Easy fruit pie takes about an hour to put together and bake. The pie dough is patted into the pan instead of rolled and it is topped with a crumb topping made of pie dough, sugar and spice instead of a traditional rolled top crust. The pie crust is filled with a can of commercial fruit pie filling.
The advantages of this type of pie dough is there is no need to roll out the dough, no need to rest the dough in the refrigerator before rolling and no need to cover most of your kitchen and yourself with clouds of flour in the process. You could use fresh fruit or berries mixed with flour or cornstarch and spices instead of canned pie filling.
I began making ‘pat in the pan’ pie crusts years ago, not long after we moved into this tiny apartment. There is no room in the closet of a kitchen here to roll out a pie crust. All attempts failed. I like crust on top of fruit pie so I had to come up with some way of getting that without the need to roll out the dough. I’m sure other cooks have done the same.
The recipe makes one 9 to 10 inch pie. It will serve 6 to 8 depending on the size of the slices.
Easy Fruit Pie
- 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1/3 plus vegetable oil
- Cold water
- 1 can of commercial fruit or berry pie filling
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- Other spices if desired
Heat the oven to 425 degree F. Use a 9 to 10 inch metal pie pan. If you use a glass pie pan heat the oven to 400 degree F.
Measure the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the salt, sugar and baking powder. Mix with a spoon. Slowly pour in the vegetable oil beginning with 1/3 cup. Add half that amount of oil again (I would guess it’s about 2 to 3 tablespoons). Stir while adding the oil. Drizzle in small amounts (teaspoon at a time) of cold tap water while stirring. When the dough begins to come together while still crumbly stop adding water. Form the dough into a ball. Use 2/3 of the dough for the pie crust. Reserve 1/3 for the topping.
Take the 2/3 portion of pie dough and form into a flatted ball. Put it in the bottom of the pie pan. Beginning in the center press and work the dough out to the sides of the pan. Press it thin in the bottom of the pan and begin working the dough up the sides of the pan. Keep it thin. It should reach the edge of the pan and maybe a `1/4 inch above that.
Flute the edge of the dough around the top of the pan. Pour in the canned pie filling evenly over the crust.
Chop the dough left in the mixing bowl with a spoon or with a pastry cutter. Add the sugar and cinnamon to that and mix well. It should be very crumbly. Cover the top of the pie filling with the crumb mixture.
Lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the top of the pie to keep the crust from burning. Bake the pie for 45 minutes. Remove it from the oven and remove the foil. Allow the pie to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting.
The same pie dough can be used for pie shells. Use 1 cup of flour, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 3/4 teaspoon sugar and 3/4 teaspoon baking powder. Add water in small amounts. How much water is needed depends on the moisture content of the flour which varies.
The same method works with shortening and butter pie crust dough. Use half shortening or lard and half butter. The fat should be cold before working into the pie dough.
My mother used a Betty Crocker pie crust recipe that used oil instead of shortening. She rolled it out between sheets of wax paper. That way no extra flour was added. Her pie crusts were always good but they took a heck of a lot of time.
To make a canned fruit filling taste more like homemade stir in a teaspoon of lemon juice and add some spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or cloves. Apple pie spice can be used.