The secret to a delicious pie is often found in the piecrust. The ideal pate brisee, that classic melt-in-your-mouth piecrust, is a matter of temperature and technique. French for "broken dough," the trick is to work quickly. You should keep ingredients and utensils as cold as possible, and handle the dough as little as possible to prevent too much development of gluten, which toughens piecrust. When cutting in butter, rechill it if it begins to get warm, and stop cutting once the mixture resembles coarse meal; add ice-cold water to bring it all together in a ball.
Tips for Perfect Piecrusts
If the dough begins to stick to the work surface when you're rolling it out, refrigerate it for 15 minutes. If you prefer a denser crust, use butter or another fat that is at room temperature. The resulting pate brisee will be tender, but not flaky.
Blueberry Pie 101
Martha likes to end her summer lobster dinners with a delicious old-fashioned Blueberry Pie. For best results, try to use freshly picked blueberries that have been picked over for debris. Also let the pie rest so the juices can thicken.
Then, once you've mastered Martha's Blueberry Pie, try her signature Sour Cherry Pie