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. Cea Noyes

    Made this for the 4th of July feast. It was a hit. I definitely need to up the thickener though. My strawberries were very juicy so the servings were rather messy. Next time I’ll try your enhancer.
    Thanks for the alternative thickener recipe as I just found the pie recipe this week and couldn’t order enhancer in time.
    It looked great, even though we discovred my oven was running hot and my stripes got a bit browner than I wanted. I haven’t baked a pie in years so I was happy this came out so well. The instructions and explanations in the blog post were very reassuring.

    Reply
  2. Sara

    Just tried this with an almond flour crust. Haven’t actually tasted it yet, but one word of advise for anyone who wants to try it, beware of the crust burning within the first 30 minutes. I baked it with the stars and stripes on the pie, which was not the best idea as they are burnt. I’m hoping since the edge is covered it will not be burnt, and the actual pie will taste good.

    Reply
  3. Mel

    Hello!! This pie looks amazing! I’m attempting to do it for the 4th! Quick question! It says for the pie filling to add a 1/2 cup of pie filling enhancer… when I click on the link nothing comes up. What is pie filling enhancer?? Thanks so much!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We’re sorry to hear that link isn’t working, Mel. We’ve updated it so that it will bring you right to the product page for our Pie Filling Enhancer. This product is a culinary thickener that helps keep the pie perfectly sliceable and the flavor of the fruit nice and bright. You can find it on our website here. Happy pie baking! Kye@KAF

  4. Janet Rohrer

    I have been making a flag pie with cherries for years, and have won several ribbons at our county fair. I was asked to bake one with strawberries last year, and won a first prize. I have always decorated the pie before baking, but will try baking the stripes and stars, then decorate. I have 21 pies to bake for a wedding next June. Prebaked decorations would probably make the pies prettier. Just will need decorating ideas!

    Reply
  5. Kristina

    I’m going to try this. I love the idea of using the parchment paper to get everything figured out. This pie looks very nice.

    Reply
  6. Suzanne Carinha

    I have made this pie in the past (big hit!) but instead of strawberry pie, I made strawberry rhubarb pie plus the blueberry.

    Reply
  7. Carol

    Ok, one person always has to ask about gluten free! 🙂 Wondering whether it’s better to go with gf all-purpose flour or coconut flour. I’ve not tried gf crust before; all special hints to get it to look like the one pictured? Perhaps I’ll try just doing the stars and stripes–as an experiment–first. Any suggestions appreciated!!

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Looking to bake this gluten-free, Carol? We can help! You can use our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour in place of the all-purpose flour in the recipe — no other changes need to be made.
      If you’re only able to find our Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, use the filling from this recipe and use a pie crust recipe that’s designed to be gluten-free, like our Gluten-Free Pie Crust recipe. To have enough pie dough for the decorations, you’ll want to make a double batch of the Gluten-Free Pie Crust.
      To make the decorations, roll out the remaining dough and cut stars out with a cookie cutter or paring knife. To make the stripes, cut strips either with a knife or a pizza cutter. It’s easier to move the pieces if they’re cold, so it helps to cut them on parchment so you can pop them into the fridge for five or so minutes to chill them and then slide them right off the parchment onto your fruit. Happy GF baking! Annabelle@KAF

  8. Trinka

    Just posted this on Facebook as an idea that my 94-year old dad, the pie maker of the family, and I can make together for July 4th picnic. can’t wait to make it with him!

    Reply
  9. Patricia Throlson

    I wonder if this couldn’t be made as a slab pie? Increasing things to fit or perhaps just doubling the recipe.

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      We haven’t tried it, Patricia, but it sounds like a delicious experiment. The amount of dough needed will depend on if you want it to have a top crust as well as a bottom. A slab pie that only has a bottom crust uses a dough recipe of about 3 cups of flour. This is slightly more than our Classic Double Pie Crust recipe uses. You could use the crust recipe from the recipe linked above, or, do a little testing with making a 1 1/2 times batch of Classic Double Pie Crust. That should give you plenty to be a bottom crust. If you want the slab pie to have both a top and a bottom, you can either double the crust recipe from the slab pie recipe linked above, or do a triple batch of the Classic Double Pie Crust. Happy baking! Annabelle@KAF

  10. Candace

    This looks wonderful. I would have to do cherries though as I don’t like cooked strawberries. But, Hey! Wasn’t it George Washington that cut down a cherry tree? 😀

    Reply
    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Supposedly it was, Candace! We even have a recipe called Mr. Washington’s Cherry Pie for that exact reason. Cherries aren’t quite as juicy as strawberries, so if you decide to make the swap, try reducing the thickener (Pie Filling Enhancer) slightly to ensure you get the right consistency. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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