This blueberry crumb pie is perfectly juicy with a subtly spiced filling. The crispy brown sugar crumb puts it over the top!
Hello readers, and a belated Happy Birthday America!
Summertime means many things: the ungodly Houston summer weather (this 4th of July was somewhere between a nuclear powered sauna and the 7th circle of hell), grilling absolutely everything possible (we’ve had good luck with a grilled potato salad), and as much fresh fruit as I can eat. While you can get berries pretty much year round, they’re fresher and better in the summer, and the best possible way to eat berries is in a pie!
This blueberry crumb pie recipe is one that my family has been using for years.
The crust is slightly sweet, and pairs nicely with the juicy blueberry filling. It’s also has a ton of butter, so it’s a little tricky to work out, but worth the effort. You are, of course, welcome to use whatever crust you like best. The filling has a few slightly unusual additions that really set it apart from your average blueberry – a little nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and – wait for it – creme de cassis. They may not be typical ingredients, but I’ll tell you what: Liz hates blueberries, and Liz loves this pie. True story! She’s requested it on more than one occasion, and she couldn’t put her finger on just what tasted so delicious. Well, whether it’s the spices or creme de cassis (we know it’s not the blueberries), this is basically the blueberry pie to end all pies. Oh, the brown sugar crumb doesn’t hurt either.
Butter? I barely know ‘er!
This recipe comes together like a standard pastry dough: cut your butter into small cubes (make sure it’s pliable, but still as cold as possible), and then rub it into the dry ingredients. Instead of using water as a binder, you’ll use a combination of eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice – it makes the dough a little richer. If it’s too crumbly, add ice cold water about a tablespoon at a time until it just holds together when you clump it in your fist. It will rehydrate more when it rests in the fridge. Do not try and skip that resting step, or you will be in a world of hurt when it comes time to roll it out.
It seems to me that everyone has a preferred method of rolling out pastry dough. If you have a system that works for you, by all means stick to it. This is always the most nerve wracking part for me. I like to roll out the dough between two big layers of plastic wrap after letting the dough warm up for about 5 minutes. Using a rolling pin, gently work the dough into a circle with about an inch of extra dough outside the outer diameter of your pie pan. Rotate the dough frequently, and peel and reset the plastic wrap as you work it. Once you have the right size, apply cooking spray to your pie pan (I cannot begin to count the number of swear words I have uttered as a result of forgetting this step), remove one layer of plastic wrap, and pick up the dough as gently as possible with one hand (there should still be a layer of plastic between your hand and the dough). Now the tricky part: I bring the pie pan to the dough, and then invert the whole thing. With a little luck, all I need to do is remove the remaining plastic wrap, and clean up the edges. If you have any cracks, don’t sweat it, just use some scrap dough to patch them. Crimp the dough to the top of the pan, and you are all set.
When it comes to baking, you’ll need to blind bake it first, pricking the bottom with a fork first, and then putting a layer of beans, rice, or pie weights on top of a layer of foil. We’ve got a bag of rice specially marked just for the purpose: because apparently if you try to cook that rice after you bake, it’s just disgusting.
Filling in the Details
The crumb topping is super fast to put together. Just stir it up. You might say that it’s easy as…pie?
Same with the filling. You pretty much just mix it altogether in a big bowl. Make sure that you thoroughly dry the blueberries after you rinse them. They will exude enough juice that they don’t need any help from water clinging to them. However, they DO get a bonus of flavor by the addition of creme de casis, a liqueur made from currants. It also helps add a deep purple color, and isn’t bad mixed up in some sangria.
Gently pour the filling into the pie shell, and sprinkle the topping on…well, top. The crust on the edges will brown faster, so cover with a pie shield or aluminum to keep it from incinerating. (<- Amazon affiliate link.) Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling.
Remove the oven and wait. Yes. You. Step away from the pie. Right now you have a bowl full of blueberry napalm. Go away. Come back in about 2 hours. This pie is good warm, room temperature, or cold out of the fridge. And since it contains fruit, you have my permission to eat it for breakfast. Top with your favorite ice cream and enjoy some of the best summer has to offer!
(Side note: this recipe has been in our family so long, I’m not sure where it came from. Maybe Gourmet magazine? If you know where it originated, let us know!)
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Now, back to blueberry crumb pie!
- 1 ¾ sticks (3/4 cup plus 2 TBS) cold unsalted butter
- 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ to ¾ tsp salt
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice or water
- ¾ cup all-purpose white flour
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 TBS canola oil
- 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 5 TBS all-purpose white flour
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp ground allspice
- 3 Tbs cornstarch
- 3 Tbs Creme de Casis
- 3 boxes blueberries (about 3 cups – rinsed and stems removed)*
- Cut butter into ½ inch cubes. In a bowl whisk together flour, sugar, and salt to taste. With your fingertips or a pastry blender blend together flour mixture and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.
- In a small bowl with a fork lightly beat together whole egg, yolk, vanilla, and lemon juice and stir into flour mixture. Toss mixture with fork until egg mixture is absorbed.
- With your hands gently knead mixture in bowl until it comes together and forms a dough. Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and knead 4 or 5 time. Form dough into a disk.
- Chill dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
- Makes enough dough for a 14 inch tart or double crust 9 inch pie.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Roll your dough out between two large pieces of plastic wrap. You may need to overal multiple pieces to make it big enough.
- Apply gentle pressure and roll the dough out. Rotate the dough, and peel and reset the wrap as needed.
- Apply cooking spray to the pie pan before you put the dough in it.
- Prior to placing in oven, prick holes in bottom of dough, line pie with foil and weigh down with dried beans/rice/pie weights. This will prevent a soggy crust for your fruit pie and will prevent the pie dough from shrinking in the pie pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- CAREFULLY remove foil and beans after the pre bake. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- In a bowl, stir together flour, granulated and brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add oil and lemon juice and work in with your fingertips until the mixture forms small crumbs. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice. Add blueberries OR drained peaches. Add approximately 3 TBS of Crème de Cassis to slightly moisten dry ingredients. Toss well with dry mixture.
- Pour mixture in pre baked pie crust and sprinkle the reserved crumb topping evenly over the blueberries. Protect pie crust edge from over baking with metal pie crust shield or aluminum foil formed in a circle and placed on pie crust edge.
- Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the pie crust edges and topping are golden brown.
- *If you're a fan of stone fruit, you can substitute 8-10 peaches to make this a peach pie. Boil the peaches for one minute, then immediately place in ice water to help peel the skins. Pit, slice, and drain the peaches for at least 15 minutes to avoid a soggy pie. Also omit the Creme de Casis.
Looking for another summery pie? How about a Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream Pie?