Make Ahead

Rose Levy Beranbaum's Fresh Blueberry Pie

June 19, 2021
10 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

This is a brighter, lighter blueberry pie than you're used to, one that keeps all the texture and integrity of blueberries intact. You can use your go-to pie crust -- just roll out a single crust and blind bake it -- or I've included Beranbaum's recipe, which is excellent, and has all sorts of clever tricks. You can also adapt her dough to the food processor if you're feeling lazy. Adapted slightly from The Pie and Pastry Bible (Scribner, 1998). —Genius Recipes

  • Prep time 3 hours
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 6
Ingredients
  • Basic Flaky Pie Crust for a 9-Inch Pie
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 1/3 cups pastry flour or bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder (if not using, double the salt)
  • Open-Faced Fresh Blueberry Pie
  • 1 tablespoon egg white, lightly beaten (optional)
  • 4 cups blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whipped cream (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Basic Flaky Pie Crust for a 9-Inch Pie
  2. Divide the butter into two parts, about two thirds to one third -- 2.5 ounces and 1.5 ounces (5 tablespoons and 3 tablespoons). Cut the butter into 3/4-inch cubes. Wrap each portion of butter with plastic wrap, refrigerate the larger amount and freeze the smaller for at least 30 minutes. Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag and freeze for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place a medium mixing bowl in the freezer to chill. Place the flour, salt, and optional baking powder in another medium bowl and whisk to combine them.
  4. Use a pastry cutter or rub the mixture between your fingers to blend the larger portion of the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse meal.
  5. Spoon the mixture, together with the cold butter from the freezer, into a reclosable gallon-size freezer bag. Expel any air from the bag and close it. Use a rolling pin to flatten the butter into flakes. Place the bag in the freezer for at least 10 minutes or until the butter is very firm.
  6. Transfer the mixture to the chilled bowl, scraping the sides of the bag. Set the bag aside. Sprinkle the ice water and vinegar onto the mixture, tossing it lightly with a rubber spatula. Spoon the loose mixture back into the plastic bag.
  7. Holding both ends of the bag opening with your fingers, knead the mixture by alternately pressing it, from the outside of the bag, with knuckles and heels of your hands until the mixture holds together in one piece and feels slightly stretchy when pulled.
  8. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap, flatten it into a disc and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes, preferably overnight. This dough can be stored, refrigerated, up to 2 days; frozen, up to 3 months.
  1. Open-Faced Fresh Blueberry Pie
  2. For the crust Remove the dough from the refrigerator. If necessary, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes or until it is soft enough to roll.
  3. Using a pastry cloth and sleeve rubbed with flour or two sheets of plastic wrap lightly sprinkled with flour, roll the dough 1/8 inch thick or less and large enough to cut a 13-inch circle. Use an expandable flan ring or a cardboard template and a sharp knife as a guide to cut out the circle. Transfer the dough to the pie pan, fold under the excess, and crimp the border using a fork or your fingers (or just fold it under). Cover it loosely and refrigerate it for a minimum of 1 hour and a maximum of 24 hours. Preheat the oven to 425°F at least 20 minutes before baking.
  4. Line the pastry with parchment, pleating it as necessary so it fits into the pan, and fill it with rice or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Carefully lift out the rice or beans with the parchment. With a fork, prick the bottom and sides, and bake 5-10 minutes, or until the crust is pale golden. Check after 3 minutes and prick any bubbles that may have formed.
  5. Cool the crust on a rack for 3 minutes, so it is no longer piping hot, then (optionally) brush the bottom and sides with the egg white -- this will help keep the bottom crust from getting soggy.
  6. For the filling Measure out 1 cup of the blueberries, choosing the softest ones. Place them in a medium saucepan together with the 1/2 cup water. Cover and bring them to a boil.
  7. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the remaining 2 tablespoons of water. Set it aside.
  8. When the water and blueberries have come to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 3 to 4 minutes or until the blueberries start to burst and the juices begin to thicken. Stirring constantly, add the cornstarch mixture, the sugar, lemon juice, and salt. Simmer for a minute or until the mixture becomes translucent. Immediately remove it from the heat and quickly fold in the remaining 3 cups of blueberries.
  9. Spoon the mixture into the baked pie shell and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving. When set, the berries will remain very juicy but will not flow out of the crust. Serve with whipped cream if desired. This pie can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Smaug
    Smaug
  • Tami
    Tami
  • Ashley
    Ashley
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    Jenny
  • Caetie
    Caetie
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

41 Reviews

John November 22, 2020
Oh my goodness, too much work. Dough, butter, etc.....In and out of freezer, etc.etc. I have a way easier method and I’m sure just as delicious 😋
 
Mona S. August 27, 2020
I've been making this exact pie for over 40 years. Its the very best way to enjoy fresh blueberries. But this recipe was first published in the American Cooking: Southern Style in 1971 by Time Life.
 
Virginia B. February 6, 2020
I’ve been making a version of this pie for many, many years and it is always exceptional. I might add some cinnamon to the filling but just a tad, and both cut back on the sugar and up the lemon juice. Served with whipped cream it is a down Maine summer treat.
 
Smaug December 1, 2019
Excellent recipe. Beranbaum's recipes are often elaborate to the point of impracticality, but this filling is simple, uses readily available ingredients (if you count decent blueberries as readily available), and is very quick. I used a pie-specific crust (with cinnamon, sour cream and rum), but I have made this crust- it is interesting, and handles beautifully, but a bit soft for my taste.
 
judy July 23, 2020
Decent blueberries are seasonally available at least. Using the best of the season that is left, I am going to do this--my favorite fruit. I might do it as a galette. But the principle is the same.
 
Ute September 12, 2019
A Definite to go to pie!!!

Used my own pastry as well. It was pastry dough with lemon rind in it.
Worked great for this pie!

Marvelous pie! I reduced the sugar - but I tend to do that with all baking recipes.
Will bake it again and will try it with cherries as well.
 
Elizabeth August 9, 2019
I used my own pastry but otherwise followed the directions exactly using wild blueberries. Seriously THE BEST blueberry pie ever!! Everyone raved about it.
 
Biscuitannie August 25, 2018
Made the filling as written, but substituted tapioca starch for the cornstarch, according to the substitution directions on the Bob’s Red Mill package. The flavor was amazing, but the texture was almost rubbery! Any thoughts as to what happened here?
 
Deena B. August 25, 2018
It must be the tapioca. I use tapioca in my rhubarb pie, with no problem, but cornstarch in this recipe. Always turns out great.
 
Smaug December 1, 2019
My Bob's package doesn't list substitutions, but typically you would use half as much tapioca as cornstarch.
 
cheryllk August 20, 2018
This is a wonderful recipe (I use my own vinegar pie crust) for blueberry pie filling, made immeasurably better by replacing the water used to cook the berries with pomegranate juice. Keep everything else the same. Oh, my.
 
claudia July 27, 2018
I have made this recipe several times and it's my most favourite blueberry pie. Just delicious and you taste the real flavour of the berries.
 
Tami July 20, 2018
Best blueberry pie I've ever had! You gotta try this one, a definite keeper!
 
Ashley May 9, 2018
I've made this recipe twice - once with the original crust, and most recently with Alanna Taylor-Tobin's vanilla almond tart crust. Both times, it was utterly delicious and received rave reviews! It's so simple and the flavor of the blueberries is showcased so well. Definitely a recipe I'll be making again and again.
 
bottomupfood May 8, 2017
I'm afraid my blueberry filling did not set at all. Perhaps because I used frozen blueberries? I did thoroughly thaw them first. The crust was perfect, though...
 
Smaug December 3, 2019
I used frozen blueberries without a problem, but it does take some care- both through bursting and condensation, the thawed berries can add free moisture that this recipe won't accommodate; you would have to drain the berries thoroughly and either discard the liquid (horror of horrors) or cook it with the starch; possibly add a little starch or use less water if it's a significant amount of liquid.
 
heybigbuddy August 17, 2016
I had some issues with the crust in this recipe: I followed the instructions to the letter, but the texture of the crust was grainy and gritty - people asked if it was made with whole wheat flour or corn meal. I suspect it's because I used pastry flour (which no one I know, including bakers, had ever heard of before). Does anyone know why I got this result?
 
Paula May 31, 2021
A baker who's never heard of pastry flour?! That sound very strange. I wonder if you overmixed the dough, giving you too homogeneous of a mixture. (There's a name for this but it escapes me at the moment--- it's often used for wet pies like pumpkin because it resists getting soggy.)
 
FromAway July 31, 2016
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=84e71BdlfoQ

Rose herself makes the same crust with a simpler method in the video above. Less steps leave less room for mistakes....
 
Jenny July 20, 2016
Has anyone baked this pie after filling in the blueberries for a few minutes for a warm pie?
 
GeorgiannaN July 21, 2016
I cooked the blueberries (filling only) for just a couple minutes on the stovetop after the fresh ones were added...it didn't seem to harm my end result!
 
Deena B. July 17, 2016
It will still taste good GeorgiannaN. You may have stopped cooking it too soon after adding the lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch.
 
GeorgiannaN July 18, 2016
Thank you! It actually firmed up nicely after a few hours. Less dense than I'm used to making a fruit pie, but cut-able!
 
GeorgiannaN July 15, 2016
To the best of my ability, I followed measurements and instructions perfectly for the filling. But it still looks like it'll be runny when cut. Can anything save it now?
 
J H. December 25, 2015
This was delicious...a crowd pleaser. Everyone was like how are the blueberries intact? It tasted fresh and sweet at the same time. I didn't use the pie crust recipe here. I'm firm believer in Serious Eats' recipe. I did follow the rest of the prebake instructions. I also made lemon zest from the lemon used and put in the whipped cream. SO good. I would make this again!
 
Caetie August 6, 2015
Yum! Crust was excellent. Rolling it out thin really helped the texture. I felt the filling was too sweet though, probably good to start with 1/4 cup of sugar and go from there since the berries will vary.
 
Jennifer July 15, 2015
I've made Berenbaum's blueberry pie, but other than the alliteration, vastly prefer Julie Rosso's blueberry pie in Great Good Food. Check it out if you can find a copy--with no cornstarch and just 2 T. flour, the filling is every bit as light, but you can skip the annoying stovetop stirring. Easy and yummy. (Rosso's version is two-crust, which I realize adds calories/weight.)
 
mela August 26, 2015
I love that Rosso cookbook. It's usually available, as a new book, from the book re-sellers on amazon. (And try the strawberry frozen yogurt!)
 
Ana June 30, 2017
Crust aside, the point of this pie is that it is made with the majority of UNcooked blueberries. This is what makes it different from all those other double-crust blueberry pies out there. All double crust pies require the pie to be baked in the oven, thus cooking the fruit and offering a cooked, not fresh, flavor in the end product. I make a peach pie the same way as Rose, smash a few peaches to cook on the stove to make a thickened sauce, and then add fresh, UNcooked peaches to the glaze to fill the pie dish. Let it set and enjoy the flavor of fresh peaches rather than a cooked flavor. THAT is the point of the "annoying" stove-top stirring.
 
Elizabeth August 9, 2019
Glad to hear that! I was wondering if I could make a similar pie with other fruits. It’s peach season so definitely giving that a try. Do you think raspberries might hold their shape?
 
Ana August 10, 2019
Raspberries may not, but I bet it would still be delicious! Here is what I do for a fresh peach pie using 8-10 peaches (1 1/2 cups or more): Cut up 2-3 peaches and mash. Put in a pan and add 1/2 cup water, 2/3 c sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Boil until peaches are cooked. Thicken with 2 1/2 T. cornstarch dissolved into the remaining 1/2 cup water, before adding to the peach sauce, and then cook until clear. Remove from heat and add a little vanilla and butter. Cool slightly and pour over fresh sliced peaches (just enough to lightly coat) and pour into cooked pie shell. Let cool and "set". Serve with whipped cream.