It is most definitely strawberry season, and fruit pie season. Not gonna lie, I am pretty happy about it! A from scratch baked strawberry pie with crumb topping is simple, delicious and you should definitely make one before strawberry season is gone.
Ingredients for the strawberry pie filling
This filling is made with the typical ingredients I make most of my from scratch baked fruit pie fillings (except with strawberries as the fruit of choice).
- vanilla bean paste or extract
- lemon juice
how do you cut a strawberry for pie?
So I am sliced-strawberries-in-my-pie kinda baker. Some people quarter them, but I prefer a nice slice, I think they soften nicely and have a good texture when you bit into them.
To cut, simply remove the top green stem and cut some of the tough white part of the strawberry off the top along with the stem. Alternatively, you can hull strawberries before slicing them, this would be cutting a small cone-shaped core out of the stem end. Either way, the stem and tough top has got to go before slicing for this baked pie.
Can I use frozen strawberries in a fruit pie?
Absolutely. Just be certain they are not already sweetened. Simply thaw and use as you would fresh ones.
Should you cook fruit pie filling before baking?
I mean, should you? I don't think so. Could you? Most certainly.
Cooking fruit pie filling before baking gives you more control over the juiciness of the pie, and also ensure it is fully cooked, but in all my years of pie baking, I have never cooked a fruit filling prior to baking it in the pie...and I have never had a problem.
The flour combined with the butter you will add to the strawberries will thicken all of the juices the strawberries give off in this pie recipe. I mean, I bake and sell fruit pies for a living and none of them have precooked filling...just saying. Also just saying, I can immediately tell a pie that has a precooked filling, the filling is gummy and kind of congealed - too thick, and doesn't really seem from scratch, I think.
Making a crumb topping for strawberry pie
This baked strawberry pie with crumb topping recipe calls for a brown sugar oat crumble. Lattice and top crusts are fine, but this is a one-crust baked pie and it is quick and easy. 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. But I think crumb topping rules.
- 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.
Ingredients for the crumb topping
Making this a quick and easy baked strawberry pie is what I am all about and the crumb topping is equally as simple.
- brown sugar
- white sugar
Should I make my own 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 most times, but sometimes, 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. Trader Joe's 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. Here is a great article on store bought crusts ranked.
Tips for success
This pie recipe is so easy, that I don't really have too many additional words of wisdom for a successful bake. But a few things:
- macerate the sliced strawberries a little bit in the sugar and lemon juice before adding flour and putting into the crust. This helps get the juices going.
- bake on the bottom third of your oven - this is no joke. This will ensure the crust gets cooked properly on the bottom.
- Bake it on a cookie sheet that you preheated in the oven. Pies can overflow with juices, in fact, we want them to! This is also a sign that the pie filling is cooked, when the fruit has given off all of its juice and it has thicken and overflowed. So the cookie sheet prevent drips - duh.
- Cover the crumb topping with foil if it is browning too much. A foil cover - just lightly placed on the top, will solve this problem
- Use a different fruit if you feel like it. Don't have strawberries? Use blueberries or raspberries or a combo! Everything else can stay the same in the recipe.
This is a delicious and super adaptable recipe...and I mean, who doesn't love a pie recipe from scratch?!
- pie pan
- Pie crust homemade or store bought
For the pie filling
- 7 cups strawberries stemmed and sliced I keep my slices kind of thick and to give it some substance when cooked
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste alternatively use extract if that's what you've got
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon butter preferably unsalted, if using salted adjust salt addition above to ½ teaspoon
For the crumb topping
- ¼ cup flour
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup rolled oats
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter if using salted butter cut salt to ¼ tsp
- If making your own crust, roll out on a floured surface the pie crust in the bottom of a pie pan. Put the pie pan in the fridge while completing the filling.
To make 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 15-30 minutes.
- After macerating, add the flour to the bowl and toss to combine.
To make the crumb topping
- 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.
To assemble the pie
- Put roughly half the filling into the pie pan. Dot with tiny pieces of the 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.