I made this crostata, which is really just a free form pie, a few months ago during a small window in summer when berry prices here in Sydney were relatively inexpensive. Right now of course, being the depths of winter, it’s not going to be an ideal time to cook this and unfortunately frozen blueberries won’t really work. But I’m posting this for all you lucky people living in countries where it’s the height of summer and summer fruits and berries are in abundance. I’m actually not really fond of blueberries in their raw state but I love them when they are cooked and there is no better way to show off their flavour than in a pie. This pie is incredibly easy because it’s a free-form base that doesn’t need fitting into a pie dish, no upper crust to roll out and crimp on top and no blind baking. You could make it even easier by buying good store-bought all butter short crust pastry. One tip when making any fruit pie is to make sure to put some cornflour into the fruit mixture to soak up any excess liquid and I also dust the pastry with a small amount of cornflour too. This makes for a nice crisp crust as it protects the pastry from getting soggy from any juices that escape from the fruit. I like to make this in advance so as the fruit and pastry have time to settle before being cut – I usually make it a few hours earlier and serve it at room temperature but you could rest it for as little as 20 minutes if you prefer to serve the pie warm. If you try to slice it straight from the oven it will ooze a lot of juice. You can serve this plain but its even better with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Ingredients – Serves 6-8
For the Pastry: (You can also use all butter store-bought sweet crust pastry)
1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
Pinch of salt
90g cold butter, diced
Ice water (about 2 tablespoons)
For the Filling:
2 cups fresh blueberries (about 3-4 punnets)
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon cornflour divided
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 egg beaten
1/4 cup demerara sugar
Pre-heat oven to 200C. To make the pastry, put the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade; pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it is in small pieces and distributed throughout the flour. With the machine running, add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn out onto a floured surface and gently form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Once rested, place a large piece of baking paper onto your kitchen counter and roll the pastry out to 10 inch circle. Lift the paper and pastry and place on a baking sheet and refrigerate for another 20 minutes. Meanwhile place the blueberries into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of cornflour, the caster sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon and gently stir to combine. When the pastry has finished resting sprinkle the centre of the pastry lightly with the remaining cornflour. Place the blueberries in a pile in the centre of the pastry leaving a 2 inch border. Gently fold in the edges of crust all along the circle. Brush the outside of the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle on the demerara sugar.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. You want the fruit to be bubbling and the crust golden. If the fruit is not bubbling leave it in until it is as the cornflour will not activate and thicken until the fruit and juices are bubbling. Remove from the oven and leave to settle for at least 20 minutes (I like to leave it for at an hour, or more) before slicing and serving.