Yesterday, I shared my no-fail pie crust recipe. Today, I’ll share what to put into that crust. The short answer is: anything! The crust works equally well for no-bake cream pies (like the banana cream pie I shared for Pi Day) and baked fruit pies, like the blueberry pie below. The crust recipe will suit all your various pie baking needs (and yes, sometimes you need to bake a pie).
This blueberry pie, topped with a crumble made from butter, flour, and almond paste, is my favorite pie. I think I’d go even further to say that this my all-time favorite dessert. If I was on some sort of magical dessert desert island and had to choose one dessert to have for the rest of my life, it would be this pie (but can I get it with a scoop of my favorite extra-minty mint chocolate chip ice cream, please?). I can’t believe it has taken me four years to share this recipe on here – I have made it with the intent to share it no less than six times, as evidenced by the six different series of intact pie pictures sitting in my “food to blog” folder. So why not share it sooner? I’ve been waiting to get a picture of an individual slice of pie… except every time I make this, it’s devoured before I have a chance! Sad but true: I have never had one single leftover slice of pie to use for a picture. I decided enough was enough and it was time to share, even if I don’t have a picture of a lone slice to share.
Why Blueberries are my favorite fruit (sidebar: when asked recently, my husband guessed raspberries – a good guess, since I love all berries, but blueberries are the clear winner… followed closely by cherries and pineapple), so I load the pie up with lots and lots of blueberries, adding more in after boiling down the first several cups, to ensure that the pie has more actual whole blueberries than blueberry goop. It’s sweet, but not sickeningly so, and the best part: an almond crumble topping. I don’t love double-crust pies (think traditional apple pie), because if you make the crust well and the bottom doesn’t stay soggy, it’s topped with a flavor you’re already getting. Lattice pies are by far the most visually appealing, and I generally go that route for cherry or rubarb pies because they look so lovely. But crumble pies are absolutely the tastiest, a sentiment echoed by everyone else with whom I have shared this pie. The almond paste introduces a new flavor (and almond is my favorite flavor!) – it’s subtle enough that those who don’t really care for almonds (i.e., my husband) still enjoy the pie, but just adds a little something extra and a slightly-crunchy texture to the soft blueberries. We’re in peak blueberry season here in the northeast, so don’t delay – baking a homemade pie sounds like a great way to spend your weekend!
(I’d also like to put a little shout-out here to Amoretti Foods. I typed out this recipe to a friend via tweet and mentioned that it’s worth it to find the almond paste for the crumble topping (our small city grocery stores don’t always carry it). I just happened to receive a tweet from @AmorettiFoods offering to send each of us some of their almond paste to try out. At the time, the person behind the twitter account did not know that I even had a food blog; rather, he just offered to share some of the product (and the friend who also received some does not have a blog). The very next day, I received an overnighted tub of almond paste and the nicest handwritten note about the pleasures of interacting with other people via social media. There was no expectation whatsoever that I share that I received almond paste from them, or that I create a recipe for them, but it was such a positive interaction that I wanted to give them a digital high-five for awesome customer service. And because I received so much almond paste, I have plenty left over after baking this pie, so stay tuned for some future almond paste kitchen experiments!)
Almond Crumble Blueberry Pie
Adapted from Bon Appetit
- 1 pie crust, unbaked
- 3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 40 ounces blueberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2/3 cup + 3 tablespoons all purpose flour, divided
- 6 ounces almond paste, crumbled into small pieces
- 1/2 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Start by rolling out your pie dough to a 12-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch diameter pie plate. Trim the edges and crimp decoratively. Transfer the pie dough in the dish to the freezer while preparing the filling.
- Whisk together 3/4 cup of the sugar and the 1/4 cup cornstarch in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in 30 ounces (a little under 7 cups) of the blueberries and the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, stirring frequently. Remove the filling from heat, gently stir in the remaining 10 ounces of blueberries, and chill the filling until cool.
- To prepare the crumble, 2/3 cup of the flour, almond paste, butter, and salt in a food processor and blend until the mixture begins to clump together (alternatively, cut the butter and almond paste into the flour by hand with two forks or a pastry blender). Transfer this mixture to a bowl and chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove the pie dish from the freezer while preheating the oven to 400F. Allow the pie crust to sit for 10-15 minutes before filling, so that it is still very cold but no longer frozen.
- Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and flour along the crust. This will help soak up any excess juice and form a little protective barrier to prevent a soggy crust. Spread the blueberry filling evenly in the crust, and sprinkle the crumble topping over the top.
- Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for ~50 minutes, until the crust and topping are golden and the blueberry filling bubbles. Transfer pie to a cooling rack and cool completely before serving.