’t had great results with coconut flour yet. It’s an interesting study… :) Thank you Margherita!
Seana – you’ve outdone yourself. I absolutely love this recipe – this post – the photographs. Beautiful. All of it.
You are too kind Lindy! :) Thank you so much for your nice comment and encouraging words. Every time I click the publish button I get a twinge of doubt, like the post can be so much better and hearing your feedback is a good dose of confidence! Enjoy your weekend, hope your weather is lovely.
Hi Seana, your rustic blueberry pie is beautiful. I have never heard of using vinegar in crusts before but I will definitely try that next time. Also love the idea of using different flours. Great post, now I want pie.
That is a cracker of a slab my friend! Very nice indeed 👌
Your pie looks amazing. And the photography is spot on! Well done. You make me want to make this now! :) Thank you kindly for sharing your recipe! Best, Koko
Thank you so much for your kind comment Koko! My post was effective if I made you want to make the slab! And you should make this slab…it’s fun and impressive…just like you! :)
You are super precious! Your blog makes me want to cook more! Time is my issue with so much going on but I’m making a point to squeeze some cooking in that’s picture worthy! You made my day. Enjoy yours!
Just stunning – I would be thrilled to go somewhere posh for tea and have this served up for dessert ;)
Thank you so much! I think a cup of tea and this blueberry slab would be a perfect afternoon treat. Just thinking about it makes me want to bake another one right now. :)
You don’t need any tips!!! This is absolutely gorgeous, and not it a perfectly manicured way. I love the rusticity – right up my alley!!!
I feel the same about rustic pies, and cakes for that matter! However, did you see the cover of Cook’s Illustrated magazine this month? It’s a gorgeous photograph of perfectly fluted pie dough. I discovered the magazine yesterday and had to pick up a copy. :)
I think this is a gorgeous pie! My mouth is watering!
The crumbliness is probably due to a lack of enough liquid. I don’t know if this helps but I put most of the water into the bowl but hold back a little bit, then toss it with a fork. then I dump it all onto the table. You have the right trick with the larger and smaller lumps. But to judge if there is enough water I give the dough two or three schmears and gather it back up basically pinching it all together.
I can then look at it and if it is dry anywhere I sprinkle those area only with a bit of water. I find I typically need more water in the winter and when it’s dry and in the summer the flour holds enough moisture from the humidity in the air so I usually don’t need quite as much.
And they say baking is an exact science! Well, maybe it is if you need to consult the meteorologist! :)
Anyway, here’s a link to my empanada dough in which I use that exact same method.
Of course, you probably have it all down by now! I can’t wait to try your pie!
Unbelievably helpful! Thank you so much. It makes so much sense about the lack of water. The two slabs I made (which were the greatest success) I thought weren’t going to turn out because the dough seemed too wet. It didn’t dawn on me until you mentioned it this was exactly what made it work. I’ll go back to the baking board and use your advice with adding a bit of water on the dry area. And no…I don’t have it all down by now, still working on it! I’ll head over and take a look at your empanada dough. I love empanada’s! You are too kind to share your tips and knowledge! Thank you.
Well, thanks! I hope it helps and I was afraid I gave too much advice like an old fuddy duddy! :) It’s all kind of a touchy feely thing and it just takes time to get to know where it should be.
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Yum…Seana this delicious crostata is making me very hungry right now!!! :-)