"NightLock" Blueberry Pie



            One more Hunger Games inspired recipe for you. I made a “Nightlock” Berry Pie, perfect for the summer season, and future DVD release parties. It’s my version of a traditional blueberry pie. I use some unusual spices, and slightly less sugar than most recipes to showcase the fruit. I promise this one isn’t really poisonous. Visually what makes this pie special is the freehand drawn and cut Mockingjay skull with a crossed bone-and-arrow I used as topping.
To make the stencil I used a simple ballpoint pen on a piece of cardstock, which I then cut out with scissors. The only tricky part is I used a toothpick to draw the eye sockets and nostril cavities in the dough itself.

I made this in celebration of a co-worker who was unfortunately transferred to another store. Since he was leaving us after a stellar 10 years, I jokingly told him he was dead to us. Not true at all, John is actually the founder and generous host of our little book club. He’s read The Hunger Games, so he was in on the joke. The real message of this pie is: “Thank you for being an awesome manager, and an awesome human being”.

Pie Crust:
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup almond meal
1 cup cold butter
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
8-10 tsp vodka
2 ice cubes

1.     In a large bowl stir together: flour, almond meal, salt, and cinnamon.
2.     Cube the butter and add it to the dry ingredients.
3.     Using a fork or pastry blender work the butter into the dry ingredients until everything resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also use a food processor.
4.     Pour the vodka over the ice cubes to chill.
5.     Add the vodka one tsp at a time just until the dough comes together.
6.     Remove one third of the dough, and place it in the fridge.
7.     Roll the remaining two-thirds of the dough between two sheets of wax paper into a large enough round to fill a 9” pie plate.
8.     Line your pie plate with the freshly rolled dough, trim the excess and flute the edges. Poke the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times. Refrigerate immediately for one hour prior to making the filling.
9.     Take the remaining 1/3 of dough from the fridge. Between two sheets of wax paper, roll out to roughly ¼” thick, large enough to encompass the entire stencil.
10. Remove only the top layer of wax paper. Lay the stencil flat on the surface of the dough; cut out your design with a sharp knife. Refrigerate until the pie is otherwise completely assembled.

Filling:
1.5 pounds fresh blueberries (about 4½-5 cups)
3 ½ Tbsp tapioca starch (can sub corn starch) 
Zest of one lemon
¼ cup lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

1.     In a large bowl, with your hands gently toss the washed blueberries in the tapioca starch.
2.     Add cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, and ginger to the fruit and gently toss until everything is evenly coated.
3.     Add the lemon zest, juice, and the sugar. Again toss until everything is evenly coated. Careful not to squish the fruit as much as possible.
4.     Immediately pour the filling into the prepared and chilled piecrust.
5.     Cube the butter and scatter the cubes all over the top of the filling.
6.     Preheat the oven to 375°.
7.     When the pie is filled, retrieve your cut-stenciled topping. Flip the topping and wax paper over right on the center of the pie. Peel away the wax paper. This is much easier than trying to move the fragile pieces any other way.

8.     Tent the pie with aluminum foil, bake at 375° for 40 minutes.
9.     After 40 minutes remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until the crust is golden brown.

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