Theoretical Pie

new best recipe cook book

I love the Cook’s Illustrated Best Recipes Cookbook.  Its’ the Scientific American of  cookbooks.  They don’t just give you recipes; they justify every single ingredient and its amount.

I looked up the recipe for Blueberry Pie yesterday, and before I even got to the recipe, I had to read a protracted discourse on the merits of cornstarch vs. flour as a thickener and why potato starch or tapioca is far and away the preferred thickener for this kind of pie. (Flour makes the fruit gummy and cornstarch dulls the taste of the fruit).

I had cornstarch and flour, but neither potato starch nor tapioca, so I headed to Walmart, but no luck there. (Big surprise.)

So $200 later I was walking out of Wegman’s with a week’s groceries plus the mandatory potato starch and tapioca, ready to make a proper pie, a justified pie, dare I say,  a “smart” pie.

Now if there is one thing I cannot stand it’s that revolting jelly stuff that hangs all over fruit in commercial pies.  Who can eat that shit?  I think it’s pectin, and without a doubt it is gross.  So I was really looking forward to having a juicy blueberry pie that held together without all that goo.  My pie would be thickened with the lab tested and approved, potato starch. It would be bright and clear, not dull and gummy.  It would hang together without the hated pectin.

With my potato starch and my NASA space directions, I spent a happy afternoon assembling the space shuttle of blueberry pies according to specs.

Here it is assembled prior to the crumb topping:

pie before crumb crust

Here it is all beautiful and aromatic out of the oven.

finished pie400

But although I followed the directions to a T, after I cut into it, the fruit began to puddle in the gap of the first slice.  And this morning?  Blueberry soup.

Needless to say, we have a problem, Houston.

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