Recipe Review

I Tried Making “Self-Crusting” Blueberry Pie and the Magic Is Real

published Aug 1, 2021
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Credit: Justin Burke

I’m a proud member of team pie and have been known to spend countless hours perfecting the flakiest crust and getting the right ratio of fruit filling to make a sturdy pie that won’t run when sliced. Although I have my own preferred tips and tricks for pie, I’m always on the lookout for new, innovative ways to evolve my pie skills. 

When I came across Erin Phraner’s self-crusting magic blueberry pie on Instagram, it immediately caught my attention. It seemed like a simple and ingenious recipe for spur-of-the-moment pie cravings without the hassle of cutting in butter, chilling, rolling out, and crimping crust. I had to give it a try. 

How to Make Erin Phraner’s Magic Blueberry Pie

You’ll start by making the blueberry filling to allow enough time for it to cool completely. In a medium saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch, blueberries, water, and lemon juice and simmer until the filling thickens and is a dark purple hue, stirring occasionally to prevent the cornstarch from clumping. Remove from the heat and let cool at room temperature.

Once the blueberry filling has cooled, mix together the batter. With a hand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, egg, butter, and water until smooth with a few lumps. Pour the batter into a deep-dish pan and give the pan a few taps to make an even layer. Carefully pour about two cups of filling into the center of the batter and bake until the crust is golden-brown and the blueberry filling is bubbly. 

Let cool completely; slice, and serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Get the recipe: Magic Blueberry Pie

Credit: Justin Burke

My Honest Review

To be honest, I was skeptical of this recipe just by its looks. The idea of a self-crusting pie is intriguing, but visually it looks like a cobbler. The blueberry filling is delicious and could be used with a variety of seasonal berries. The recipe makes quite a bit of filling for just one “pie,” so unless you plan to use the leftover filling for another purpose I’d halve the recipe. 

The batter has a shortbread-like flavor. It bakes beautifully, but this is not a dessert to enjoy right out of the oven. Cool completely at room temperature before cutting or you’ll have a runny mess and nothing will hold together when scooped — I found this out the hard way. 

I wouldn’t call this a pie. It’s more of a cobbler, almost like an inverted version of a sonker — Surry County, North Carolina’s, version of a cobbler. The filling in the center pushes the batter out to the edges of the pan, rising and crusting around the fruit. Once cooled, you have a bright and flavorful fruit dessert with an appropriate ratio of crust. I’ll keep this recipe in my cobbler rotation and keep looking for new pie recipes to try.

Credit: Justin Burke

4 Tips for Making Magic Blueberry Pie

  1. Halve the blueberry filling. If you don’t plan to use the leftover blueberry filling, then halve the recipe to avoid waste. 
  2. Soften the butter to room temperature. The recipe doesn’t state whether the butter should be chilled, softened, or melted. Since all the batter ingredients are mixed at once with a hand mixer, room-temperature butter will incorporate more easily and leave a few pea-sized butter pockets to help make the crust fluffy when baked. 
  3. Use a deep-dish pie pan. A regular 9-inch pie tin isn’t deep enough to prevent the batter from rising and baking over the sides. A deep dish will help the self-crusting batter keep its round shape, develop a thick crust, and keep the blueberry filling in the center of the pan. 
  4. Cool completely after baking. The hot, thickened blueberry filling needs to cool before serving or the juices will run and the dessert will fall apart.