One of the best pie fillings I’ve ever made was done right on my stove top. This Fresh Blueberry Pie Filling takes the prize for its fresh flavor. But, the best thing about this filling? It’s the amazing texture.
It’s no secret that I adore fresh blueberries. I can wax poetic about them post after post. But, you’ll definitely hear me sing their praises when they’re abundantly in season.
I love it when I can buy boatloads of blueberries. Some of them are so large, they look like grapes! I think they’re one of the best fresh fruits to top a bowl of cereal. I love so many fruits with my cereal, I’m not sure if I have a favorite. It’s probably blueberries or bananas, though.
So, while I can eat bowls of fresh blueberries, I also love to bake with them. There’s nothing like the smell of fresh blueberry muffins baking. It used to get me out of bed as a teenager. (Now, I’m the one trying to get everyone else up. Hmph! Adulthood! ;)
And while we’re talkin’ muffins, we should definitely talk about Blueberry Crumb Cake *swoon*, which is like a blueberry muffin times 100. Yum!
But we’re talking about pie today, aren’t we? Pie filling to be exact. And I’m telling you that this is completely different than baking blueberry pie filling like I do in Blueberry Pie Baked Oatmeal, Blueberry Pancake Cobbler, and my oh so easy Blueberry Galette.
All of those “pies” are oven baked. Today’s pie filling happens quickly and easily on the stove top. And because it happens on the stove top, you get extra control over the texture.
It’s the texture that takes this filling over the top. Trust me on this.
Alrighty then. Here’s how it goes down…
You’re going to start with a slurry kind of mixture. This is your sweetener and thickening. It’s cornstarch and water and sugar and a pinch of salt.
Stir it over medium heat until it’s fully combined. It’s a little like making a simple syrup. You don’t need it to boil, just heat it until everything is nicely dissolved. The heat just gives the sugar a little hand with that.
Then, add your fresh blueberries, but don’t add all of them. We only need 4 out of the 6 cups of the berries for this step. Reserve the rest.
Now you’re going to bring that mixture to a boil and let the thickeners do their work. Cook it and stir it until is thick and bubbly. This will only take a few minutes.
Once it’s thickened, remove it from the heat. Now it’s time for additional flavor and texture.
You know a shot of citrus brings wonderful freshness to cooked fruit, so we’re going to add some lemon zest and some lemon juice.
Just a reminder…always remember to zest your lemons before juicing. Zesting a cut lemon is much more difficult and definitely less safe since you have less lemon to hold on to.
Then…here’s where the amazing texture comes in…add the rest of the fresh blueberries. Stir them in until they’re well combined and coated with all that thick syrupy goodness.
It’s that simple. That’s the magic. It’s just fresh berries combined with cooked berries! And it will give you that wonderful texture of biting into a fresh blueberry while you’re eating your pie.
I know. It seriously sounds like a nothing burger. But that little addition of fresh blueberries is a serious game changer.
Well, it’s the stove top cooking AND the addition of fresh blueberries. When you cook on the stove top, you can also control the amount of time your blueberries cook.
So, with this recipe, you’re cooking the blueberries for less time. They stay more intact and get less jammy…unless you want a more jammy filling. For that, just cook them longer.
But the stove top gives you more control, whatever your preference may be.
You can’t get that when you bake the pie filling. Not that I don’t love, love, love all of my blueberry baked desserts, because I do. But biting into a fresh blueberry in the midst of the softer berries? It kind of feels like texture jackpot heaven.
Making your own pie filling has so many benefits. One thing I hate about canned pie filling is the lack of actual fruit in the filling.
I remember succumbing to purchasing a can because I needed a really quick topping for something. It had been so long since I had bought a can of pie filling.
When I opened it up, I was so disappointed! Where was the fruit? The ratio of fruit to the gel it was suspended in was pitiful. Ugh! And the gel? Don’t even get me started on the gel.
If you really must buy canned pie filling, I would find brands or stores that sell it in glass jars so that you can see exactly what you’re getting.
Or, if you have a great canned pie filling that you’d like to share with the rest of us, please do. We all love a good shortcut, as long as it’s good.
Here’s another thing I love about making your own pie filling…controlling the amount of sweetness. My blueberries were quite sweet. So really, they didn’t need a ton of sugar.
I always think that when there’s too much sugar in a recipe, it really masks the flavor of the main ingredient. Sugar does more in a baked recipe than just sweeten it, so you need to be careful with adjustments.
However, in this pie filling? We can add more or less. I think I found a great balance, but it will really depend on your particular berries.
The other thing you can control is how much fruit you pack into this filling. I went whole hog and packed a ton of berries into it. If you like more of the filling syrup and a bit less fruit, feel free to reduce the amount by a cup.
Now… what to do with this amazing Fresh Blueberry Pie Filling? Well, let it cool…Then, you seriously could just sit down with a spoon and start eating it as is, it’s so good. I mean, why waste calories on pie crust? (kidding ;)
But, use it to fill a pre-baked pie shell for some of the best blueberry pie you’ll ever make. Or….ladle it on top of vanilla ice cream and it will sort of be like pie ala mode…
Or…it would be amazing over a plain cake like pound cake or angel food cake or wherever a generous spoonful of blueberry pie filling would make you happy.
What did I use this delicious filling for?
Guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out :)
Fresh Blueberry Pie Filling
- 9 Tablespoons sugar
- 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 pinch salt
- zest from one lemon
- 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 6 cups fresh blueberries divided
Wash and drain blueberries. Set aside.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, water and salt in a large sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring until thoroughly combined. Add 4 cups of blueberries to the pan. (Reserve the remaining blueberries.)
Bring mixture to a boil and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
Once the mixture has thickened, take it off the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Then, add the remaining blueberries, tossing gently to combine and coat.
Pour into a large bowl to cool. Once cool, it is ready to use or store. Fill a pre-baked piecrust or use it top your choice of cakes and desserts. Store filling in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
*My blueberries were very sweet on their own. While we loved it exactly as is, I could have reduced the sugar by a tablespoon (which would have been a total of 8 Tablespoons or 1/2 cup) and still been quite happy with it. If you're a super sweet pie filling lover or if your berries are on the tart side, you might want to add 2 or 3 extra Tablespoons of sugar. For my family, that would be too sweet, but for others, it might be just right.
*This filling recipe is chock full of berries. If you prefer a looser filling, just reduce the berries by a cup.
*While the filling is thickened on the stove, it will set up further when it cools and even more so when it is refrigerated.
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