American Flag Pie: Hooray for the red, white, and blueberry!

Truthfully? When I saw this American flag pie sitting in the test kitchen, awaiting its critique, I thought, “I wouldn’t make that in a million years.”

Not because it didn’t look delicious; it absolutely did.

But would you look at all that work? Not just making a pie crust, which is time-consuming enough. But cutting the stripes to the exact right length! Cutting out stars! Making two different fillings, and then positioning them in the crust EXACTLY right, in order to get the flag effect.

Yeah – when you-know-what freezes over. As I’ve said more than once, when they were passing out “fancy” genes, I wasn’t standing in the Martha Stewart line.

But then… well, that pie just looked too darned good to pass up. Strawberry and blueberry – all in one? And heck, it’s not as if the stripes have to be woven into any fancy lattice-type crust. I should be able to do this – right?

If I can do this, so can you. And, truth be told – yeah, it took awhile, but it was actually fun.

Though don’t tell anyone I said that – I’ll lose my charter membership in Baking Cranks Anonymous.

Are you ready? Follow me on the path to fancy.

1. Prepare your favorite double pie crust recipe.

I’m devoted to our Classic Double Pie Crust, whose combination of two fats – butter and shortening – offers the best of all worlds: flavor from the butter, structure from the shortening, and flakiness from both. For more on this, see our post Butter vs. Shortening: the Great Pie Crust Bakeoff.

How to make Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

2. Divide the pie dough into two pieces: one-third of the total, and two-thirds.

That’s right, one piece should be twice as large as the other. If you have a scale, this is an easy task. If you don’t, just eyeball it.

Why not just divide the dough in half?

Well, think about it. The bottom crust has to line the entire pie pan, and then some; the top is just for decoration. So use the larger piece for the bottom crust.

How to make Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

3. Roll the larger piece of pie dough into a 13″ round.

You’re going to use it to line a 9″ pie pan that’s at least 1 1/2″ deep, plus make a tall crimp. This pie has a LOT of filling, so yes, you do need a pan with these dimensions.

If your pan is shallow or small, just assume you’ll take any excess filling and bake it up separately. Throw a bit of streusel on top, and you’ve got berry crisp.

How to make Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

4. Make a pretty (and tall) crimp.

I mean, why not? If you’re going the fancy route, you might as well go all the way.

And with all the filling you’ll be piling into the crust, be sure to make that crimp just as tall and sturdy as you can.

How to make Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

5. Cut out the stars and stripes.

Roll the smaller piece of pie dough into a 10″ x 6″ rectangle about 3/8″ thick. Cut the dough, lengthwise, into six 3/4″-wide, 10″-long strips; you’ll have some dough left over. 

Here’s a neat trick: to trim the 10″ strips exactly the right length, get yourself a 9″ parchment round (pre-cut, or DIY). Mark off one-quarter of the round; this is the blueberry/stars area.

Fit six stripes onto the parchment, trimming them even with its curved edge; again, you’ll have dough left over.

Use star cookie cutters to cut 1 1/4″ stars (or the size stars of your choice) from the remaining dough. Arrange them on the parchment. 

Place the stars and stripes, still on their round, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. A giant spatula works very well here.

How to make Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

Place any remaining stars and stripes on the same sheet.

For extra sparkle and crunch, spray everything with water and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar. Any extra stars and stripes will become yummy pie-scrap snacks.

Why not use an egg wash (egg and water, or egg white and water) – won’t that help the sugar adhere better? Yes, but it’ll also promote browning; and you want these stars and stripes to remain as light-colored as possible.

How to make Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

6. Prepare the berries.

To make the strawberry filling: Whisk together 1/2 cup Pie Filling Enhancer, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Toss with 5 to 6 cups hulled, chopped strawberries.

Note: the original recipe calls for strawberry-rhubarb filling; follow it if you wish. I just figure not all of you out there have easy access to rhubarb.

To make the blueberry filling: Whisk together 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons Pie Filling Enhancer. Toss 2 cups blueberries with the sugar mixture, then stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice.

Both of the berry mixtures will be quite dry; don’t worry about it, they’ll exude plenty of juice as they bake.

And what if you don’t have Pie Filling Enhancer? For the strawberry filling, substitute 5 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour; and add 1/3 cup sugar. For the blueberry filling, substitute 2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour; and increase the sugar by 4 teaspoons.

Want to know more about the various ways to thicken fruit pie fillings? Read our post, Thickening Fruit Pies, for lots of good information.

How to make Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

7. Spoon the berries into the crust.

First, block off a 90° wedge of the crust using a piece of folded aluminum foil. I used an adjustable pie dam; worked like a charm. I regret we no longer sell this handy tool, but I’ll bet you can find it elsewhere.

Pile the blueberries into the 90° wedge; the strawberries into the remainder of the crust. You’ll need to really heap the berries quite high; that’s OK, they’ll settle as they bake.

Once you’ve added the berries, remove the foil (or dam).

OK, now don’t panic – I’m about to diverge from our American Flag Pie recipe. Charlotte, the test kitchen baker who developed this lovely pie, likes to add her stars and stripes to the top of the pie before baking. I like to bake the stars and stripes separately, and apply them to the fully baked pie as soon as I take it out of the oven.

What’s the difference? Pastry baked atop the pie runs the risk of becoming “stained” with bubbling berry juices.

Heaven forbid! Maybe I picked up a few of those Martha genes after all.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

How to make Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

8. Bake the pie on your oven’s lower rack.

Why the lower rack? Baking pie in the bottom part of your oven helps insure its bottom crust will be nice and brown, rather than white and soggy.

Bake the stars and stripes on a rack above the pie. I don’t show them here, as I wanted to get a picture of the pie on the bottom. But as soon as I took the shot, I slid those stars and stripes right onto the rack above the pie.

Bake the stars for about 12 to 14 minutes; the stripes for 20 to 22 minutes, until set and barely browned. You want them to be fully baked, but still be fairly light-colored.

Bake the pie for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 375°F and bake for an additional 45 to 60 minutes, until the filling is bubbling and the crust nicely browned.

How to make Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

Do as I say, not as I did! I got busy doing other chores and left my stars and stripes in the oven too long. Hooray for the red, brown, and blue…

How to make Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

9. Remove the pie from the oven.

Note the overflow; this is exactly why I continually beat the drum for parchment. EASY cleanup.

Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

10. Immediately apply the stars and stripes.

Do this carefully; the filling will be very hot. The hot filling acts as “glue,” holding the decorations in place as it cools.

Speaking of cooling: as with any fruit pie, you want this to cool completely before you cut into it – unless you’re OK with a soupy red-and-blue mess.

If you want warm pie, your best bet is to reheat individual slices just before serving. If you’re very careful, you can do this in the microwave. Otherwise, your oven, set at 350°F will do a good job.

That wasn’t so hard, was it? Trying something challenging can be fun – especially when the result is just so darned cute.

Happy 4th!

Please read, bake, and review our recipe for American Flag Pie.

Print just the recipe.

Wait a minute – before you go, I’ve got one more tip to pass along.

Take any leftover strips of pie dough, sprinkle generously with cinnamon-sugar, bake, and enjoy…

How to make American Flag Pie via @kingarthurflour

…a fast-food lookalike – pie fries!

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

comments

    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Thanks. Lydia – as I sad, I’m not really the fussy baking type, but this was fun project. You should try it! PJH

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Francine,

      Here, I fixed that for you.
      Gorgeous *ALMOST* too pretty to cut into!
      It tastes as great as it looks, so dig in. ~ MJ

  1. Loretta

    Hi, PJ. What a gorgeous pie! I wondered your opinion on whether this would work as nicely with cherry pie filling.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Hi Loretta,
      Cherry would be just fine as the red for the pie. Cherry Berry! ~ MJ

  2. Vicki

    What a beautiful pie! Would this be ok baked the day before? I have to travel to family’s house for the 4th.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Sure, Vicki, go for it. If possible, reheat the pie for 20 to 30 minutes in a 350°F oven (lightly tented with foil) just before serving, to freshen it up. Enjoy! PJH

  3. Craig

    Do you think if you put a thin or slightly scattered layer of the blueberries on the bottom of the strawberry side (and vice versa) might come out ok? Meaning hopefully the blue of the blue berries might not bleed through. Just a thought of maybe trying to spread the flavor of both the berries throughout the pie and not just part of the pie one flavor and the other part another.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Craig, I’m sure that would work just fine. So long as you don’t bring the bottom layer of berries more than halfway up the pan, there shouldn’t be any noticeable upward seepage. Enjoy! PJH

  4. Misty

    Does the placement of the pie in the oven matter if you have a convection oven? I always assumed the fan helped circulate the air evenly. Is that a real thing or did I make that up?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      The fan in the convection oven does help circulate the air, promoting even heat and browning. Still, center placement (or as directed in the recipe) is generally best if there is only one item in the oven. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  5. cookiesfromhome

    Oh what a delicious pie you have made.just mouth watering and tummy tickling.

    Thanks and well done.

    Reply
  6. Ethan

    Pies have been a challenge for me but I’m stoked to give this one a try. This might be a stupid question but are we to bake the stars, stripes, AND pie at the same time, but simply remove the stars after the first dozen minutes, the stripes after the first 20, and so on? I may need a bit more of a play by play to grasp it all haha

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      That’s what we’re here for Ethan, to throw down the baking play-by-play! For the sake of efficiency, we like to bake the pie and the crust topping all at once. You can use tongs or your finger to quickly pull the stars off the sheet once they reach the right amount of doneness and then allow them to cool on a cooling wrack while the rest continues to bake in the oven. This way you can put the stars and stripes on top of the warm pie after it comes out of the oven, which helps to secure them in place. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  7. JuliaJ

    Do the stripes/stars shrink a bit when pre-baked? Just wondering if the stripes should be cut a big longer/wider to extend out to the perimeter of the pie.

    What a yummy project for the weekend, thanks!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Great question, Julia! You’re a forward thinker. We’ve found that if you cut the strips using a 9″ piece of parchment to guide you and you cut the strips right to the edge, they turn out to be the perfect size. They will shrink slightly as they bake, but then this allows for the strips to rest slightly inside the edge of the outer crust. Make sense? Use that 9″ template and you should be all set. Happy pie baking! Kye@KAF

    2. PJ Hamel, post author

      And great answer, Kye. That was exactly what I was hoping would happen – and it did. The strips shrunk just the tiniest bit, and then were absolutely perfect for stretching across the inside of the pie, between the crusts. PJH

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      If you would like to use Instant ClearJel, you can use 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon in the strawberry rhubarb filling and 2 tablespoons in the blueberries. To prevent clumping, add the ClearJel to the sugar and mix before adding it to the fruit. There’s also a bit of sugar in the Pie Filling Enhancer, so feel free to add an additional tablespoon of sugar to each portion as well if you would like to make a sweeter pie. Happy pie baking! Kye@KAF

  8. MaryKay Rose

    I LOVE this PJ! I’m so happy I found it when I googled it. I’m going to try making it a cherry/blueberry cobbler for the 4th of July. I think ithe rectangular shape will make it look even more like a flag. To simplify and save time, I bought crust and pie filling. Wish I had a tiny star cookie cutter because the stars took a while to cut out by hand. Hope it turns out as pretty as yours. Thanks for posting. 🙂

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      MaryKay, that’s a great idea! Texas-style cobblers have a lattice crust, so it makes perfect sense. I’m sure it turned out just as wonderful as it sounds. And I’m definitely stashing your inspiration away for next year – thanks! PJH

  9. flutterbyhats

    Well, I made it! It isn’t as pretty as yours. It is cooling off so I haven’t had any yet! I can’t wait to dig into it. It will most likely have to wait until tomorrow as it is so late!
    Thank you for the great idea!
    Cathy

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Today is the day for digging in. We hope this recipe becomes a 4th of July favorite year after year! Elisabeth@KAF

  10. Paula

    What a helpful article!!! Lots and lots of good tips. I wish I had found it yesterday before I baked my pie. Aaaaah, so you don’t put the stars and stripes on the pie when you go to bake it. I wondered if they’d burn so fortunately I checked after about 15 minutes and realized they would. I took them off with my fingers, was able to save them all and applied when the pie came out of the oven. Mine was still pretty, just looked like the flag was waving a little.

    While my nerves got a little rattled for a moment or two during the process this was a LOT of fun to make. It still turned out beautifully and was soooo delicious. I’ll use your helpful tips the next go round. Fantastic blog and excellent help/support!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Having fun is the most important thing, Paula! Congrats to you for accomplishing something new. Elisabeth@KAF

  11. Lindy

    I, too, “cheated” and used bought crust and canned cherry and blueberry filling. What a hit it was at a 4th of July picnic!!!!! Special thanks to King Arthur for the inspiration!!!!! Another guest made homemade vanilla ice cream…just doesn’t get any better than this!!! Delicious patriotic pie, ice cream and fireworks! Happy 4th everyone! PLUS – it forced me to challenge myself to see if I could actually pull this off and am proud to say thanks to the very detailed directions….it worked!

    Reply
  12. Vanessa

    I made this pie for a 4th of july party, and it came out really good! I would recommend filling the pie with heaping amounts (as pictured) of blueberries and strawberry filling, as it does cook down quite a bit.

    Reply
  13. Ellen Deraney

    I love this! so simple and so creative! Have not made it yet… Wonder if it works just as well by putting stars and stripes on while baking but PJ probably knows best. It looks lovely 🙂

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel, post author

      Ellen, you can absolutely add the stars and stripes prior to baking; saves a couple of steps, and they’ll be just fine – so long as you don’t mind the risk of juices bubbling over and “staining” them. I wouldn’t mind… but for the picture, wanted to create a “picture perfect” pie! 🙂 PJH

  14. Hiral

    Ohh .. Yummy Pie Look yummy .. Will surely try it .. Tomorrow.. Love strawberry and Specially Sweet Dishes Made From Strawberry . I have tried Strawberry jam made by me . Its really made so yummy

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Emma, no, for this recipe the crust is not blind baked before filling. Barb@KAF

  15. Amy

    Well, I had high hopes and they were dashed. Although I had blueberry and strawberry bubble over (thank you parchment paper suggestion!), my pie was not bubbly all over. So I baked it until I saw a few more bubbles besides on the side. The strawberries became dark brown and taste almost burned on top. I have not cut into it. So bummed 😒😒. Perhaps you have more suggestions?! I’d put a picture if it let me.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We are so sorry the pie did not turn out as wonderful as hoped! Next time, once you can see the bubbling, it should be done. Also, check the temperature of your oven. An oven thermometer is helpful! Elisabeth@KAF

  16. Linda I

    I made this today for a evening gathering. I used rhubarb from my garden as well as the strawberries and also put a layer of blueberries over the entire pie shell so that each piece had a variety of fruit. I waited until about 20 minutes before the pie was done and applied the stars and stripes. Most of the bubbling was done at that point and no staining of the appliques occurred. I was able to adjust the pieces to fit exactly by laying them on the filling and trimming. I used the crust recipe you recommended but I couldn’t help using my go-to pie crust trick as well – I substitute 2 tablespoons of vodka for an equal amount of the ice water. Seems to make the crust flakier and more tender. Everyone was very impressed with the pie and several took pictures of it. I gave everyone your web address so they could explore for themselves! This will likely become an annual addition to our 4th of July gathering.

    Reply
  17. Holly Chen

    Baked this pie yesterday. It looked awesome, but the strawberry/rhubarb wasn’t for us. Could we substitute raspberries next time (preferably frozen because raspberries aren’t reasonably priced until later in the summer)? If so, how much sugar would you recommend?

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi Holly,
      We’re glad to hear you gave this festive recipe a try! You can certainly use frozen raspberries in the future if you’d like. You’ll need about 5 cups of frozen berries and 3/4 cups of pie filling enhancer. If you somehow wind up with fresh raspberries, you can use a bit less thickener. (Frozen berries tend to give off a bit of moisture when they thaw.) Happy patriotic baking! Kye@KAF

  18. Lcmoberg

    The strawberry filling instructions in step six are missing an ingredient (1/2 cup sugar)! Whoops… Mine turned out a little too tangy without it!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sorry for any confusion, Lcmoberg — in the pure strawberry version highlighted in the blog, we don’t recommend additional sugar because what you get in the Pie Filling Enhancer is usually enough to sweeten ripe strawberries. If you choose to follow the Strawberry Rhubarb version on the recipe page, you will see that we suggest some more added sugar. Additionally, if you choose to use a thickener other than Pie Filling Enhancer, you’ll want to follow the tip for adding sugar to compensate. Mollie@KAF

  19. Suzanne

    I made the pie yesterday and it came out perfectly! Thank you for all the tips.
    I have a tip for spraying the Stars and Stripes — I used a mini-mister that sprays a very fine mist. Bought it at Michaels and dug it out of my craft supplies (hadn’t been used!). Now it’s in my kitchen drawer!

    Reply
  20. Cathy

    By removing the foil divider for baking, the blueberries and strawberries don’t bleed into each other? Could you leave it in and remove after it is baked or would that make it all a jumble? I am making this tomorrow for a bake sale, and may have to make 2, just to be able to taste it! So lovely. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      They bleed together just a bit, Cathy, but generally hold their shape quite well. We wouldn’t recommend keeping the foil in during baking, as the filling would just end up sticking to it and making for more of a mess during removal. If you’re feeling worried about the shape holding, you could also pre-bake the filling, as we do in our similar Fourth of July Flag Cobbler. Mollie@KAF

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