Homemade blueberry pie bursting with ripe, juicy fruit nestled inside a buttery crust. The recipe has the perfect ratio of delicious filling ingredients to ensure beautiful, sturdy slices.
Table of Contents
Baking is a labor of love, and when I’m not serving up my classic apple pie, I enjoy experimenting with other fillings. Blueberries are easy to work with and allow you to skip the cutting of the fruit. Preparation is further sped up when I make my homemade pie crust a day or two in advance. That way, you can just roll, fill, shape, and bake without waiting for the dough to chill.
When developing this recipe, I made sure the whole juicy berries would suspend in a smooth, thickened compote-like sauce without ultimately solidifying into a firm jam. Using cornstarch provides a glossy shine and helps firm up the juices, preventing a watery filling. The next time you’re at the market, grab a few baskets of berries. You won’t regret making this pie from scratch!
Making the pie dough
To achieve a flaky crust, I use a pie dough called Pâte Brisée, which I often use for sweet and savory desserts like pecan pie and chicken pot pie. It’s only four ingredients; all-purpose flour, water, salt, and unsalted butter. However, it’s essential to break the butter down into small pea-sized pieces.
I use the paddle attachment on a stand mixer to quickly break down the butter, but a food processor, dough/pastry blender, or fingers work well too. When you roll out the dough, the fat flattens into little discs. During baking, steam from the butter releases and creates tender, flaky layers of crust.
Chill the dough
It’s essential to let the dough chill for at least 4 hours. This duration gives time for the gluten proteins to relax, preventing a tough, rugged texture. I prefer to make it the day before, so it’s ready to bake once the filling is done. Alternatively, you can use store-bought pie crust. However, baking times may differ, so keep a close eye on the color change.
Let the dough sit for about 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature before rolling out. This process allows the butter to soften slightly. Roll the top and bottom crust out to ¼-inch thickness. This provides an excellent ratio of crust-to-fruit and ensures sturdy slices. Make sure to chill the dough while you prepare the rest of the components.
I use a shallow 9-inch pie dish that’s about 1 ½-inches tall. This size gives thick slices with a crust that nicely lays on the edge of the pie plate. I prefer glass cookware. It takes a little longer to get the temperature up, but it retains heat better over time. Plus, I like to see when the sides of the crust turn golden in color.
Once you roll out the bottom crust, gently press it into the sides of the pie dish. Trim about a ½-inch overhang, making it easier to crimp later. Chill the bottom crust in the refrigerator to keep the butter firm while you make the other components. Doing so prevents the dough from thinning out before the fruit is added.
Fresh blueberries work best! They have the ideal texture contrast of whole pieces, with some that pop and release their juices to form a thick, syrupy coating. Give a few a taste before baking to gauge if you need to add any additional sugar into the filling.
If using frozen blueberries, do not defrost them before baking. I also find they are slightly sweeter because farmers harvest and freeze them at their peak ripeness. Fresh wild blueberries generally have more fruit per pound so that the flavor will be more concentrated and denser with more skin-to-flesh content.
Prepare the blueberry filling
I use nearly two pounds of blueberries, about 6 cups. This amount ensures a concentrated fruit flavor as they cook and condense during baking. I didn’t want to mask the delicate taste of the berries, so I kept the filling simple. Granulated sugar gives a pure sweetness, and vanilla adds dimension. Freshly grated lemon zest and juice add a nice citrus note, and the acidity balances the sweetness.
A pinch of salt and ground cinnamon enhances the taste without overpowering the fruit, instead of letting it shine. Mix the dry ingredients first before adding in the fruit or liquids. This technique ensures that the fine particles of sugar and cornstarch evenly coat the berries. Distribute the fruit into the bottom crust, so they pack together for easier slicing later.
For a decorative top crust
For a pretty presentation that gets all the compliments, make a lattice top crust. You simply weave strips of dough about 1-inch wide, then crimp the edges to hold the top and bottom layers together. I like how you can see the fruit peaking through the crust.
A lattice crust also functions to provide more ventilation and concentrates the moisture in the filling for a thicker consistency. Feel free to get creative and use cookie cutters to make fun shapes like hearts or stars. Otherwise, keep it classic with a smooth double crust with just a few small vents poked in on top.
Brush on egg wash
To create a golden brown color on the surface of the pie crust, I use a whole egg and milk. The yolk adds a yellow hue, while the egg whites help the egg wash stick to the crust. A small amount of milk or cream has milk solids that brown, adding a nice flavor and more profound color change. I like to sprinkle a generous amount of granulated sugar or more coarse granules on top for extra crunch and sweetness.
Place the pie dish on a lined baking sheet as the filling does bubble, and it may spill over. You want to ensure that the filling is getting hot enough to activate the thickening powers of the cornstarch. Bake in the center of the oven starting at 400°F (204°C) for 30 minutes. This kick starts the color change on the surface due to the Maillard browning reaction.
To thoroughly cook the pie, reduce the heat to 350ºF (177ºC) to allow for gentle cooking over a more extended period, about 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. I also use an instant-read thermometer to check for the doneness of the filling. It should be scorching, about 203ºF (95ºC) deep in the center. If you see the edges or top getting too brown, loosely tent foil over the surface or around the edges.
Although you’ll want to dig in right away, you must let the pie cool down. This process allows the hot butter in the crust to firm up, making it easier to slice. It also gives the cornstarch time to set. Otherwise, the fruit filling will be too thin and will flow out.
Ideally, the filling should hold and cling together but still have a soft pudding-like consistency. I recommend cooling for at least 4 hours, or you can let it sit overnight on a wire rack on the counter and serve the next day.
Serve this with
Cultivated blueberries are larger and more uniform in size. They are also available year-round. Wild blueberries are grown naturally and harvested between July and September. They are smaller, with varying sweetness levels, and frozen within 24 hours of picking to lock in the nutrients. Wild blueberries have nearly double the amount of healthy flavonoid anthocyanins [Source].
Cornstarch is highly effective at thickening the fruit filling while also giving an attractive glossy sheen. Equal amounts of tapioca flour/starch make for a suitable substitute. If using flour, double the amount and note that it will be more opaque in appearance and may taste pasty. For arrowroot powder, use 1 ½ times the amount. Use thickening agents carefully as too much, and the filling will overly harden.
Yes! Just don’t defrost the berries before using them. Otherwise, it will prematurely rupture the cell walls, releasing too much moisture and cause the filling to be runny. If you drain off the moisture, the texture will become dry and less flavorful. Immediately toss frozen berries with the filling ingredients, then bake. You’ll need extra baking time to get the fruit to defrost in the oven. Make sure the filling reaches about 203ºF (95ºC) to ensure proper thickening.
Use cornstarch to thicken the filling
I use cornstarch to thicken the juices that release from the berries. I find that a ratio of 6 cups of berries to 5 tablespoons of cornstarch is enough to suspend the fruit in a loose gel without being too watery or hard. Compared to all-purpose flour, you use half the amount for the same thickening power. When it reaches 203ºF (95ºC), the starches create a loose gel-like matrix that tightens up the moisture in the filling. I like how it cooks to a clear shiny appearance, as opposed to flour which would be more opaque.
Pin this recipe to save for laterPin This
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ¾ cups unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes, chilled
- ¾ cup ice-cold water, chilled
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 cups blueberries
- 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into ⅛-inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, or coarse sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten for egg wash
- 1 tablespoon whole milk, or cream
- Keep ice water and diced butter in the refrigerator until ready to use. In a stand mixer bowl, add the flour and salt. Combine using the paddle attachment on the lowest speed (Stir) for about 10-seconds.
- Add chilled diced butter to the bowl. At the lowest speed, turn the mixer on and off quickly for a few seconds to coat the butter with the flour. This helps to prevent the flour from spilling over. Continue to mix at low speed until the flour and butter resemble wet sand with coarse crumbles and pea-sized pieces remain, about 60 to 75-seconds. Use fingers to break up further if necessary. Do not overmix. The dough should not bind together before adding the water. Alternatively, use a dough/pastry blender or your fingers to break the butter into the dough.
- Gradually add 1 tablespoon of ice-cold water to the bowl. After each addition, turn the mixer on for 1 to 2-seconds. Only add enough water until the dough looks lumpy and hydrated but not wet or sticky. Where it just begins to clump together with small crumbles on the bottom of the bowl. All of the water may not be needed, about 8 to 10 tablespoons is typical. When the dough is pinched together, it should compress and hold, not be dry or crumbly. Do not over mix. The dough will be pressed together before resting.
- Separate the dough into 2 even-sized portions, about 1 pound (454 grams) each. Press them into a 1-inch thick round disc and cover separately in plastic wrap. Place both in a resealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator to rest for at least 4-hours, overnight, or up to 2 days.
- Once removed from the refrigerator, allow the crust to sit at room temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes or until pliable. This will make it easier to roll.
- Dust the counter and top of the dough with flour. When rolling out, make sure to rotate and dust underneath and on the top. This will prevent sticking and make it easier to transfer to the pie dish. Roll the dough into a 12 to 13-inch circle, about ¼-inch thick.
- Bottom Crust: Place the rolled-out dough into a 9-inch pie dish and gently press against the sides and bottom. With a paring knife, trim the excess, leaving a ½-inch overhang to fold over later. Place the prepared pie dish in the refrigerator to keep cold.
- Lattice Crust: Using the top crust portion, roll out a 13 by 10-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into ten strips that are about 13-inches long and 1-inch wide. Transfer to a sheet pan and refrigerate to make it easier to weave.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt. Add the blueberries, lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir until evenly coated.
- Take the bottom crust and lattice pieces out of the refrigerator. Place the blueberry filling mixture into the pie dish, spread out evenly to fill any gaps. Dot the blueberries with the cubed butter to prevent sticking to the crust.
- To make the lattice, lay 5 parallel strips evenly over the filling, then weave the remaining pieces. Trim a ½-inch overhang on the edges to press with the bottom crust. Fold the excess dough over the edge and crimp by pinching the dough using the pointer and thumb fingers.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Brush the egg wash on the top and edges of the crust. Sprinkle the surface with granulated sugar.
- Place the oven rack in the center position. Preheat to 400°F (204°C). Line a half sheet pan with aluminum foil.
- Place the pie dish on the foil-lined baking sheet and bake until the crust begins to turn golden brown, about 30 minutes.
- Without removing the pie from the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (177ºC). Bake until the top and sides of the crust are deep golden brown, and the blueberries are bubbling, about 40 to 50 minutes. The filling center should be about 203ºF (95ºC) to ensure proper thickening of the cornstarch. If the edges or top begin to get too dark, loosely tent the surface with foil. This may be needed after 25 to 35 minutes.
- Let the pie sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 4 hours before serving to set the filling. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
- For a double crust: Roll out the top crust into a ¼-inch thick circle, about 12-inches in diameter. Lay the flat top crust over the filling dotted with butter. Trim the excess to about ¾-inch hanging over the pie plate. Gently press the dough against the fruit, fold the excess underneath the bottom crust edges, and crimp. Using a small round cookie cutter, about 1-inch in size, cut a hole in the top for venting.
- For a sweeter filling: Increase granulated sugar to ¾ cups and lemon juice to 2 tablespoons to balance the flavor.
- Storing: The fully baked pie can be covered and left at room temperature for one day before eating or refrigerating. Wrap and store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- To Reheat: Place pie dish on a parchment-lined sheet pan and loosely cover with foil. Bake at 225ºF (107ºC) until warmed through, about 20 to 25 minutes, depending on if its been at room temperature or cold from the refrigerator. Individual slices can be reheated on a foil-lined baking sheet until warmed through.
Want to save this recipe?
Create an account easily save your favorite content, so you never forget a recipe again.
Tried this recipe?
Tag @jessica_gavin on Instagram. I'd love to see how it turns out!