Blueberry Crumble Pie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes one 9 inch 23 cm ) pie, about

    8

    generous servings

Appears in

It will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I like to use a sweet dough for fruit pies. There’s something homey and comforting about that tender dough wrapped around a juicy fruit filling that a flaky dough just can’t match. And it’s especially good when complemented with the slightly spicy flavor of fresh blueberries. I’ve used the following method for blueberry, cherry, and rhubarb pies for about 20 years now, and I think it results in a nicely thickened filling that doesn’t go to either extreme—it’s neither so juicy that it’s impossible to cut a wedge of pie without it falling apart nor so firm that the filling doesn’t budge when you cut into it. I achieve this by cooking some of the berries with the sugar until they release their juices, then thickening those juices with a little cornstarch. I fold those thickened juices into the rest of the berries along with the seasonings. While the pie is baking, the raw berries release more juices that mingle with those already thickened and result in a perfectly textured filling, and the cornstarch gets a second cooking in the oven so there is no starchy taste in the finished pie.

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Ingredients

Crumble Topping

  • cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into a dry-measure cup and level off)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Blueberry Filling

  • 6 cups blueberries, rinsed, drained, and picked over
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 10 pieces
  • One 9-inch (23-cm) single piecrust, unbaked, made from Sweet Tart Dough

Method

  1. Set a rack on the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C).
  2. First, prepare the crumble topping. Combine the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a bowl and stir well to mix. Stir the brown sugar into the melted butter and then scrape it into the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the butter so that all the flour is evenly moistened. Set aside while preparing the filling.
  3. For the filling, put 1 cup of the blueberries and all the sugar in a medium saucepan. Set the pan over low heat and stir often to bruise the berries so they release their juices as the mixture heats up, and their juices dissolve the sugar. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the berry mixture is boiling.
  4. While the berry mixture is coming to a boil, whisk the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Stir in about ½ cup of the blueberry juices, then pour the cornstarch mixture into the boiling berry juices, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Cook, stirring constantly, until the juices thicken, return to a boil, and become clear.
  5. Put the remaining berries in a large bowl with the nutmeg. Use a large rubber spatula to fold in the thickened juices. Fold in the butter and scrape the filling into the prepared piecrust.
  6. Use your fingertips to break the crumble into ¼- to ½-inch (6-mm to 1-cm) crumbs. Scatter the crumbs evenly over the filling.
  7. Bake the pie until the crust and crumbs are well colored and baked through and the filling is gently bubbling, about 40 minutes. Cool the pie on a rack and serve it at room temperature.

Serving

Make sure the pie has cooled completely or it will be impossible to serve intact wedges. Cut the pie at the table and use a triangular pie spatula to lift out the wedges. If you have some vanilla ice cream lying around, this is the time to use it.

Storage

Keep the pie at room temperature on the day it is baked. Cover it with foil to keep beyond the first day.

Variation

Sour Cherry Crumber Pie: Substitute pounds (1 kg) sour cherries, rinsed, dried, stemmed, and pitted, for the blueberries. Substitute ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon for the nutmeg.

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