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Wednesday
Aug052015

Blueberry Almond Crumble Pie

The components of this dessert are versatile beyond just the pie.  The filling can be used for any dessert calling for “canned” pie filling, and cherries work equally well in this recipe. For the blueberries, just rinse, drain and pick them over.  For the cherries, they need to be stemmed, pitted and sliced in half.  I know.  Lots of work.  Don’t wear white.  The filling could also be used with just the topping as a crisp or with your favorite cobbler batter.  Just butter and flour the bottom of the baking dish, add the fruit, top and bake about these same time as the pie, maybe a little less.  This makes an 8” pie, with crust leftover.  

Crust:

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½ cubes
3 extra large eggs

Filling:

2 pints blueberries or cherries
¾ cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoons pure almond extract

Topping:

2/3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 ounces (about ¾ cup) crumbled almond paste
¼ cup (1/2 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes

Make the Filling:

Combine 1 cup of the blueberries or cherries with the sugar in a non-reactive saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is melted and the mixture becomes liquid, about 5 minutes.
Combine the cornstarch and the water in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.  Stir into the blueberry and sugar mixture, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.  Continue to cook the mixture until it the liquid becomes clear.  Add the remaining blueberries, lemon zest, nutmeg, cinnamon and stir in.  Add the butter and the almond extract at the very last minute, and stir in until the butter is melted.  Pour into a bowl and cool uncovered.  Then cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make the Topping:

Pulse the flour and the salt in a food processor 10 seconds, until combined.  Add the almond paste and cold chunks of butter, and pulse until the mixture is course, and about the size of peas.  Set aside, or make in advance and store in the freezer or refrigerator.

Make the Crust:

In a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients together until combined.  
Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture is uniformly coarse and resembles small peas.  Add the eggs to the work bowl and pulse until the dough comes together into a ball.  Remove the knife from the bowl, and turn the dough ball onto a floured work surface and shape into a disk.  Wrap in plastic and allow to chill and rest, if that is your preferred method, before rolling out.  I prefer bring it to room temperature if I have made it in advance as it’s softer and tends to crack less.  Roll from the middle out, turning the dough to allow a little flour to get underneath so it doesn’t stick to the surface.  When you have round approximately 10” in diameter (hold your pie plate over the disk to measure), roll the dough over your rolling pin and then unroll onto the pie plate.  Press lightly with your fingers along the bottom and sides.  Form a 1/2” ridge along the rim of the pie plate with your fingers, and then crimp the edges. 

Assemble and Bake:

Set your rack to the middle of the two thirds oven.  Preheat to 350.  Pour the cooled filling into the bottom crust.  Sprinkle the crumbled topping over the filling.  If you wish, cover the edges of the crust with strips of foil to prevent burning.  Bake 55-60 minutes, or until you see the filling bubbling up through the crumble topping.  Remove and cool the pie on a rack.
Serve with the best vanilla ice cream you can get your hands on.

 

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