Latticed pies are always wonderful to look at. The one pictured is a bit rushed and rustic, but still drew gasps when I presented it at the table. I regularly make a rhubarb and raspberry pie with cross-latticing, but this 'spoke' method is so much easier and even more spectacular. The blueberries with spices and lemon are just glorious. The lemon juice renders the pie quite tangy which I LOVE, but if you'd prefer it sweeter you can add more sugar or leave the juice out. I highly recommend you give this one a try!
Makes one 23cm tart
You'll need: a 23 cm tart/flan dish with a removable bottom, a round ring biscuit cutter (about 8cm diameter), a pizza cutter (to cut strips of pastry), a pastry brush and a baking sheet (and a rolling pin...)
460g (3½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
250g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
100g (¾ cup) icing sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
2 egg yolks
60mL (¼ cup) whole milk
Egg wash: 1 egg yolk
900g (6 cups) fresh blueberries
150g (¾ cup) caster sugar
40g (⅓ cup) cornflour
2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
Juice of one lemon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
a decent pinch of salt
20g butter, cut in to little cubes
First, make the pastry. Place the flour and butter in the bowl of a large-capacity food processor or standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and process/beat until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the icing sugar, lemon zest and vanilla and mix through. Add the egg yolk and milk and mix until the dough only just comes together (over working the dough will result in a tough pastry). Turn it out onto a work surface and form the pastry in to a ball with your hands. Divide the ball in two. Flatten each ball of dough out to a thickness of about 1cm. Wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour but preferably longer.
When you roll out your pastry, place it between two sheets of non-stick baking paper. This will prevent you having to add extra flour.
To line the tart dish, grease the dish very well with butter, making sure you get in to the fluted edges. Roll out one of the discs of pastry large enough to cover your dish, allowing extra for an overhanging edge. Once you've pressed the pastry in to your dish (either by lifting with a rolling pin or inverting one of the sheets of baking paper and peeling it off, if you're using that method), leave enough pastry to completely overhang the edges – this will help to prevent the pastry case (shell) from shrinking during baking. Trim off the remainder, saving it in case you need to patch up any holes or cracks later on. Pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.
Stir the sugar, cornflour, lemon zest, lemon juice, allspice, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add the blueberries and gently toss to combine. Transfer most of the blueberry filling to the prepared pie crust, leaving some to fill the middle 'funnel'. Don't pile them too high. This pie makes an extraordinary blueberry 'jam' which can escape if you're not careful! Refrigerate while you prepare the lattice crust.
Take the other disc of pastry out of the fridge and place on a floured work surface. This bit IS better with flour, as you need to lift the strips individually. Take about a third of the disc and roll it out to a thin rectangle, with a length similar to the diameter of your tin. Using a pizza cutter (with a wheel), cut the pastry in to strips about 1 centimetre wide (narrower is quite tricky to lift up without breaking. My strips are actually about ¾ of an inch).
Remove the filled base of the pie from the fridge and place the round biscuit cutter on top of the blueberries in the centre. Lift each pastry strip gently, then place each strip straight across the pie so one edge sits against the edge of the biscuit cutter. Continue around the pie in a 'procession', with intervals of about 1 inch at the edge of the pie dish. You might need to do this in several stages, refrigerating the pastry in between rolling the sections. Continue until you've crossed all the gaps - refer to the picture if you're confused! It's easier than it looks. Don't be too concerned about it building up so much in the middle - it does cook through and is delicious. When you're done, gently ease the biscuit cutter out of the 'hole' in the centre and fill the hole with a pile of more blueberries. Then, place teeny cubes of butter in the little gaps of the lattice. Beat the extra egg yolk and brush over the pie lattice. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes before baking.
Place a baking sheet in the oven and turn the oven on to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F. Place the pie on the hot baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 160°C fan/180°C/400°F and bake for another 30-35 minutes. If the crust is looking too golden on top, pop some tin foil over it. Serve warm -you can dust it with icing sugar if you like but I prefer it without. The blueberries make a spectacular colour when they ooze out.
This is beautiful served warm with crème fraîche or greek yoghurt