Few desserts capture the bright flavor of summer like blueberry crumble pie, especially if you use fresh, peak-season berries. Fortunately, with this pie recipe (and in many recipes with blueberries), you can get that sweet berry goodness all year long.
Blueberries freeze quite easily, whether you buy them that way or do it yourself (here’s how to freeze fresh blueberries and other fruit). If you can get your hands on wild blueberries, all the better. They’re intensely sweet, and they hold their shape well in blueberry crumble pie, popping between the flaky bottom crust and the crunchy topping as you bite into each forkful. If you can’t find wild blueberries, that’s OK. Any blueberry variety will do in this crumble pie.
Made with shortbread cookies and oats, the crumble topping looks less formal than a double pie crust, and it complements the natural sweetness of the blueberry filling. For an added twist that really ups your blueberry pie game, go for the optional hints of thyme and lemon zest. And to make it look even more rustic, bake the pie in a cast-iron skillet.
Ingredients for Blueberry Crumble Pie
- Refrigerated pie crust: Refrigerated, ready-to-use crust comes precut, typically in a circle and rolled into a tube. Simply roll it out, and press it into your pie pan. You can also use a homemade classic butter pie pastry for the crust.
- Fresh or frozen blueberries: Fresh blueberries will have the most flavor and cook most evenly, but frozen ones can be used. Letting frozen berries defrost just a bit before baking will result in a jam-like filling but may require extra oven time. Thawing them completely in a strainer to drain off excess juice will make the pie less juicy.
- Sugar: Blueberries are typically sweet, so you don’t need a lot of sugar for this recipe. If you want to add a more caramel-y flavor to the filling, use half granulated sugar and half brown sugar.
- Shortbread cookies: Shortbread cookies have a light, dry texture and sweet flavor. You can use store-bought cookies, or use our Scottish shortbread recipe to make your own from just three ingredients.
- Quick-cooking oats: Quick-cooking oats provide a fine, even texture to the crumble for this pie. Rolled oats or old-fashioned oats can be substituted, but they will be chewier. Avoid steel-cut oats; they’d remain tough even in a fully cooked pie.
Step 1: Prepare the crust
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Unroll the pie crust into a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or deep-dish pie plate, and gently press it into place. Flute the edge, crimping it with a fork if desired.
Step 2: Fill the pie
In a large bowl, combine the blueberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon and, if desired, thyme and lemon zest; toss gently. Spoon the filling into the crust, and dot it with butter.
Step 3: Make the topping
In a food processor, cover and process the cookies until coarsely chopped. Add the oats, brown sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon and salt, and process until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the berry mixture.
Editor’s Tip: To avoid a sticky, gooey topping, cube fridge-cold butter, then return it to the fridge until the last moment; once it’s in the food processor, pulse in short bursts. If you prefer a whole-oat texture, stir the oats in by hand after processing the other topping ingredients.
Step 4: Bake the pie
Bake the pie for 45 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°, and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Cover the pie edge with aluminum foil during the last 15 minutes if necessary to prevent overbrowning.
Step 5: Cool and serve
Remove the pie from the oven, and let it cool completely on a wire rack. If desired, serve with whipped cream.
- Two-berry pie: Substitute a different berry for half of the blueberries. Try fresh or frozen blackberries or regional berries like marionberries, cloudberries or dewberries.
- Cookie-free topping: If you don’t have cookies on hand, you can still create a crumb topping. Add an extra tablespoon of each of the other topping ingredients (with cinnamon and salt to taste). Alternatively, you could make a double batch of pie dough to cover the pie bottom, and make your choice of decorative pie crusts for the top.
Can you freeze blueberry crumble pie?
Fruit pies like this one freeze quite well, either before or after baking. Assemble the pie—crust, filling and topping—in a pie plate that can withstand both freezer and oven temperatures. Enclose the entire pie in an airtight, freezer-proof wrapping, and store in the freezer for up to three months.
To bake the blueberry pie from frozen, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then unwrap and bake according to the directions.
A prebaked pie can be frozen and then thawed in the same way. Serve it at room temperature or warmed in a 350° oven for about 20 minutes. Loosely cover any leftovers, and refrigerate them to enjoy within a few days.
Blueberry Crumble Pie Tips
What are Maine blueberries?
Several blueberry species grow in Maine, but the most common is Vaccinium angustifolium, a type of lowbush blueberry. Maine’s blueberries rank among the region’s seasonal native treats. Many distinct varieties grow intermingled, with variations in size, shape and color, yet all tend to be smaller than other cultivated blueberries and packed with flavor. In pies, they usually hold their shape better and have a more concentrated flavor than large, cultivated blueberries. Fun fact: Did you know that the state fruit of Maine is the wild blueberry?
How do I keep my blueberry pie from becoming soggy?
To prevent a soggy crust in your blueberry pie, make sure you defrost and drain the berries thoroughly (if you used frozen berries) before mixing them into the filling. Also, you can mix the blueberries and sugar together, let it sit for about 30 minutes, then pour it into a strainer to drain away excess liquid. You can also add a little more flour to the filling, up to 1/2 cup, if it seems too runny when you mix it together.
There are several other tricks to prevent soggy pie crust. Setting the pie on a low oven rack, especially on top of a metal baking sheet, can brown and crisp the crust. Blind baking before you add the filling can also help protect the crust from the blueberry juices (here’s how to blind bake pie crust). Watch the fully assembled pie closely in its final minutes in the oven to avoid overcooking the pastry.