Oh, springtime… or as we know it here in Arizona, the not-so-hot time of year before our endless summer. We’re blessed with some truly gorgeous days this time of year, where the sun is warm but the air is still cool — It’s a great time to throw together a berry pie!
In my experience, even the best pie crust lacks in flavor. Sure, they taste like butter and a bit of salt and sugar, but I always find myself wanting for more. I adore the flavor of a graham cracker crust, but it doesn’t hold up well to a juicy berry pie filling. Here I’ve created sort of a hybrid of a traditional pie crust and a graham cracker crust, and it’s just to die for! Filled with a sweet and flavorful filling of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries, and topped with my favorite crumbly and crunchy pecan streusel, it’s a springtime pie you can be proud to put on your table.
berry streusel pie with graham crust
(makes one 9 inch pie)
graham pie dough
3/4 c + 4 tsp (4 oz / 113 g) all purpose flour
7 whole graham crackers, crushed (3.75 oz / 106 g)
1/2 tsp (1 g) cinnamon
Scant 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp (7 g) granulated sugar
10 Tbs (5 oz / 142 g) cold butter, chopped small
3 Tbs (47 g) cold water
1 c chopped pecans
1/2 c (70 g) all purpose flour
1/2 c + 2 Tbs (127 g) brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp (4 g) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (4 g) salt
1/2 tsp (2 g) baking powder
1 tsp (5 g) vanilla extract
4 Tbs (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
32 oz frozen mixed berries
3/4 c (138 g) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp (2 g) salt
3 Tbs (27 g) cornstarch
1/4 c (60 g) water
2 tsp (10 g) vanilla extract
1 Tbs (16 g) lime juice
For the pie dough: In a medium sized bowl, mix together the flour, crushed graham crackers, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. Add the chopped cold butter and work into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or by hand, until the mixture is crumbly and slightly damp-feeling. Add the cold water and stir together just until a sticky dough forms. Shape the dough into a thick disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for a minimum of one hour, or leave chilled for several days if you’d like to make the pie another day.
After the dough is fully chilled, set it out at room temperature for a bit if it’s a little too stiff, then roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about a 1/4 inch thick rough circle that is about 12-13 inches across. Carefully place the rolled out dough into a 9 inch pie dish, letting the edges overhang.
Roll the overhanging dough under all around the edge of the dish, tucking it under the edge of the dish just slightly. Crimp the edge all the way around, and set in the fridge to keep cold while you make the streusel!
For the streusel: Grab a medium sized bowl and combine the pecans, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the vanilla and melted butter and stir until crumbly. Set aside at room temperature and make the berry filling. Now’s the time to preheat your oven to 375 degrees!
For the berry filling: In a large bowl, mix together the frozen berries, sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Stir in the water, vanilla, and lime juice. Pour the filling into a pot and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fruit starts to break down a bit, and has gotten syrupy and thickened.
To assemble the pie: Remove the pie shell from the fridge and pour in the warm berry filling, smoothing the top. Scatter the streusel on top by the handful until all the streusel is used. Lightly push the streusel to the edges of the fruit filling so that all the exposed filling is covered, and pop the pie into the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover the entire top of the pie loosely with aluminum foil. Return the pie to the oven and continue to bake for about 15 minutes more, until the fruit filling starts to bubble up around the streusel, and the streusel and crust edge are golden brown. Let cool at room temperature for about an hour or two. Serve warm if you like, or chill for 2-4 hours or overnight if you’d like to serve the pie cold (psst – it’ll cut a lot easier when cold!). Garnish with powdered sugar, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream before serving!
This pie very nicely bridges the gap between winter and spring. Juicy berries coupled with crumbly pecan streusel, all inside a graham cracker-flavored pie crust, will prepare you for all the glorious outdoor activities warmer weather has to offer. You’ve probably earned it after the drudgery of snow and cold this past winter — enjoy it!