Blueberry Balsamic Pie with Black Pepper has the unexpected bite of tangy-sweet balsamic vinegar combined with honey, cinnamon, and a big pinch of freshly ground black pepper. All of which magnify the sweetness of blueberries.
If you don’t have Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar you can substitute another balsamic vinegar. In which case cut the sugar in half and add ⅓ cup honey to the berry mixture.
- 390 gram all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling)
- 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (divided)
- 20 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter (cut into ½‑inch dice)
- 2–3 ice cubes
- ⅓ cup very cold water (plus more if necessary)
- 2 pound fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup corn starch
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon Honey Ridge Farms Balsamic Honey Vinegar (see note)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 egg yolk (mixed with 1 teaspoon water as egg wash)
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment pulse flour and 1 teaspoon salt 5 or 6 times until well combined. Add 18 tablespoons butter, and continue pulsing 10 or 12 more times until the mixture is crumbly and coarse, with various-sized but obvious chunks of butter scattered throughout. Place 2 or 3 ice cubes, broken up if necessary into the feed tube of the food processor. With machine running, pour up to ⅓ cup very cold water through the ice-filled feed tube of the food processor, a tablespoon at a time until dough just comes together and begins to pull cleanly away from the sides of the bowl in jagged clumps. Don’t let the machine run too long and don’t worry if you don’t use all the water. Overworked dough and/or too much water are the main culprits in pastry that is tough or dense. However, in warm weather or dry climates you may need up to an additional 2 tablespoons more cold water. You’ll learn to know when it’s the right balance of wet and dry.
Move the dough to a lightly-floured work surface and gently knead 2 or 3 times. If the dough seems quite sticky or at all wet, sprinkle in another few teaspoons flour. Give dough another couple of quick, gentle kneads. Divide dough in half, shape into 2 discs, one about 6‑inches in diameter and 3/4‑inch thick, the other about 4‑inches in diameter and 3/4‑inch thick; wrap discs in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days) to distribute moisture evenly, or freeze up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
When ready to form shell, transfer larger disc of chilled dough to a lightly flour work surface. Roll the dough to about a 13-inch round, a generous 1/8‑inch thick. Carefully fold dough in half, and slide it onto rolling pin. Transfer to a 9‑inch deep dish, or a 10-inch standard pie pan. Unfold the dough, easing it gently into pan; do not stretch dough. Let excess dough drape over the sides, trimming it to about ½‑inch overhang all the way around. Roll the second disc into an 11-inch round, a generous 1/8‑inch thick. Carefully fold dough in half, and slide it onto rolling pin. Transfer the round to a parchment line baking sheet, cover both the lined pie pan and the pastry round lightly with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator to chill.
Place oven rack in center position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, place blueberries, cornstarch, sugar, vinegar, vanilla, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and black pepper; gently fold the mixture until cornstarch dissolves. Pour into the chilled pie pan, and dot with remaining 2 tablespoons butter cubes. Carefully fold the pastry disc in half and slide it onto a rolling pin. Transfer it to the top of the filled pie pan. Trim edges of pie, leaving a ½‑inch overhang, then fold the edges under and press together; flute or crimp decoratively. Refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
Brush top of pie lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinada sugar. Use the point of a sharp knife to pierce 4 or 5 steam vents decoratively into the top crust. Transfer pie to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in heated oven for 20 minutes. Lower heat to 350 degrees F and continue to bake another 40 to 45 minutes or until the crust is well-browned and the juices are bubbling. It may become necessary to lightly cover the pie with foil for the last 10 or 15 minutes if the edges get too brown before the juices bubble.
Remove pie from oven and let cool completely on a rack. Slice and serve.