It’s not unusual to hear bakers say you should only use fresh fruit to make a wonderful homemade fruit pie. But let’s nip that in the bud right here and now! Fruit from the freezer makes a wonderful pie and doesn’t require much modification (although I believe it benefits from the easy tweaks I’m suggesting below).
Frozen Fruits That Make Perfect Fruit Pies
- Blueberry: This is my go-to frozen fruit for baking. In my opinion, frozen blueberries impart a denser, deeper blueberry flavor than fresh blueberries. That goes double for wild blueberries, which are hard to find fresh, besides.
- Mixed berries: I love the way frozen berry mixes contain just the right proportions of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. I’d say when it comes to pie, fresh raspberries got nothin’ on frozen. Using a bag of frozen mixed berries for this mixed berry pie will save you tons of time and energy.
- Cherry: Say sayonara to cherry-stained fingers. Simply use frozen pitted cherries, and wow. Just wow! Like frozen blueberries, frozen cherries make for a densely sweet and jammy pie. Once I discovered I could make this cherry pie with frozen pitted cherries, I haven’t made it any other way since.
- Peach: Personally, I think frozen peach slices taste more “peachy” than fresh peaches. After all, they’re picked at the peak of freshness and frozen before they can get overripe or mealy. Here’s a recipe for Juicy Peach and Strawberry Pie that works well with frozen fruit.
How to Bake with Frozen Fruit
The following tips will make your job as piemaster even easier:
Soften the fruit
Take your fruit out of the freezer for a few minutes before you start working with it. It doesn’t have to come to room temperature. It just makes it easier to work with when you start mixing in your sugar and your starch if it softens a bit and starts releasing its juices.
Add extra fat to your dough
Frozen fruit releases more juice, more quickly than fresh fruit. That means you run the risk of a slightly soggier bottom crust. For some people, that’s delightful. But if you’re like me, and you like your bottom crust to remain flaky, then add a little extra fat to your dough—it helps repel the extra moisture. I use this crust recipe, and add one tablespoon of shortening for each crust (so two tablespoons for a double-crust pie), which actually makes my crusts easier to roll out and work with.
Pre-bake the bottom shell
The longer the uncooked dough is in contact with the juices-releasing fruit, the more chance it has to get soggy. So another way to combat the frozen-fruit soggies is to pre-bake the bottom shell. I set the oven to 350° and bake for five to seven minutes; I remove the crust when it feels dry to the touch, before it changes color. This does make working with top crust a wee bit more challenging because the top won’t adhere to the bottom the way it would if it were raw dough. There are three possible solutions:
- Don’t add a top crust. It lets you really focus on your gorgeous, delicious fruit.
- Top your pie with pie-crust cutouts. Here’s a great example, with directions. It makes a super-fun dessert.
- Brush the edges of the top crust with water before placing on top of the pie. This helps it stick to the bottom crust better.
If you’ve never made your own pie crust, here’s an expert guide to get you started. Hope you have fun making lots (and lots) of frozen fruit pies!