Believe or not I use to not like blueberry pie. I liked my mom's apple pie and peach cobbler and Hostess blackberry hand pies and McDonald's fried apple pies, of course. Most fruit pies were too goopy, didn't have a good mouthfeel and tasted too sweet. Then I learned how to make a good fruit pie
For the past few years, I've been determined to make good fruit pies. Growing up and well into adulthood I didn't need to learn because my mom made the best pies. I feel this year is the first year that I have gotten the hang of producing a flaky crust and with a nice brown bottom. It's taken a lot of practice, and a lot of reading, but I'm so happy with the results
As a baking geek I've made lots of notes on what makes a good pie dough and the ingredients on how to make a good pie filling. Read on to learn more.
How to Make the Pie Dough
Making pie dough is one of those essential baking skills that can be hard to master. Or at least it was for me. Growing up, my mother made the most amazing pies. The crust was always tender and flaky and the fillings were perfect. Anytime she used a square baking dish, my and my family rushed to get the corner pieces because those pieces had the most pie crust.
Here are my tips for making good pie dough not matter what recipe you use.
- Use cold ingredients. Your butter and water should be cold when they mixed into the dry ingredients. My mother sometimes chilled the flour. I haven't tried that technique yet, but it worked for her. I keep a jar that holds 2 cups of water in the refrigerator at all times so I know that I will have ice cold water whenever I need it.
- Don't overwork the dough. Working the dough too much will activate the gluten in the flour and create a dough that is harder to roll our and a finished pie crust that is chewy. Once the water is added only work it enough with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to work it into the other ingredients and then shape it into a circle or square for your recipe.
- Keep the dough cool. After chilling the dough, let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to make it easier to roll out. Quickly roll out the dough and fit it into whatever baking pan or pie plate that you are using. Then chill the dough again after shaping it.
How to Make the Blueberry Filling
The blueberry filling is easy to make. The recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, but the amount of sugar added should be based on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Initially add 3/4 cup of the sugar, then taste the fruit. If you want the filling a little sweeter add the additional sugar, otherwise stop at 3/4 cup.
I prefer using tapioca as a thickener for fruit pies because it creates a nice clear gel, but does turn the filling rubbery. After mixing the tapioca into the fruit, let the fruit sit for 10-15 minutes while the pie dough continues to chill in the refrigerator.
If you do not have tapioca, you can replace it with half the amount of cornstarch, by volume. By volume means to measure it out using tablespoons instead of by weight.
How to Make the Crumble Topping
I love this crunchy crumble topping. I can practically eat it by itself by the spoonful. But I don't. I have a little self control. It is so easy to make and adds a nice crunch to a pie or fruit crisp. The flour is mixed with sugar, cinnamon and salt. And then the room temperature butter is worked into the dough. The butter should be 65-68°F. It will be easier to work into the dry ingredients and create the crumble texture. You can also add other spices like nutmeg, cardamom, and allspice.
The topping can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Baking Blueberry Crumble Pie
Once the pie dough is the in the refrigerator start preheating the oven. Place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the oven while it is preheating so it gets hot. Baking the pie on top of the baking sheet will help ensure that the botton browns. The baking sheet is also used to catch fruit juices that bubble over and prevent a mess in your oven.
Fill the chilled pie dough with the prepared blueberries. Sprinkle the crumble evenly across the top. Bake the pie first at 400°F for about 25 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 375°F to finish baking. The pie is ready when the fruit is bubbly and a little is spilling over the top.
Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool for about 3 hours. Allowing the pie to cool will help ensure that the pie slices will hold together. However I have eaten pie straight from the oven and while the fruit and juices run everywhere, it is so good. If serving the pie the next day, refrigerate it and let it sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.
If you're new to making pies I hope this recipe helps you successfully bake a delicious pie. Please let me know if you have questions. If you make this pie please send me picture or tag me on Instagram @bakesbybrownsugar. I would love to see what you make.
Blueberry Crumble Pie
- 9-inch pie plate
- 1 1/4 cups (190 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon (13 grams) white granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons (142 grams) cold unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup ice-cold water or more if required.
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3/4 cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 tablespoons (114 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
Blueberry Pie Filling
- 5 1/2 cups (790 grams) fresh blueberries
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons (38 grams) Bob’s Red Mill Tapioca
Make the Pie Dough
- Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and add it to the flour mixture. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles small peas.
- Combine the ice-cold water and the lemon juice. Add the ice water and use a rubber spatula to toss together. It will still be slightly crumbly or shaggy but will hold together when squeezed into a ball. If more water is needed add a tablespoon at a time.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press the dough together, folding it over on itself until it starts to hold together. Try not to work the dough too much or it may become overdeveloped and tough.
- Shape the dough into disk 1-inch thick. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes. The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days and frozen for up to 2 months.
- For a 9-inch pie plate roll the dough until is it 1/8-inch thick and 12-inches round. Fold the dough in half and then half again so that you have a quarter. Place the dough in the pie plate do the corner of the dough is centered. Gently unfold the dough so the pie plate is completely covered and the dough is overhanging the plate.
- Trim the dough so that there is about a 1-inch overhang all the way around. Fold the dough under so that it rests on the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the dough using a fork or create your own design.
- Refrigerate the prepared dough for at least 30 minutes.
For the Streusel Topping
- Combine the flour, the sugars, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the butter into 12 pieces, add to the dry ingredients and use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until it starts to clump together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to bake the pie. The streusel can be made 2 days in advance.
For the Blueberry Filling
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a half baking sheet in the oven lined with parchment paper. Baking the pie on a hot baking sheet will ensure that the bottom of the pie dough browns and will catch any pie juices that bubble over.
- Place the blueberries in a bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and gently toss with a large spoon without breaking the berries. Add 3/4 cup of the sugar and the salt and stir until the sugar looks dissolved. Taste the berries and decide based on taste if you want to add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Sprinkle the tapioca on the berries and gently fold the tapioca into the berries by stirring from the bottom until no white bits remain.
- Spoon the blueberry filling into the prepared pie shell. Distribute the streusel topping evenly across the blueberries.
- Bake the pie at 400°F for 25 minutes rotating the pie half way through the baking time. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake the pie for another 30-35 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the fruit is bubbly.
- Remove the pie from the oven. Place it on a cooling rack and allow it to cool to room temperature before serving (about 3 hours). Allowing the pie to cool will allow it to set and make it easier to cut. For absolutely clean slices refrigerate the pie for another 3 hours or overnight.
Kimberly Wood says
Hi Ms. Norris, I was just wondering. Up in the receipe, you stated that the total time was 2 hours and 30 mins, however you also say that the chilling time is 3 hours. Is that intentional?
Also, I plan to make this pie for my family this weekend. I plan to start this morning, and serve it at dinner. Do you think that is a good plan? Thanks! I apprecite this lovely receipe.
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you for writing and pointing out the error in the total time. I revised the recipe to reflect the total time and added a note on refrigerating the pie. I appreciate you taking the time to visit the blog and write a note.
If you start in the morning, yes you can serve it for dinner. Once the pie has cooled to room temperature place it in the refrigerator. Refrigerating will help ensure that you have cleaner pie slices. But true story - I always liked eating my mom's pies straight from the oven.
Cheryl Norris says
Thank you for your question. I reviewed the recipe and adjusted the total cooking time in the recipe.
If you start the pie in the morning it should be ready to serve at dinner time. As soon as it has cooled to room temperature place it in the refrigerator. Chilling the pie will result in cleaner slices. Having said that, I love eating pie while it's still warm from the oven.
Kimberly Wood says
I also do not have enough unsalted butter for both the dough and the streusel. Is it alright if I use salted butter?
Cheryl Norris says
Yes you can use salted butter. I recommend using unsalted butter for the pie dough and salted butter for the crumble since the pie dough is an essential component and it's better to control the salt for the dough. When using the salted butter do not use the salt called for in the recipe.
The amount of salt in salted butter varies based on the brand, but about 1/4 teaspoon per 8 tablespoons of butter seems to be the average.
Kimberly Wood says
Hi Ms. Norris,
Since blackberries grow wild in my backyard, can I just replace the blueberries with blackberries?
This was a great recipe: I followed it to the letter, only substituting cornstarch for tapioca. I was a little worried that the dough was a bit too wet, but it turned out beautifully. Everyone loved it. Thank you very much. I'll be making it soon again.