It’s good to know one’s limitations because out of constraint can come creativity. This pie is an example. Lots of pie bakers use a lattice top crust for berry pies because having more exposed surface area allows the juicy berry filling to thicken faster. I am a bad lattice maker. It’s too fiddly for me so I use dough cut-outs of half-moons to partially cover my blueberry pies. The blueberries turn a deep navy blue color when baked, which reminds me of the night sky. You can also use a combination of stars and half-moons and make them sparkly with a sprinkling of sugar. Endless fun and good eating.
If you don’t already have a go-to pie crust recipe, try this award-winning one from Alina Bezdikian, JP Bolles and Patrick O’Brien. The trio swept our 2014 KCRW ‘Good Food’ pie contest with their pie crust recipe that earned them a blue ribbon for “Best Crust.” When following the instructions, just remember to reserve half of the dough for your moon or star-shaped cut-outs. Or, if using another recipe, remember to choose one that makes enough dough for two pie crusts.
Evan Kleiman’s Blueberry Night Sky Pie
Yield: Makes 1 whole pie
1 dough-lined pie plate, chilled in refrigerator (see Pie Crust recipe)
Blueberry Pie Filling (recipe follows)
Half-Moons (instructions follow)
1 egg, beaten
Granulated sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Blueberry Filling Ingredients
4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and picked over to remove stems
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tbsps cornstarch
1 tbsp or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp kosher salt
Prepare the crust: Line 1 pie plate with your pie crust dough and transfer to the refrigerator to chill.
Prepare the half-moons: Roll out your second portion of dough to a ¼-inch thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut out the half-moons. Transfer them to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Make the filling: Combine the blueberries, sugar, salt, lemon juice and cinnamon in a bowl and toss. Depending on your preference, you can add more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is sweet enough. Add the cornstarch to the seasoned blueberries and toss well.
Remove your dough-lined pie plate from the refrigerator and add your Blueberry Filling. Spread it evenly across the dough-lined surface, avoiding any gaps.
For the half-moons: Beat the egg in a small bowl to make the egg wash.
Remove the half-moons from the refrigerator. Brush them with the beaten egg wash and arrange them on top of the Blueberry Filling in the pie plate in your preferred pattern. If you’d like, you can sprinkle them with sugar so that they will sparkle.
Bake the pie: Transfer the pie to the lowest rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Once done, transfer the pie to the middle rack and turn down the heat to 375ºF. If you see your pie browning too quickly, loosely tent it with foil. Bake the pie for an additional 15 minutes or until the blueberry juices have thickened.
Now, for the last 10 minutes of baking, remove the foil from the pie so that the half-moons will develop a nice, deep golden color.
Photo of blueberries (above) by Raj Stevenson