The Best Blueberry Pie I've Ever Had
This Homemade Blueberry Pie is the perfect combination of sweet and tart. The filling has a concentrated, bright fruit flavor that holds its shape when sliced. Even better, this recipe works well with fresh or frozen blueberries, so you can enjoy blueberry pie all year round.
This double crust pie uses my favorite Foolproof Pie crust because it's flaky, tender, and well... foolproof. Covering the top crust with a light dusting of sugar creates a delicious sweet crunch to every bite.
The Pleasure of Baking a Really Great Pie
Years ago, I read something in a newspaper article that has stayed with me ever since:
"When you bake a pie, you are in the kitchen in the company of ghosts." - In the South, Cake or Pie for Dessert? (NY Times)
Instantly, the many pies of my childhood came to mind, most of them baked by my Mom and Grandma. Fresh Cherry Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb, Apple Pie, and Chocolate Cream Pie are the ones I remember so clearly I can practically taste them.
I think this points to one of the many reasons why I love to bake. Baking is a uniquely personal way of connecting us to our past in a tangible way.
When we carve out a few precious hours to stand in the kitchen and bake these pies, we are indeed in the company of ghosts. It's comforting and real, and connects our past to our present with precious solidity.
Baking a blueberry pie is an opportunity to remember the pies of my past and the beautiful people who baked them. And, it gives me something to pass on to my own children so they can do the same.
How to Bake a Really Good Blueberry Pie
When I set about creating this recipe, I had three goals:
- I wanted the blueberry filling to have a concentrated, bright fruit flavor with a delicious balance of sweet and tart
- I wanted it to be easy to slice and serve
- I wanted the recipe to work equally well with fresh and frozen blueberries
After baking pie after pie (I know, life is rough around here), this recipe is the end result.
The Best Blueberry Pie Filling
Every kind of fruit pie filling needs something to thicken up up all that delicious fruit juice. The most popular thickeners include cornstarch, flour, and tapioca. All three are starches with a similar thickening power but also come with different advantages and disadvantages.
- Cornstarch can make fruit pie filling cloudy and give it a slightly chalky taste
- Tapioca creates a blueberry filling that is bright and clear, but can also give it a gluey consistency
- Flour is a thickener I generally stay away from completely when making fruit pies because it tends to make the filling cloudy and pasty, and gives it a floury flavor
The solution, is to use BOTH cornstarch and tapioca. Combining small amount of each delivers the same thickening power as using only one or the other. But because there's a smaller amount of each, we get all of their advantages without the disadvantages. The result is a blueberry pie filling that's glossy, luxuriously silky, and holds its shape when sliced.
The Best Way to Thicken Blueberry Pie Filling:
Before adding the tapioca and cornstarch, it's important to get the blueberries to release some of their juice so you have something to thicken! There are several ways to do this...
In my favorite Mixed Berry and Plum Pie, I like to let the juice drain from the berries, then thicken it separately before adding the fruit back in. This method helps to keep super delicate berries like raspberries somewhat intact through the baking process.
With blueberry pie, I prefer to do something slightly different:
- Cook half of the blueberries, breaking some of them up to create a super flavorful, concentrated blueberry syrup.
- Then add the cornstarch, tapioca, and the rest of the whole, fresh blueberries.
- This allows the tapioca and cornstarch to thicken all that delicious syrup, suspending the remaining whole blueberries in sliceable pieces of pie that aren't runny.
The end result is a mixture of rich, thick blueberry filling peppered throughout with whole blueberries as opposed to a fruit filling that runs all over the place the second you slice it.
How to make a flaky, sugary double pie crust
This recipe calls for my tried-and-true favorite pie crust, appropriately named Fool Proof Pie Crust. It's the crust I've been making for over 2 decades and it is, truly, fool proof thanks to two "secret" ingredients: vinegar and an egg.
Vinegar interferes with the formation of gluten in flour, which tenderizes the dough. In most pie crust recipes, you must take extreme care to not overwork the dough so that you don't activate the gluten in the flour and create a tough dough. In Fool Proof Pie Crust, the vinegar does a great job of guarding against gluten development so that you get a super tender and flaky crust every single time.
The egg in Fool Proof Pie Crust makes the dough more pliable and easy to roll out. The dough is quite elastic and rarely breaks, and when it does, it's super easy to stretch and press the dough as needed to cover the inside of a pie plate or the top of a pie.
That said, if you have a favorite pie crust recipe, please use that. Pie crust is often one of those things we were talking about earlier - a tangible connection to the past.
Regardless of what pie crust you use, giving the top a sprinkle of sugar is a must. That gorgeous sugary top not only looks pretty, it adds a lovely sweet crunch to every single bite.
Frequently Asked Questions about making a really good homemade blueberry pie:
Q: Should I thaw frozen blueberries before baking this pie?
A: There is no need to thaw frozen blueberries before baking this pie. Frozen blueberries will thaw perfectly well as the pie filling cooks, so there is no need to add the extra step of thawing the berries in advance.
Q: What's the difference between tapioca flour and tapioca pearls?
A: Tapioca flour/ starch is essentially the same thing as quick-cooking tapioca pearls. The only difference is in their presentation. In this recipe, if using tapioca pearls, grind them first in a food processor (or spice or coffee grinder). The resulting powder is essentially the same thing as tapioca flour. So, use which ever you prefer.
Q: Can I make a lattice crust for this pie?
A: Absolutely! This pie will bake up just as well under a rolled crust, as pictured here, or a lattice crust. It's completely up to you. If you've never made a lattice top crust but want to give it a try, there are step-by-step photos in the post for Fresh Peach Pie that will show you how!
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Scroll down to rate it and leave a comment for me, or take a picture and tag it @ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
- 1 recipe Fool Proof Pie Crust, chilled for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator
- ¼ cup (45.5g) minute tapioca pearls - OR ⅓ cup (43.3g) tapioca flour/ starch (*see note)
- 8 cups (1520g) fresh or frozen blueberries
- ¼ cup (59ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¾ cup (150g) + 2 tbsp (24g) granulate sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- ¼ cup (85g) honey or maple syrup
- 3 tbsp (22.5)cornstarch
- ½ tsp (3g) salt
- 2 tsp (9.8ml) pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp (24g) granulate sugar for sprinkling over the top crust
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 degrees C)
- If using tapioca pearls, add them to the bowl of a food processor (a small one works best). Or, use a spice of coffee grinder. Process until the tapioca is powdery and set aside. (*See note about the difference between tapioca pearls and tapioca flour.)
- Add 4 cups (760g) of the blueberries to a medium size, heavy bottom saucepan along with the lemon juice and granulated sugar.
- Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. When the mixture begins to simmer, turn the heat up slightly and cook, stirring constantly, until the juice from the mashed blueberries has thickened slightly. This will take about 8 minutes. As you stir, mash some of the berries on the side of the pan to break some of them up.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the tapioca, lemon zest, honey, cornstarch, salt, and the remaining blueberries. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes to soften the tapioca.
- Return the saucepan to medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently. Let simmer for 3-5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tbsp of cold water and set aside.
- Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator. On a floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough to a 12-inch circle that’s about ⅛-inch thick.
- Using a large spatula, gently loosen the dough from the work top, fold it in half and then fold it in half again. It will form a triangle shape. Lift the crust and place it in a pie plate with the point of the triangle in the center of the plate. Gently unfold the dough in the pan and press into the corners gently. Leave any dough that overlaps the edges of the plate in place. (Click here for step-by-step photos of this process.)
- Pour the blueberry pie filling into the pie crust.
- Roll another portion of the pie dough into another 12-inch circle, about ⅛ inch thick. Just as you did with the bottom crust, using a large spatula, gently loosen the dough from the work top, fold it in half and then fold it in half again. Lift the crust and place it on the top of the pie with the point of the triangle in the center. Gently unfold the dough to cover the blueberry filling completely.
- Trim the edges of the crust so that you have about a half of an inch hanging over the pie plate. Fold the edges under, forming a rim around the pie that is higher than the pie plate. With one hand on the inside of the edge and one hand on the outside, use the index finger of your inside hand to push the dough between the thumb and index finger of your other hand to form a U or a V shape. Continue this crimping motion around the entire edge.
- Gently brush the egg wash over the top crust with a pastry brush and sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. With a sharp knife, cut 5 slits, evenly spaced to form a circle, in the top pie crust.
- Put the pie on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F (190.5 degrees C), rotate the pie in the oven and bake for an additional 30-45 minutes. The pie is done when the crust is golden brown and the filling in the center of the pie is bubbling.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack, about 4-6 hours, before slicing.
What's the difference between tapioca flour and tapioca pearls?
Tapioca flour/ starch is essentially the same thing as ground quick-cooking tapioca pearls. So, use which ever you prefer.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 381Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 339mgCarbohydrates: 65gFiber: 6gSugar: 29gProtein: 4g
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