Strawberry crumble pie is simple, delicious and you should definitely make one before strawberry season is gone. All you really need is good strawberries, sugar, vanilla, flour for thickening, salt and lemon juice. Also a topping decision, if I am being honest.
The case for crumble
This pie has a brown sugar oat crumble. I know, I know, traditionally this pie should have a lattice top or some sort of crust on top. And if you like crust on crust then you should do it, I have a great peach/blueberry pie that has a lattice top or a blueberry lavender pie with a classic crust on top. Alas, I think crumble tops rule, and here is why:
- They give fruit pies texture. This is something fruit pies can often lack. When fruit pies cook the fruit softens and loses most of its texture. Baked up browned and bubbly a crumble top is crisp and adds a hint of sweetness and a wonderful buttery note that you don’t get so much with traditional crusts.
- They add a bit of sweetness. Traditional crusts get dusted with sugar, yes, but a crumble-crisp topping is made with brown sugar and flour and salt – kind of like a cookie…basically a cookie on top of your pie.
- They are adaptable to your tastes. For instance, like walnuts? Add them to the crumb top. Additionally, like oats (as in this pie)? Add those to the top. Pecans? Sure. Coconut? Why the hell not. You can mix and match to the kind of pie you are making. Apple pie with a walnut crumble topping is perfection. A cranberry pear pie with oats and pecans will never be turned away from a Thanksgiving table. Crumb toppings always keep it interesting.
Much ado about pie crust
This is a constant debate. Store bought? A lot of people who call themselves ‘real’ bakers would turn their noses at a store bought crust. And that’s fine. They can do whatever the hell they want. I make my own crust some times, and some times, like when I am using a crumb topping, I just don’t f’ing feel like it. And if you don’t feel like it most or ALL of the time, you can also do whatever the hell you want.
Store bought crusts are all over the place in flavor and texture – mainly having to do with what they are made of. This is by far my favorite store bought crust, and never have I ever used this and someone asked me if it was store bought. It is all butter and, though a bit difficult to handle at first, it is by far the best one on the market – and reasonably priced.
Can frozen strawberries be substituted? Absolutely. Just be certain they are not sweetened. Simply thaw and use as you would fresh ones.
As for the rest of this pie, it is legit all I said at the beginning. That and I threw in a few blueberries because I had them on hand. You should too if you have a few. Or rhubarb – rhubarb and strawberry is like the mac n cheese of the fruit pie realm. All strawberry or mixed, this is a pie not to be missed this time of year.
Strawberry crumble pie
- One pie crust see above for recipe links or store links to the best store bought pie crust around
For the pie filling
- 7 cups of strawberries hulled and sliced I keep my slices kind of thick and to give it some substance when cooked
- 1 cup blueberries if adding them, if not just do an additional cup of strawberries
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste alternatively use extract if that's what you've got
- 1 teaspoon salt
- zest of one lemonjuice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 1/2 tablespoon butter preferably unsalted, if using salted adjust salt addition above to 1/2 teaspoon
For the crumb topping
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 white sugar
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
If making your own crust, roll out on a floured surface the pie crust in the bottom of a pie pan. Put the pie plate in the fridge while completing the filling.
To make the filling, put sliced strawberries, blueberries, sugar, vanilla, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl and toss to combine. Leave bowl sit at room temperature to macerate the berries for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to an hour.
To make the crumb topping, whisk together the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, oats and salt. Add the room temperature butter, and ideally with your clean hands (alternatively, a formix the butter in with the dry ingredients, pushing the butter into the dry ingredients to form a crumbly mixture.
After macerating, add the flour to the bowl and toss to combine.To assemble the pie, put roughly half the filling into the pie pan. Dot with tiny pieces of the 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Place the rest of the filling on top and make sure it is evenly distributed. Take the crumb mixture and gent;y mound on top of the berries, gently pushing it to hold. Get as much on there as you can. Put the pie on a cookie sheet - this pie is exceptionally juicy so trust me, DON'T FORGET the cookie sheet.
Bake at 400 on the bottom rack of the oven for about 1 hour or 75 minutes. The filling should be bubbly and all the juices should be flowing out the sides and the crumb topping should be browned nicely.
This is a pie that needs to cool pretty much entirely before slicing in to...if you don't wait the filling won't set and it will be a soupy mess when you try to slice it.