Raspberry Pie

Raspberry Pie about to go into the oven - TheMessyBaker.com

28 Mar Raspberry Pie

Raspberry pie heading to the oven - The Messy Baker

Raspberry pie is risky business. Jam-style diehards want theirs sweet, sweet, sweet, while people like me long for a slice that will pucker the palate. After all, the ice cream’s supposed to smooth things over. Right?

If the filling isn’t stressful enough, then there’s the crust to worry about. Lattice work, a crumble topping or do you put a pastry lid on the whole kaboodle and hope for the best? Clearly, I’m still not at ease with this whole pie thing.

However, such insecurities don’t matter when family is involved. For his birthday dinner, my father-in-law requested raspberry pie in lieu of cake. When I pressed him for specifics, he looked confused and said he wanted “Raspberry Pie” not “Raspberry Jam Pie.” Oh.

Since our taste in pies seemed in sync, even if our nomenclature was off,  I turned to a family favourite. The undated recipe, addressed generically to “Dear Pie Makers,” was given to my mother so long ago I don’t remember a time when her raspberry pie was made any other way. The lovely handwriting is from an era where penmanship was important (and legible). Grease and juice spots freckle the now yellowed paper, which is not common lined binder paper but personalized stationery.

With only minor edits (my mother has scratched out references to cinnamon and margarine) the recipe hasn’t failed a Christie yet. Given this was my first all-raspberry pie, I prayed my father-in-law’s birthday would not be the first exception. Paranoid, I followed it to the letter, not even flinching at the use of tapioca, which in pudding form makes me gag. I was beyond grateful when it told me to top the pie with cutouts using a “cookie cutter suited to the season.” Since this is a milestone birthday, I picked stars.

Star cutouts for raspberry pie - The Messy Baker

As all its predecessors, this birthday pie delivered. Not only did my father-in-law approve, my own father, who leans towards lemon, had seconds. High praise indeed.

Thanks for lending me the recipe, Mom and to the its author —  Mrs. Helen L. Miller, whoever you are.

Raspberry Pie - The Messy Baker

Classic Raspberry Pie
Recipe type: Baked Goods
Prep / inactive time: 
Cook / active time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 - 8
A classic pie that’s been around so long the original was handwritten on personalized stationery. This pie is tart enough to take a scoop of sweet ice cream without becoming cloying. I’ve amended it to include the frozen fruit option.
  • 1 recipe pie dough, enough for double crust
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons minute tapioca
  • ½ lemon, zest and juice
  • 4 cups raspberries, whole (fresh or frozen and unthawed)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and place a rack on the bottom of the oven. Line a 9-inch pie plate with your favourite pastry. Instead of a top crust, use a small cookie cutter and cut out shapes to be placed on top of the filling before baking.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, tapioca and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the raspberries and toss lightly. Try to not break the fruit up. Spoon the filling into the pie shell. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Dot with butter. Place the pastry cutouts over the filling.
  3. Bake the pie on bottom rack of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the filling bubbling.
  4. Allow pie to cool. Serve warm or room temperature. Vanilla ice cream is a perfect accompaniment. Eat this pie the day it is made. (Like that’s gonna be an issue.)
This recipe can be made with blueberries or cherries. If using either of these fruits, increase the lemon to 1 whole lemon.


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  • Vanessa
    Posted at 09:23h, 28 March Reply

    I love the little stars! Where does one find minute tapioca?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:15h, 28 March Reply

      Confession time. I got mine from my mom. She’d transferred it into a glass jar with a hand written label that said, “Instant Tapioca.” My mom’s not one for specialty shops, so I’m guessing you can find it in the supermarket. Not sure which section.

      Anyone know?

  • terry
    Posted at 10:32h, 28 March Reply

    Charmian, this looks fabulous. And I can picture the stationery and handwritten recipe complete with grease and juice spots. We have some cookbooks that open directly to a page covered in spatters – an obvious favourite. This is made even more precious by that stationery. Thanks for sharing.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 16:31h, 28 March Reply

      Thanks, Terry. The recipe has been folded and refolded so often the paper is cracking at the seams. I was almost afraid to borrow the recipe lest something happen to it.

      But I now have my electronic copy so the original is safe.

  • Connie
    Posted at 13:21h, 28 March Reply

    I’m guessing the instant tapioca would be found it in the baking aisle, near the leavening and thickening agents like yeast and cornstarch? I’ve seen tapioca flour in Chinese markets next to rice flour. I love the star-cutouts, it definitely is perfect for a milestone birthday. Since you’ve adapted it for frozen fruit, you can use other shapes for different occasions. Simple is best, especially the recipes handwritten on personalized stationery, all splattered with juice and grease. I wish I had a recipe handed down to me!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 16:34h, 28 March Reply

      Thanks for the tip, Connie. I’ll look for it the next time I go to the grocery store.

      Good to know about the Chinese markets for tapioca flour. I see it called for in lots of gluten-free recipes.

  • Amy P
    Posted at 17:08h, 28 March Reply

    Minute tapioca is manufactured by Club House up in Canada. I got mine at my local No Frills, near the starch and baking supplies. I use it in any juicy pie as a dusting for crusts. It is very fine textured, so doesn’t form the great gloppy balls that you may be expecting from normal tapioca.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 23:00h, 28 March Reply

      Great information, Amy. Thanks so much. Now that you mention it, I remember Club House makes it.

      You’re right. It doesn’t form glop. And a great tip on dealing with juicy pies.

  • Mama Kelly aka Jia
    Posted at 20:46h, 28 March Reply

    Oh oh oh oh This looks fabulous!! I love a good mouth puckering raspberry pie … topped with sweetened whipped cream …… and eaten under a summer sky. YUM

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 23:03h, 28 March Reply

      Sweetened whipped cream would be a perfect topping, too!

      It was a burst of summer. Perfect description. All that’s missing is that summer sky!

  • the garlic rose
    Posted at 14:12h, 05 April Reply

    Yummy! This would be perfect with a scoop of fresh whipped cream!

  • Charmian Christie
    Posted at 12:32h, 08 April Reply

    Spot on the money! And now, that’s all I can think of.

    Got berries in the freezer…

  • melissa
    Posted at 16:11h, 23 April Reply

    My neice and I decided to make this pie this weekend but instead of one whole pie we are making individual single serving pies. This is only our second baking session (last nite was cinnamon buns) and her first time making pie a pie. It was fun. After much googling and reading that these pie should be done in 20 minutes, I am looking in my oven and it seems that this time is too short. We are using 5 inch aluminun pie tins. For now we are just watching the pies to gage when to take them out. We are also noticing a lot of juice even though we mixed the berries (from frozen) in the flour and tapioca. Is this how it is supposed to turn out? I have never made a berry pie before. Thanks!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:37h, 26 April Reply

      You are smart to not blindly follow the cooking times. I have never made mini versions of this pie, so don’t know how long they would take. My guess would be that 20 minutes wouldn’t be enough time to cook either the filling or the crust. A lot depends on how deep the pie was and where you placed it in the oven. I am still cautious with pies and don’t trust myself to stray far from the recipe.

      I didn’t have an issue with juice. I made the filling with whole berries straight from the freezer, working quickly to ensure the pie went into the oven with the berries still frozen.

      Hope your pie turned out!

  • Melissa
    Posted at 16:19h, 26 April Reply

    They turned out beautifully! the pie tins were the standard store bought foil tins that you would tend to use for individual chicken pot pie. We made 5 pies and had to add berries to fill up the pie tins by a handful or two and we did not alter the flour, sugar, tapioca measurements, your recipe’s fruit measure easily fills 4 individual pies ( we just had more dough than we expected and thought what the heck, one more). We baked them on the bottom rack position of the oven and checked on them every 5 minutes up to the 40 minute mark at which time we took them out. As they baked there was a lot of bubbling juice, while they did not bubble up and over we were not sure what to expect as we did add some extra berries to the mix. They turned out beautifully. they look so good my neice took pictures! her first pie! The tins we used made generous pie portions for one or could easily serve two.

    Thanks for the wonderful recipe. With mothers day coming up I am going to make more of these using blueberries! thanks!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 17:38h, 27 April Reply

      Thanks so much for getting back to me on your results! I’m so pleased the pies turned out for you. You were smart to keep checking them. I find you just can’t go by timing with berry pies.

      I hope your blueberry pies turn out just as well. You can increase the lemon rind on that recipe since blueberry and lemon are such a lovely combination.

      Keep baking!

  • HeatherS
    Posted at 23:09h, 27 March Reply

    I’ve made this several times now with some slight modifications. Totally delicious! I love the tartness and the intense raspberry flavor. Thanks for sharing!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 07:56h, 28 March Reply

      Thanks so much for taking to time to let me know you like this recipe. It’s one of my favourites! As you say, it’s intense and tart, not “jammy”.

      In the winter I make it with frozen raspberries. Soon I’ll be able to make it with fresh!

  • Herbivore Triathlete
    Posted at 09:42h, 18 December Reply

    My husband requested raspberry pie for Christmas dinner, looks like I’ve found a winner. One question though, can I substitute the tapioca?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:58h, 18 December Reply

      I haven’t tried it myself, but the standard substitution is 1/2 to 2/3 the amount of cornstarch (so you would need 1 tablespoon to 4 teaspoons of cornstarch for the 2 tablespoons of tapioca.)

      Hope you like the pie. It’s very simple and very tasty. Not jammy at all!

      • Herbivore Triathlete
        Posted at 19:52h, 18 December Reply

        Thanks for the quick reply! I am so excited to try this recipe, raspberries are my very favorite berry.

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 21:19h, 18 December Reply

          I’d love to hear how it turns out. I’ve never tried the cornstarch but think it would be lovely.

          Merry Christmas and Happy Pie!

  • Herbivore Triathlete
    Posted at 15:16h, 27 December Reply

    This pie was awesome! I ended up using 4 teaspoons of cornstarch and the consistency was perfect. Since it was for Christmas I used tree cutouts! Thanks for a great recipe.

    Pie Link: http://wp.me/p2Q7lX-aX

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:54h, 02 January Reply

      Glad it worked for you! I love the idea of using Christmas tree cutouts.

      Thanks for getting back to me on your results and including the link! I popped by your blog and it looks like you had a wonderful Christmas!

  • Herbivore Triathlete
    Posted at 16:57h, 27 December Reply

    P.S.~Link is for tomorrow’s post (12/28/12)

  • Raspberry Pie – Bouts of Domesticity
    Posted at 14:47h, 17 January Reply

    […] used this recipe. I’ve used it three times previously, and I love it. It is tangy and sweet. This time, I skipped […]

  • Helen Keyser
    Posted at 16:00h, 12 June Reply

    I would love to find a recipe without the tapioca. My grandmother used to make hers with flour no cornstarch. Would you have a recipe like the one she made? Thank you Please email me if you do

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:29h, 12 June Reply

      You can easily swap cornstarch for the tapioca using equal amounts. You could also use flour but I find cornstarch lighter. Hope this helps!

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