Serves a Crowd

Raspberry Swamp Pie

July  7, 2011
3 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

I like cream in my pie, not on my pie. So I was like a moth to light when I read Tamasin Day-Lewis’s Sugar-Topped Raspberry Plate Tart recipe, which starts as a pure-bred fruit pie for its first baking. Then comes the fun part: you take the pie out of the oven as its burbling with warm raspberry juices, and pour a custard through a funnel beneath the crust, like you’re flooding a mine. Then you send it into the oven for one last lashing of heat. The custard doesn't behave exactly as planned. Most of it floods the mine, while the rest floods the crust plain. It all gets a little swampy, in a good way.

I started with Day-Lewis's recipe but ended up somewhere else. I didn't bother with her crust, which I'm sure would have been fine, but it called for weights and I was miles from a scale. I turned to the crostata crust in Cucina Simpatica, but couldn't resist fussing. Taking a nod from Merrill's mom's recipe for Secret Cookies, I used salted butter. In place of the regular sugar, I opted for turbinado, and I increased the flour to make the dough slightly more cooperative.

In Italy, there are cookies called brutti ma buoni -- ugly but good. This pie is their sweet cousin. —Amanda Hesser

What You'll Need
  • For the pie crust
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling out
  • 2 sticks salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water, plus more if needed
  • For the filling
  • 1 pound raspberries
  • 1/3 cup vanilla sugar (or sugar blended with either the seeds of half a vanilla bean or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Place the sugar in the bowl of a food processor and puree until the sugar granules are fine. Add the flour, and pulse the mixture to blend.
  2. Add the cubed butter, and pulse until the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. With the motor running, add the ice water through the feed tube, and stop the machine as soon as a mass begins forming. If you pinch a small piece of dough and it holds together, this means it’s ready.
  3. Lay out two large squares of plastic wrap and divide the dough among them, making one lump slightly larger than the other. Use the plastic wrap to help you shape each mass into a disk, then wrap it up and chill for at least 1 hour.
  4. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured board (or between layers of lightly floured plastic wrap), roll out the larger disk of dough to a circle 1/8-inch thick, about 12 inches in diameter. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough. Chill the lined pie dough, while you roll out the other disk to a circle 1/8-inch thick.
  5. In a mixing bowl, fold together the raspberries, vanilla sugar, and flour. In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy.
  6. Fill the lined pie plate with the raspberry mixture. Top with the second layer of dough. Trim the edges with scissors so there’s ¾-inch dough hanging from the edge of the pie plate. Roll this under to meet the edge of the plate and pat it down lightly to seal and flatten the edge. Brush the top of the pie with the egg white and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Cut a cross in the center of the pie and 4 vents around the rest of the pie.
  7. Bake the pie for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the cream and egg yolk in a measuring cup with a spout and leave out at room temperature. After 40 minutes, the pie top should be golden and there should be raspberry juices bubbling from the vents. Remove the pie from the oven.
  8. Press a funnel with a narrow tip into the center pie vent and slowly begin pouring in the cream mixture. Pour the cream into each of the pie vents. Some of the cream will sneak under the crust and some will pool on top. Don’t worry about how it looks, but go slowly so you don’t completely drown the crust.
  9. Set the pie back in the oven and bake until the cream just sets but is still a little wiggly in the center, about 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let the pie cool off before serving -- or it will be more soupy than swampy!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Shanaralane
  • holly dart
    holly dart
  • Jacob Capra
    Jacob Capra
  • Marian Bull
    Marian Bull
  • FischFood
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

57 Reviews

Shanaralane July 7, 2022
I look forward to making this pie every year as soon as it's raspberry season. I have been making it since 2013 and it is still my all time favorite pie ever!
Amanda H. July 7, 2022
I'm so please to hear this -- you've made my day!
holly D. October 25, 2019
This was so very tasty! I did not use the crust recipe, I always ignore pie crust recipes and opt for my favorite one. When I realized that the crust recipe might make a difference in this case, as the recipe listed here has quite a bit of sugar, I added some sugar to the cream and egg custard mixture, just to make sure I had the correct balance of sweetness. It worked beautifully, the all-butter crust recipe I am loving right now also worked beautifully. I used fresh raspberries. The pie was cut about 4 hours after it finished baking. the interior did leak a bit into the pan but it wasn’t bad- not enough leaking for the bottom crust to get soggy. I also didn’t even think the pie looked ugly- it was still a beautiful pie if a bit unconventional with some cream pooling. About cream pooling- I recommend a squeeze bottle if possible for pouring the cream in. My cream wanted to just pool on top of the pie without the squeeze bottle to sort of inject it.
Amanda H. July 7, 2022
I somehow missed your comment -- so sorry! Thank you for sharing all this detail and for the squeeze bottle tip!
Eileen F. August 27, 2018
Do you think this could be made with frozen berries, or would they be too watery after it defrosted as it bakes? Would adding more flour/cornstarch make it work?
Amanda H. August 27, 2018
I'd worry about it being too soggy even if you added more flour or cornstarch.
Eileen F. August 27, 2018
Thanks for your quick reply. I'll get some fresh berries.
holly D. October 19, 2019
I have not tried it with this pie, but with other pies I have had success with frozen berries or peaches if I partially defrost and drain. For berries I defrost most of the way, for peaches just partly or they start to turn brown. Then just drain off any liquid and proceed as you would. It works better than I thought it would, I am pretty picky about my pies. In this case I wonder if the custard would get pink from the juices
Margaux July 19, 2018
I wish this worked well for me! Pie came out looking delicious but the filling wasn't sufficient to match the dough. So when I added the egg yolk and cream mixture it didn't meld well. Actually curdled a bit. Will try this again with more filling
Jacob C. November 1, 2014
I made this last weekend for my family after we went to the pumpkin patch and sticking with our Halloween theme, I dyed the cream a radioactive green and called toxic swamp pie. They loved it, especially the kids!
Amanda H. November 2, 2014
Great idea -- hilarious!
Teddi October 19, 2014
Amanda, have you tried this with a gluten free flour?
Amanda H. October 19, 2014
I haven't -- you could ask on the Hotline, someone might be able to help you figure it out.
Marian B. September 1, 2014
I made this last night with blueberries, and it was a huge hit. I didn't have a funnel so I just sort of poured the cream in there, and we ate it with spoons in bowls, and my parents and I made quite the dent.
Karla W. July 23, 2014
Made this last night and it's so tasty! I broke the crust up pretty badly trying to get it into the pan, so it looked bad going into the oven (figured I'd just be putting cream on top anyway, so eh, whatever...), but then puffed up a bit during baking and you couldn't even tell, perfect, this may be my new go-to crust!
Also, I realized I didn't have a funnel partway in, so used a little honey squeeze bottle for getting the cream/egg yolk into the vents and it worked beautifully!
Amanda H. July 23, 2014
Nice improvisation!
Mumsy01 July 21, 2014
i can't wait to make this one! i've always made apple and also peach pie this way! oh, to die for!
FischFood July 18, 2014
Honestly Amanda, you should win an award for this pie. I do my fair share of cooking & baking (I just recently cooked for the finale of Dancing With The Stars and will return again next season- you can see the detail links below) and have never tasted a better fruit pie! It's so good, that I plan on baking off several others for next season's event for DWTS's.. and will give you full credit. Any more gems like these tucked away..please share!!
Amanda H. July 20, 2014
Thanks so much!
radovanovic.rade June 28, 2014
How much is a stick of butter? Thank you for this recipe and this great site!
creamtea June 28, 2014
One stick of butter is 8 tablespoons, or 4 oz. or 113 grams.
MrsRawles November 14, 2013
I've been wanting to make this for so long, looks incredible. Can it be baked before dinner and sit for an hour or two before eating? Thanks!
Amanda H. November 14, 2013
Yes, absolutely.
Valerie S. August 28, 2013
I experimented way too wildly while trying to execute this concept... basically added the swamp technique to a different crust/filling recipe, and it didn't work out. The filling was peach and it, as for a previous commenter, absorbed the cream and left scattered chunks, basically, but no pools. Also, when I took my pie out of the oven the top had puffed up/domed and there was no place for cream to pool on the top, as desired. The cream that didn't make it into the vents just ran off the pie. I'm going to try it again with the precise recipe!
FischFood August 22, 2013
You just know when you see that certain recipe (food intuition)- that it's going to be good. Made this yesterday- FA Nominal! Didn't change a thing; was one of the best pies I have ever tasted. The crust was almost that of a shortbread & the overall taste was sweet (not overly), creamy & just a bit tart.
Amanda H. August 22, 2013
Thanks for the glowing comment -- really glad you like it, and like your description of the crust. You're right -- it's not a typical pie crust at all.
Valerie S. July 6, 2013
Wow I have never heard of something like this and it sounds de-licious. I just learned to make pie crust right and am ready for further experimentation. Swamp pie!
Count M. July 5, 2013
I made this with strawberries yesterday. I couldn't find my funnel (it's collapsible, and my 5 year old often makes off with it to use as a toy), so I used an empty (and VERY well washed-out) sriracha bottle. It fit perfectly into the vents to squeeze the cream in. Very handy.
Amanda H. July 5, 2013
Excellent improvisation!
Shanaralane July 2, 2013
I waited all year to make this pie again with fresh raspberries from my garden and it was so worth it. This is hands down my favorite fruit pie recipe. This year I'm going to "swamp" everything: peaches, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, they would all be awesome. Thanks for my new favorite easy go-to recipe.
Amanda H. July 2, 2013
Glad to hear it -- I'm going to make it for a dinner party next week!
mbj913 July 4, 2012
i made blueberry swamp tart today. used favorite tart crust, pint bluberries, 1/2 of vanilla sugar and flour, then the cream and yolk for flooding worked well.
Amanda H. July 4, 2012
Glad to hear a blueberry version worked well for you!
mbj913 July 5, 2012
i was too lazy to make a creme anglaise for a fresh blueberry tart and this was much easier. definitely a keeper. someday when i'm motivated, i'll make your two-crust raspberry pie.
JadeTree July 4, 2012
Made this for Fourth of July to great acclaim! The crust was excellent, crisp and not too sweet - the three-year-old went around stealing everyone's crusts when he could. The filling is both tart and creamy - the flooding is brilliant and fun to do. Love this.
Amanda H. July 4, 2012
Happy 4th!
Shanaralane January 4, 2012
This was so good!!!! Loved the crust. Loved the Turbinado sugar.