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Ten tips from a pie expert on overcoming pastry-phobia (& a delicious wild blueberry pie recipe)

There’s something about pie crust that scares the pastry out of people. Otherwise confident cooks avoid pie-making, deeply fearful of failing to make a flaky crust. Such a loss. After a few decades of baking and judging pies, I’ve learned a few practical secrets. Here is all you need to know about mastering pie baking, along with a recipe for my favorite, wild blueberry pie.

Ten tips for better pie

1. Don’t cheap out. Your pie is only as tasty as the ingredients inside it. Use the best. For my blueberry pie, I use only the pricier frozen wild blueberries because they taste more “blueberry-y” than your bloated, flavorless conventional blueberries. Besides, how often do you make a pie from scratch these days?

2. Be a butter cubist. To ensure flakiness, you don’t want the butter (or shortening or lard) to melt into the flour. Slice sticks of chilled or frozen butter into tiny cubes and bits that get coated with flour and eventually create flakiness.

3. Glass rules. Metal and ceramic pie pans work, but glass pie plates hold and distribute the heat more evenly. Most important, you can see if the bottom crust is baked.