Dragon Fruit Pie Dough
Hello there! Isn’t this just the prettiest pie dough color you’ve ever seen!? I love it so much! I picked up the book Pieometry from the library a couple weeks ago, and I’ve been wanting to try one of the plant-based dyes for colored pie crust. Ta da! Here it is! It’s dyed a gorgeous magenta color from dragon fruit powder, also known as pitaya powder. I searched high and low in grocery stores near my home, but I couldn’t find it on the shelves. I ended up ordering some online. But it came in a pretty big bag, so look out for more magenta foods coming soon! 😉 And since the pie crust is already pink, I made a red strawberry pie filling to go inside. It tastes amazing and it’s a fun pie to bring to a party or celebration!
Strawberry Pie Filling
Strawberries are in season here in Oregon, making it a fabulous summer dessert to celebrate the long sunny days. But if strawberries aren’t available in your area, you can use frozen strawberries, which are sometimes more easy to find. Just cook the frozen strawberries for about twice as long until they soften and release a lot of their juices.
What is Strawberry Pie Filling Made of?
This strawberry pie filling is made from simple ingredients including strawberries, oranges, brown sugar and cinnamon. Both the juice and zest of an orange are used to add a bright, citrus flavor to this homemade pie. You can use granulated sugar instead of brown sugar in your pie filling. I just happened to be out of granulated sugar when I was putting together the pie. Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got! Plus brown sugar adds a little extra moisture and a rich caramel flavor to this strawberry pie filling.
What is the Best Thickener for Fruit Pies?
There are several different options to thicken your fruit pie filling. My dad’s go-to is tapioca, since it’s the simplest. Just mix the tapioca into your pie filling ingredients and let it sit for 15 – 30 minutes. Then add it into the pie crust and bake it. But I think the best way to thicken fruit pie filling is with cornstarch. It’s a little more work, since you need to make sure the cornstarch comes to a boil for a minute in order to fully activate its thickening powers. But I usually cook my pie fillings on the stove, so this doesn’t create extra work. Cooking your fruit pie filling before baking it releases the fruit’s juices so you can add the proper amount of thickener to prevent a runny pie.
Pro Tip: If you want your fruit pie super smooth, whisk the cornstarch in a couple tablespoons of the juice from your pie filling. This will prevent clumps from forming when you add the cornstarch.
What Are Other Ways to Thicken Pies?
Other pie thickeners include flour, arrowroot and potato starch.
Flour is probably the most readily available thickener in kitchens. But it’s lower in starch so you need twice as much flour compared to tapioca or cornstarch in order to thicken a pie filling.
Arrowroot is similar to cornstarch in that it needs to be boiled for a minute. And it creates a more consistent texture when mixed with a small amount of liquid before being added to your pie filling. However, some folks say it can have a “gluey” or gummy texture.
I’ve never used potato starch to thicken a pie, but supposedly it works well since it’s high in starch. However it can alter the taste of your pie.
How to Make a Lattice Pie Crust
I doubled the recipe for the dragon fruit pie dough so I could make a lattice design on top, also inspired from the beautiful pie designs in Pieometry. I first attempted a lattice pie crust last year on a blueberry lattice pie.
Basically, roll your pie dough on a floured surface, just like your bottom layer that goes in your pie tin. Then use a ruler or something with a long straight edge to cut the dough into long strips. Place some strips evenly spaced out all going the same direction on top of your pie. Then pull every other dough strip halfway up and lay it back down on itself. Lay down your first strip of pie dough going the opposite direction, then lay the other strips back down. Now the pie strip that’s going the opposite direction is laying under half your dough strips and on top of the other half of your dough strips. Keep repeating, alternating which strips of dough you lift up and lay back on themselves until your lattice design is complete!
If that’s confusing to read, check out some video tutorials to create a lattice design on your homemade pie crust!
Strawberry Pie Filling
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries, with the green tops trimmed off
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- juice of one orange (about ⅓ cup)
- zest of one orange (about ¼ cup)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup cornstarch
Dragon Fruit Pie Dough (from Pieometry)
- ice cubes
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup dragon fruit powder (also called pitaya powder)
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp salt
Strawberry Pie Filling
- Combine all the pie filling ingredients except the cornstarch in a medium sauce pan. Simmer on medium heat for 10 – 15 minutes, until the strawberries begin to soften and release some of their juice.
- Stir in the cornstarch and bring to a boil on high heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Dragon Fruit Pie Dough
- In a small bowl, combine add a few ice cubes to your water and return it to the fridge to stay ice cold.
- Cut your cold stick of butter into ½-inch cubes and return it to the fridge to stay cold.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, dragon fruit powder, sugar and salt.
- Toss the cold butter cubes in the flour mixture. Use your index fingers and thumbs to squish the butter cubes until they resemble thick cornflakes.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the ice cold water and mix the dough with a large spoon. Keep adding another 1 tablespoon of cold water at a time, mixing after each addition, until the dough can hold its shape when squeezed in the palm of your hand, and there are no dry pockets of flour. (Typically 4 – 5 tablespoons is enough).
- On a clean work surface, shape the dough into two discs, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap each dough disc separately in plastic cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or up to 3 days. You can also freeze your dough in advance.
Assemble and Bake
- Grease a 9-inch pie dish with butter.
- Leave your larger disc of pie dough on the counter for about 10 minutes to warm and soften a bit. Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out your pie dough to be able to fit in the bottom and up the sides of your pie dish.
- Transfer the pie dough into your greased pie dish. Cover with plastic cling wrap and return to the fridge so the butter stays cold.
- Roll out the smaller disc of pie dough on your lightly floured work surface. Use a ruler or something with a long straight edge to cut your dough into strips of varying widths.
- Remove your bottom pie dough from the fridge, and add the cooled strawberry pie filling. Lattice your top pie crust (see blog post for instructions) then cover with plastic cling wrap and return to the fridge for at least 30 minutes. You can also freeze the pie at this stage; just increase the total baking time by 30 to 45 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake for 25 minutes, then rotate the pie. If the crust is already starting to brown, cover just the crust edges with aluminum foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F. Bake for another 90 – 100 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and crispy.Let cool for at least 1 hour, then enjoy!