How to CookDIY FoodPie

Tips for Firmer Fruit Fillings

25 + Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

There are so many great conversations on the Hotline -- it's hard to choose a favorite. But we'll be doing it, once a week, to spread the wealth of our community's knowledge -- and to keep the conversation going.

Tips for Firmer Fruit Fillings, from Food52

We can’t get enough of fruit fillings in pies, buckles, crumbles, and their more flamboyantly named kin. (If you can’t either, there’s still time to enter the current contest!) A foundation of warm fruit in a dessert is delicious, but too much liquid and your bottom crust is soaked, or you’ve got a serving of fruit soup instead of a crisp

Cristinasciarra made a raspberry pie that tasted great, but wasn’t holding together, so she turned to the Hotline for help. The best ideas we’ve seen?

  • Adding in another fruit that’s high in pectin, like a grated Granny Smith apple or a puréed kiwi, from hardlikearmour.
  • HalfPint shares a trick that involves macerating the fruit, then simmering and reducing the collected juice -- creating a syrup to pour over the fruit before it’s baked.
  • Multiple users recommend the addition of tapioca. Lapadia is a fan of instant (or quick cooking) tapioca and breaks down the specifics: "It needs to be mixed with the pie filling ingredients and sit for about 10 minutes to allow the beads to soften and start to absorb the juices. Later, while the filling is baking, the beads swell and become transparent, ending with a filling that is not too runny or thick, with a beautiful glossy sheen. Note: don’t confuse instant with regular tapioca. I use 3 tablespoons instant tapioca per 4 cups berries."
  • Pegreen adds another tip that can be used in conjuntion with tapioca -- blind-baking the bottom crust, and then lining it with a layer of thinly rolled cold almond paste.

What are your best tips for avoiding runny fruit fillings? Add your two cents to the question on the Hotline here or continue the conversation in the comments below! 

Tags: hotline question of the week, hotline, question, best question, pie, fruit filling, how-to & diy

💬 View Comments ()

Comments (10)


about 2 years ago ivalleria

I have pie crusts with the air holes on the bottom, and think it helps to keep the bottom crust crispy. I don't pre-bake and it's usually fine. I also toss tapioca flour with my fillings, but i'm still experimenting with that.


about 2 years ago barbara simon

I use clearjel when I can pie filling during the summer months as it doesn't break down during baking the way regular cornstarch does. Prebaking the bottom crust, and precooking the filling on the stove will shorten the baking time and also help prevent a soggy crust, if you use a firmer bottom crust.


about 2 years ago calendargirl

My mother always used to put down a thin layer of fruit jam or jelly on the bottom of the crust before adding the filling, but I can't wait to try Pegreen's almond paste!


about 2 years ago fearlessem

To me it is all about using more than you'd think... I make a killer blueberry pie, from berries we freeze in the summer (and frozen berries tend to give off more juices). For one 9 inch pie, we use 3 Tablespoons of corn starch and 3 Tablespoons of flour, and blend those with the sugar before adding them to about 6 cups of berries. It may look like a lot of thickener, but it produces a perfectly textured pie -- sliceable but not gelatinous.


about 2 years ago Marian Bull

Whoah, Pegreen, you just blew my mind with that almond paste tip.


about 2 years ago Rinchen

Allesbinder is the best product I know of. Find it in a Dutch grocery.


about 2 years ago crcmen

Instant ClearJel from works great every time. I've been using it for years! The amount of Clearjel you need depends on the juiciness of your fruit. Apples are not quite dry but have a lot of pectin, natural thickener; use about 1 to 2 tablespoons of Clearjel in a typical 9” pie. Berries can be very juicy; a raspberry or mixed berry pie will probably need 3 to 5 tablespoons Clearjel, depending in whether you want the filling to be somewhat runny, or very stiff. Even using the maximum amount of Clearjel will result in a pleasing, “soft” gel, unlike the stiff, hard gel you’d get with gelatin.


about 2 years ago Fitchburg1

I sprinkle ~3T of the tapioca and sugar mixture on the bottom of the pie crust before adding the fruit mixture.


about 2 years ago jamcook

I find hat too much of one kind of thickener has drawbacks. I find that all cornstarch makes pies a little too gluey, and all flour , a little too pasty. For six cups of a very juicy filling, I combine the two.. About 3 Tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of flour or a combination of instant tapioca and cornstarch and flour. This may sound like a lot but the pie still bubbles nice


about 2 years ago jamcook

Nicely and has plenty of flavorful juice. One also must exercise restraint and let,the at least an hour. If baked in Pyrex or ceramic it will still be nice and warm after a few hours.i