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Originally published Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Recipe: Blueberry Pie

Easy as (blueberry pie): Blueberry pies are among the easiest of fruit pies. There's no chopping or cutting. Simply toss the berries with some sugar and seasonings, then pour into a pie shell and bake.

This recipe uses a foolproof pie crust from Cook's Illustrated magazine, but a purchased crust would streamline this pie even more. Note that this dough will be more pliable and moist than traditional doughs, and as much as 1/4 cup of flour will be needed for rolling out.

Worth every pound: The rich, dense pound cake is made even more so with the addition of fresh blueberries and a glaze of powdered sugar and apple juice. For a more assertive apple flavor, use cider instead of juice.

Coating the blueberries with flour before adding them to the batter helps keep them centered in the cake, rather than settling to the bottom.

J.M. Hirsch, The Associated Press

Makes 6 to 8 servingsFor the crust:

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces

1/4 cup cold vodka

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1/4 cup cold water

For the filling:

3 ½ cups blueberries, washed and dried

3/4 cup sugar

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1 small green apple, peeled and grated

1 ½ tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

1. To make the crust, in a food processor, combine 1 ½ cups flour, the salt and sugar. Pulse several times to mix. Add the butter and shortening and process until the dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds. The dough will resemble cottage-cheese curds, and there should be no uncoated flour. With the machine off, scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute it evenly around the processor blade. Add the remaining flour and pulse 4 to 6 times, or until the flour is evenly distributed through the dough.

2. Transfer the dough to a medium bowl, then sprinkle the vodka and water over it. Using the rubber spatula, mix the dough and liquid with a folding motion, pressing down on the dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide the dough into 2 even balls, then flatten each into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes, and up to 2 days.

3. Meanwhile, to make the filling, in a medium bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, lemon juice and zest, cinnamon, cardamom, grated apple and tapioca. Toss lightly and let stand about 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 400º F. Lightly coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray.

5. When the dough has chilled, roll it out on a well-floured counter to a roughly 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the prepared pie pan, leaving any excess dough overhanging the edge of the pan.

6. Transfer the blueberry filling and any juices to the pie shell, smoothing the filling into an even layer.

7. On a well-floured counter, roll out the second round of dough into a 10-inch circle. Place it over the pie, then fold the excess dough from the bottom crust over the top. Using your fingers, crimp together the two crusts.

8. Use a paring knife to cut several slits into the top of the crust, then place the pie on a baking sheet. Bake until the top crust is golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350º F and bake for another 35 minutes.

9. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 1 to 2 hours.

Note: This crust might not be appropriate for those abstaining from alcohol.

Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated magazine

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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