Blueberry Rhubarb Pie: A Tale of Two Tries

blueberry rhubarb pie

Sometimes an idea gets stuck in your head.

For me, these are usually always food related. This time it was blueberry rhubarb pie.

Sounds innocent enough, doesn’t it?

So I ignored the fact that I’ve never worked with rhubarb, never made a blueberry pie, and haven’t made any other variety of pie in years… and set out to make what I thought would be a triumphant recipe.

blueberries & rhubarb

I shouldn’t have been surprised when I cut a slice to find pieces of fruit floating in a sea of red-blue water under that beautiful crust.


Alright, minor setback. It still tasted delicious, so at least I had that going. And the crust was AMAZING. Adapted from Ina Garten, naturally.

pie dough

pie filling

I set out to do some research.

It seemed to be the general consensus that blueberries will keep whatever thickening agent you’re using from working unless you cook it ahead of time. This I could do. I had used flour in pie #1, and thought I’d switch to cornstarch for pie #2.

Round two started with half the blueberries going into a pot with sugar and cooking down, then combining with a cornstarch slurry and cooking a bit more. The changes were instantly visible in the filling.

filling #1 & #2

It also seemed my idea of a sky-high pie might not have been the best. I cut down on the amount of fruit.

filled pie #1 & #2

I also mayyybe didn’t wait until pie #1 was completely cool to slice it. So for pie #2 I waited. And waited. And then I waited some more.

pie #1 & #2

Well… again, delicious. But still, not nearly a clean slice of pie!

I definitely waited several hours to slice it. Should I have refrigerated it before slicing? Cut bigger holes in the crust? Cooked it longer? Prayed to the pie gods?

I’m hoping somebody out there will have the answer.

So I’m kind of giving you a recipe today, but kind of not.

If you want something that’s delicious, but not tooootally presentable, go ahead and make it.

I’m more hoping that somebody reading this is a pie expert (mom? grandma?? kind internet stranger???) and can point me in the direction of an adjustment to this recipe that will help it hold up a bit better.

blueberry rhubarb pie

In the meantime, I’ll eat the rest of my super delicious, sloppy pie.

**Edit 5/1/12: Fixed! A little refrigeration was all this baby needed. Lesson learned!


Blueberry Rhubarb Pie


  • pie dough, recipe follows
  • 1 1/2 lb rhubarb, rinsed & sliced
  • 1 1/2 lb blueberries, rinsed & picked over, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided, plus extra to sprinkle over pie
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch, whisked with 1/4 cup cold water
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • blueberry jam, for brushing bottom crust
  • 1 egg mixed with a splash of water, for brushing top crust
  • fresh whipped cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Prepare pie dough as directed below. While it's chilling in the fridge, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and start the pie filling. Mash half the blueberries with 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until reduced by half. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and cook for another couple of minutes until the mixture has returned to a boil and the cornstarch is completely incorporated. Pour this mixture into a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and allow to cool.
  2. Roll out the bottom crust and place in the pie pan as directed below. Brush the bottom and sides with blueberry jam. Fill with the cooled fruit mixture.
  3. Roll out the second disc of dough and place on top of the pie. Trim the dough so that there is about an inch of overhang. Tuck the edge of the top layer under the bottom layer and crimp the edges. Brush the crust lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a teaspoon of sugar. Cut several slits in the crust for ventilation.
  4. Bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Start to keep an eye on it around 40 minutes to make sure the crust isn't browning too quickly. If it is, cover the edge of the crust with a ring of foil to protect it from any further browning. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. I'm really thinking an hour in the fridge before cutting would be favorable as well.


1 9 inch pie


Pie Crust

Adapted from Ina Garten


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup very cold butter flavored vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water


  1. Dice the butter and shortening; return to the fridge while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Pulse the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor until combined. Add the butter and shortening, pulse until they're the size of peas. Drizzle in the water with the machine running until the dough starts to form a ball. Dump the dough onto a well floured board, cut in half, and form two discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Take one disc out of the fridge and roll out on a well floured surface, turning and re-flouring as you go to make sure it doesn't stick. When it's big enough to fill your pie pan with an inch or two of overhang, fold up the dough and unfold in your pie pan, easing it into place. Repeat with the second disc of dough for the top.

Posted in: Desserts, Fruit, Pies/Tarts, Spring, Vegetarian

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19 Responses to “Blueberry Rhubarb Pie: A Tale of Two Tries”

  1. Mom says:

    I believe you did everything right Britt…blueberry pie is always a bit on the “runny” side. It looks beautiful and, as you said, it tasted great, no harm no foul!

  2. Lelia Oster says:

    I think refrigeration would help a lot! Naturally more runny at room temperature. Almost any cooked pie is. In my opinion & experience.

  3. brittany says:

    Thanks for the input! 🙂

    • Brittany, I can’t believe you went thru such grief for a pie!! Firstly, I applaud your dedication for getting it right. Secondly, I absolutely hate rhubarb. I’m not any good at pie making–It’s too intense. Sorry for the attitude, but you go girl. Maybe a personal note to Ida will help. Love, Gramma

  4. Vicki @ WITK says:

    I feel like blueberry pie is always a little runny. You wouldn’t want to add a ton of cornstarch to thicken it up because you would change the flavor a bit. The pie looks and sounds delicious, I’d eat it!

  5. Chris says:

    Using apple pectin might be a consideration- you know… like in making jam.

  6. brittany says:

    The slices came out much better once refrigerated, so I think that’s all I needed to do!

    I really appreciate all the suggestions – thanks!

  7. Joe says:

    I’d rather have a warm and runny pie over a cold, but pretty pie any day!

    • A Warnke says:

      I’m with you. I like my pie warm if it runs who cares. Tastes better than cold any day unless it is a strawberry yogurt pie mom friend may had to be frozen. Fruit pies warm, rumnny who cares.

  8. Sue O. says:

    I’d try tapioca in the filling. I’d have to research how much, but the quick cooking tapioca works really well with other fruit pies. I believe that is what is what I used in a strawberry rhubarb pie, made a huge heaping pie.

  9. Laurie says:

    I made a blueberry-rhubarb pie a couple of weeks ago, and used instant tapioca. It worked great and I didn`t precook anything. It wasn`t runny at all and did not need to be refrigerated.

  10. Bette says:

    Hi Laurie, Could you tell me how much tapioca you used? For some reason flour just will not thicken my pies any more….GMOs to blame??

  11. Laurie says:

    Hi Bette, sorry I didn`t answer sooner, just checked back today. I used 1/4c of the instant tapioca.Hope it works for you.

  12. Cathy says:

    Great recipe! Next time, try cornstarch without the water. The filling should be a bit thicker that way.

  13. joey says:

    One thing I’ve found with pies is that slow and steady wins the race. I tend to use flour instead of cornstarch to thicken while preserving flavor in a ratio of 2 Tbs flour to 1/4 cup water. I incorporate this slowly while cooking on medium-low heat until very thick. It holds my blueberry pie together a bit better.

    Part of the problem is the rhubarb. Like celery, it retains water which will naturally escape in the cooking process. You may want to cook the rhubarb down with the blueberries. I typically leave my rhubarb in 1-inch pieces so that it doesn’t totally disappear after cooking, but it will guarantee the water will release and you can adjust thickness before baking.

    Either way, this looks like it has amazing flavor. I don’t mind a runny pie if I’m eating it myself, but I certainly understand wanting it to look nice for guests.

    Happy pie-ing.

  14. Rachel says:

    You could always try adding in a little gelatine (or agar agar powder to keep it vegetarian friendly) to help with the setting of the filling.

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