I've decided that tapioca is the Arnold Schwarzenegger* (or any other over-avid bodybuilder, for that matter) of thickeners. Why? Simply because it's super strong and, if we're being honest, a little bit gross.
*Ah, just kidding, Ahnold. You came to mind first because I recently rewatched Total Recall (quality eye-bulging effects and stimulating dialogue!). I'll be the first to admit that you've made some really enjoyable flicks in your time, and as I understand it, some people really liked you as the Governator.
Let's discuss tapioca. In the past, I've always used either cornstarch or plain, good ol' all-purpose flour to thicken my pies, so this blueberry pie was definitely an experiment. Admittedly, in those past pies, the filling has been quite runny more often than not (but always delicious!). Not so with this one, friends--that tapioca is powerful!
I can appreciate the impressive absorption abilities, but to me, it's not a pie if it's dry! What's worse is that you can actually see the unabsorbed little pearls of tapioca, and that absolutely taints an otherwise lovely pie. Yep, this was definitely an overuse of the tapioca. Solutions: Use less, or just stick with the cornstarch.
So other than my terrible trouble with tricky tapioca, this is an excellent pie, thanks mostly to a magnificent crust--it's flaky, buttery, and sturdy yet tender. Fresh or frozen blueberries will work, but if you can get fresh ones, do it! You can also adjust the amount of sugar to suit your tastes (3/4 cup would be plenty for those of you with a less dominating sweet tooth).
Hasta la vista, babies!
(based mostly on a recipe from Joy of Cooking)
one batch of pie dough (enough for a double crust)
about 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, for extra absorption
5 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup tapioca
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
egg wash and granulated or coarse sugar, for top
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Roll out your bottom crust and nestle it into the pan. At this point, I've learned that sprinkling some graham cracker crumbs (just a smattering, don't go crazy!) helps absorbs some juices...if you're using a reasonable amount of tapioca, of course. Set this aside.
Combine all the pie ingredients in a large bowl and gently combine. Pour into the prepared pan and store in fridge while you roll out the top half.
Place the top crust on, crimp the edges in a decorative fashion, and poke the top with plenty of air slits or decorative holes. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Place a baking sheet underneath the pie to catch any overflow. Place in the oven and bake at 425 degrees F for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees F and bake for another 25-30 minutes or until the juice starts to bubble out of the slits. Let cool completely before serving.