Blueberry Pie Disaster

I used the standard recipe I always use for fruit filling
3/4C sugar
3T corn starch
2-3T butter
4.5C frozen Maine blueberries

I tasted the filling and it was the perfect sweetness so I load everything into my crust, bake it and let it cool.


The juice had completely soaked the bottom crust and even after cooling, the juice flowed out like water. Obviously I should have used more cornstarch but what was the problem?

  1. Frozen blueberries have more juice than fresh?
  2. Blueberries have more juice than other fruit?

I get one more try at this so frozen or fresh blueberries and how much cornstarch?

I would be happy to eliminate any traces of your error. I love blueberry pie.

Did you defrost and drain the berries first? If not, yes, they’ll be more watery.

Thaw the berries first, before making the filling? :wink: Edit: Or, to put it another way, what Kimstu said! :o

You can use frozen, but you should thaw them first. Lay them out on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels to absorb the melt off. Otherwise, all that extra moisture ends up in your pie and, as you discovered, throws off the consistency.

I have nothing to add to the OP, but for evermore, whenever I hear “blueberry pie,” I’ll be hearing Rev. Al Sharpton saying “The GOP have booberry pie all ovah dey face.” No, he doesn’t say it exactly like that, but that’s the way I’ll remember it.

Yeah, when you thaw blueberries, there’s a huge amount of juice, almost as much volume as the blueberries themselves. Yum.

Corn starch? My mother is rolling in her grave.

You forgot the cinnamon.

I’ll go exactly opposite from other people and recommend NOT thawing the frozen blueberries. It’s how Joy of Cooking recommends. You use a lot of thickener, and you cook them pie for about 1/2 hour longer than normal, and somehow it works out. If you thaw frozen fruit, it ends up becoming super-watery, and if you drain it, you lose a lot of the good flavor.

A messy pie is not a disaster. It just means that you need to eat it with a spoon and with ice cream. Which is still a good thing.

Yep. JoC is how I learned to bake pie. It seems that for the amount of blueberries I need to (at least) double to 6T of cornstarch. Also I’m going to blind bake and seal the bottom crust first to prevent soakage.

Freezing causes the cell walls to burst. The same principle that creates potholes when water seeps into cracks in the streets and freezes.

I thought fruit was frozen quickly enough that that was not a major issue.

I once made a blueberry pie with goats cheese in the filling. So yummy.

Nutritionally, frozen is fine. Flavor-wise… well, you were going to put a bunch of sugar on it anyway, and bake it. But structurally, they still haven’t developed a process or a fruit that will bear up.

It’s the expansion of the water as it freezes that bursts the cell walls.

I vote for the double-cornstarch, no-thaw method.

I predict that if you use that much cornstarch your pie will taste like and have the consistency of glue.

In the spirit of America’s Test Kitchen, here’s what I think you should do:

Thaw and drain the blueberries. You will lose some of the flavor that way, and some of the volume, so add 20% more berries. Add genuine blueberry extract to replace an equivalent amount of liquid (you may have to experiment to see what works). Also try some other thickener like tapioca instead of cornstarch. Bake and enjoy.

I cook sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, lemon,some water, and berries to make a thickish filling - and add a bit of butter, then stir in lotsa fresh berries and put in a baked pie shell. But yeah, frozen berries have a lot of water. I’m going to make pie for the 4th.

No, forgot the lime juice.