It’s pie season! Here’s how to make a basic fruit pie

Guest post by Alissa

Since it’s the holiday season (or, as I like to think of it, PIE season!), here’s a recipe post on how to make a basic fruit pie.

Clearly, I loooove pie, but I always thought it was too difficult to make. A year or two ago I learned that, with a few shortcuts, pie is really easy to make. Dangerously easy, in fact. I cannot be held responsible if you get into a pie-making rut and make a LOT of pie.


Ingredients

  • frozen pie shell
  • 10-12 oz fresh or frozen fruit for filling
  • cornstarch
  • lemon juice
  • butter
  • sugar
  • flour (plus some oatmeal, if you wish)

Instructions:

Turn your oven on to 425 F.

Put your fruit in a medium-sized bowl with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/2 cup sugar. If you’re using frozen fruit, like me, it needs to warm up a bit. The picture below is what it should NOT look like. My fruit is so frozen that even after stirring you can still see the dusty corn starch and grainy sugar. Also, my butter is a big chunk. Cut that butter into Cheerio-or-smaller-sized pieces, stir some more, and let it sit to thaw a bit.

Meanwhile, for the crumble topping, melt half a stick of butter (4 tablespoons, 1/4 cup) in the microwave. I usually do this in a large coffee mug, and have found it’s best to do 30 seconds, wait 1-2 minutes, 30 more seconds to keep the butter from melting so fast that it boils over and makes a mess.

Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup flour to your melted butter (or, if you like the texture, 1/4 cup plain uncooked oatmeal instead of flour). Stir them together with a fork.

Now you’re going to begin adding flour (no oatmeal from this point on) 1/8 cup at a time to your melted butter mixture, stirring in between each addition with your fork. You want to get your mixture to just the consistency of a crumble top and looking kinda like popcorn (see below). For this pie, when I used oatmeal, it took four additions. Don’t over-flour this; as soon as it comes together, stop adding flour. Here’s in process pictures between flour additions:

Now go back to look at your fruit. After a bit of thawing and stirring, this is how it’s supposed to look (with chunks of butter).

Pour the mixture into your pie crust.

Grab the crumbles and spread them all on the top.

Put the pie on a cookie sheet and put it in your 425 oven for 40 minutes. (There’s also a thing you can do where you put foil around the edge to get perfectly browned crust, but I’m too lazy and it doesn’t matter much.)

Your pie may ooze a little during cooking like mine has, which is why you have the cookie sheet to catch the mess.

At this point it’s tempting to go, “Mmm, pie!” and dig right in, but DO NOT DO IT! The inside of your pie is all soupy and hasn’t set yet. Let the cornstarch do its sciency-magic-thing by letting your pie cool for at least an hour so that the middle can “gel.” If you like hot pie, you can always pop a slice in the microwave later.

But afterwards, by all means, enjoy that homemade pie of yours!

Notes:

My frozen raspberry bag was 10oz, so I used half the bag and a 6oz box of blackberries. As long as you have 10-12 oz, you can use fresh, frozen, or a combo of both.

This recipe works well with just about any berry (or combination of them) and also frozen peaches (cut them into bite-sized pieces first). I have not tried this recipe with cherries or apples.

If you use a “deep dish” sized frozen pie crust you’ll want an additional 5-6oz of fruit, but otherwise the recipe is the same.

Comments on It’s pie season! Here’s how to make a basic fruit pie

  1. Peel and cut several apples into slices or small chunks. Chuck in pie with flour, sugar, butter and spice. Put pastry crust on top, brush with milk, sprinkle with sugar and poke some holes in the top. Bake for an hour. The apple, flour etc mix will cook inside the pie, coming out delish. I don’t bother to mix it well or anything. It’ll all come together in the oven. If you’re confused, don’t overthink it. Apple pie is wicked easy!

    • I like to chop up apples small and then let the apple slices hang out in brown sugar and cinnamon, since I like them really mushy and don’t like apple pie that has large chunks, so that works well for my tastes.

    • Awesome, thanks for the tips, Kathryn and Emma! The more fruit pies I make, the more convinced I am that pie’s ease-of-preparation-to-final-product-taste ratio is far superior to all other desserts.

  2. Home-made pie crust is also ridiculously easy if you have a food processor or (my favorite) a pastry cutter. It doesn’t need to be perfect, either – big chunks of butter = flakier pie crust.

    • It also works really well with a cheese grater, especially if the butter is frozen (keeps the dough cold longer, resulting in much flakier crust).

    • It is my ambition this Thanksgiving to make pie crust, too. I have tried in the past and failed miserably. I’ve heard that food processor is one of the key things – which I don’t have – but haven’t heard of grating butter! What a cool idea! Will have to try that. 🙂

      • Okay, I made homemade pie crust for my two pies this Thanksgiving! Yay me! It wasn’t that hard, but it was rather of time-consuming. There was a definite sense of satisfaction in “yes, I made this WHOLE pie from SCRATCH!” but I’m not sure it’ll become a frequent thing. One-dollar frozen pie shells are still just too convenient. 🙂

  3. Thank you for this post! My husband loves pie like nobody’s business, but I’ve never tried making one. Made this today with frozen mixed berries and it was freakin’ awesome!

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