Blueberry Pie with Sour Cream and Vodka Chiboust Cream

The idea to make a blueberry pie started with a rather prolific day of blueberry picking last summer at Fishkill Farms, which left us with way more berries than we really needed to make preserves. Having found a recipe for blueberry pie filling, I decided to give it a try.

It didn’t strike me, then, how misguided this solution was for the original problem. First off, we ended up with even more jars than we would have if we’d just done a bunch of preserves, and these jars further reduced our usable refrigerator space, sitting next to my bric-a brac of wine bottles, sausage casings, and onion jams (a piece of advice if you ever make onion jam: no matter how good it tastes, you probably won’t eat quite so much of it). Second, my regular readers — and WordPress tells me they really do exist! — will probably have noticed that opening a jar, pouring its contents into a store-bought crust, and calling it a day isn’t exactly the style we go for on this blog.

Blueberry Pie with Sour Cream and Vodka Chiboust Cream

So I eventually abandoned the idea of canning tons of filling in favor of developing a more complex and satisfying blueberry pie. In its current incarnation, my pie was inspired by a few recipes I found in Michel Roux’s Finest Desserts, although I’ve tweaked it so many times that I’ve lost track of all the changes I made. The major modifications I remember are the addition of sour cream and vodka to Russify the dish (the blueberry’s European cousin, bilberry, is already a popular Russian ingredient), and a significant reduction in the amount of sugar. And a different dough. And a different pie mold. I guess it’s a completely different dessert, after all…

Pâte brisée
Yields 1 pie

8.8 oz flour
7 g (1 tsp)  salt
1 egg yolk
4 oz butter, diced and at room temperature
2.5 oz water

  • Sift the flour into a bowl, and make a well in the center. Put the salt, egg yolk, and butter in the well, and combine using your fingertips, starting from the center outward.
  • Add the water, and mix until smooth.
  • Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 45 minutes.

Blueberry Pie with Sour Cream and Vodka Chiboust Cream

Blueberry filling
Yields 1 pie

4 oz water
5.6 oz sugar
14 oz blueberries
0.15 oz lemon juice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 eggs
3.2 oz heavy cream

  • Place the water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook until the sugar has melted, stirring regularly.
  • Add the blueberries, bring to a simmer, and cook for a few minutes until the blueberries just start breaking. Drain the berries in a chinois to separate the solids from the syrup, and reserve.
  • Return the syrup to the saucepan, add the lemon juice and cinnamon, and over medium heat, reduce the liquid by about 1/3 — you want to have about 7 oz of syrup.
  • Mix the eggs and heavy cream in a bowl. Slowly pour the syrup into the egg mixture while stirring constantly. Let cool.

Blueberry pie base
Yields 1 pie

pâte brisée
blueberry filling

  • On a floured surface, roll the pâte brisée into a 13″ disc. Transfer the dough to a 2″ tall, 9″ diameter pie dish, leaving any extra to hang over the sides (it tends to shrink when baking).
  • Prick with a fork, and bake in a 400 F oven for 9 minutes.
  • Cut off any extra dough remaining over the sides. Add blueberry filling, which comes up about halfway, then bake for another 25-27 minutes, until just set. Let cool to room temperature.
  • You can prepare this pie base one day in advance and keep it in the fridge.

Italian meringue
Yields 1 pie

1 oz water
4 oz sugar
0.3 oz light corn syrup
3 egg whites

  • In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar, and corn syrup to 248 F.
  • Meanwhile, in an electric mixer fit with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to firm peaks.
  • Set the mixer on low speed, and slowly pour the cooked sugar into the egg whites in a thin steam. Beat for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is tepid.
  • Start working on the chiboust immediately.

Blueberry Pie with Sour Cream and Vodka Chiboust Cream

Sour cream and vodka chiboust cream
Yields 1 pie

2.2 g powdered gelatin
2 oz vodka
3 egg yolks
0.5 oz sugar
0.2 oz flour
6 oz sour cream
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Italian meringue

  • Combine the gelatin and vodka in a plastic container, and reserve.
  • In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar to a pale ribbon. Sift in the flour, and mix.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the sour cream and vanilla extract to a simmer. Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg yolk mixture while stirring. Return to the saucepan, and cook for 2 minutes over low heat, still stirring constantly.
  • Mix in the gelatin and vodka, then transfer to a bowl placed over cold water. Let cool until tepid, stirring occasionally.
  • Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the above pastry cream, then fold in the rest until homogeneous. Proceed to assembly immediately.

Assembly
Yields 1 pie

blueberry pie base
sour cream and vodka chiboust
1.5 oz superfine sugar

  • Spread the chiboust cream over the blueberry pie base until even with the top, and level with an offset spatula (you might have a little bit of chiboust left). Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Sprinkle the sugar on top of the pie. Caramelize the sugar under an oven broiler, or using a blow torch. I find that the broiler gives a more even result, but you’ll need to watch the pie all the time, and possibly rotate or move it once in a while. Refrigerate the pie again for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Blueberry Pie with Sour Cream and Vodka Chiboust Cream