Last year I ate the best pie I’ve ever had at this popular, local restaurant. Luckily, I was friends with someone who worked there, so I begged her for the recipe. She was able to get it from the pastry chef, but I don’t want anyone to get in trouble (myself included!) so I’m going to refrain from saying which restaurant it is.
I will say, however, that this is a damn fine pie. The sweet blueberry filling pairs nicely with the tart buttermilk pastry cream. And the crust. OMG, the crust…. I mean, I really like the vodka pie crust recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, but this all-butter crust is simply amazing. The texture is unlike any other pie crust I’ve ever tasted; it’s practically crispy! I’m guessing one of the main reasons it doesn’t get all soggy like a lot of other pie crusts is because you blind bake the pie crust before filling it.
I decided to make these into mini pies so that I could more easily share them with friends, and also so I wouldn’t be getting into as much trouble for sharing a secret recipe word for word. I hope. O_o I did have to adapt the recipe a bit since the one I got was for 10 pies, if that helps.
To blind bake the mini pie crusts in a muffin tin, I used aluminum cupcake liners to line the top of the pie crusts before weighing it down with pearl barley. You can also use dried beans, rice, or of course, pie weights. If you don’t want to go through the trouble, you can try docking the pie crusts by poking the bottom several times with a fork, but I haven’t tested that method, so I can’t guarantee it’ll work.
Blueberry Buttermilk Mini Pies
makes 12 mini pies
For the pie crust
160 g all-purpose flour
25 g sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
120 g cold butter, cubed
Mix the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the butter has been cut into pea-sized pieces. Transfer to a small bowl.
Add ice water (just the water, not the ice) to the butter flour mixture by hand; only add enough water for the dough to come together but not be sticky. Cover and allow dough to relax in refrigerator overnight.
The next day, roll out the dough to about 1/8″. (If you added a little too much water, like I did, make sure to flour the surface and top of the dough well before rolling.) Use a flattened cupcake liner as a stencil, cut out 12 circles (you will probably need to re-roll out leftover scraps to get the last 2 circles). Set aside any leftover scraps in the fridge for now.
Generously grease the wells of a muffin tin with cooking spray. Press the pie crust circles into each well. Place a cupcake liner on top of each pie crust. Transfer the pie crusts to the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Once the pie crusts have frozen, fill the cupcake liners with you pie weight of choice (see above). Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the pie crusts just start to brown. Remove the cupcake liners and pie weights. If there are any holes in the crusts, use the leftover scraps to carefully patch them (which, as you can see below, I failed to do). Return the crusts to the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the bottom of the pie crust is cooked through. Allow to cool completely. Carefully twist the pie crusts in the muffin tins to release.
For the buttermilk pastry cream
100 g buttermilk
32 g sugar, divided
8 g cornstarch
10 g butter, melted and cooled
1 g salt
Whisk together 12 g (about 1 tablespoon) of sugar and the cornstarch. Add the egg and whisk until mixed.
In a small saucepan, bring the buttermilk and remaining sugar to a simmer. Temper the hot buttermilk mixture into the egg mixture and return to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, scraping constantly, until it boils and thickens and no starch is detected on tongue.
Pour into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap directly on the custard, and place in the refrigerator until the surface is at room temperature. Mix in the soft butter and salt, and return to the refrigerator to chill again.
For the blueberry filling
500 g blueberries, divided
100 g sugar
1 teaspoon salt
20 g cornstarch
15 g fresh lemon juice
Toss 350 g of the blueberries with the sugar, salt, and cornstarch and transfer to a small saucepan.
Cook on medium heat, scraping throughout until blueberries break down, thicken, and no starch is detectable on tongue (should be a chunky jam consistency).
Turn off the heat and add the remaining fresh blueberries and lemon juice. Allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to release the heat.
Divide the buttermilk pastry cream among the 12 pie crusts. Top with the blueberry filling. Keep mini pies chilled until serving.