Brown Butter Strawberry Crumble Pie
This brown butter strawberry crumble pie is summer at its best! Flaky pie crust is filled with juicy fresh strawberry filling, topped with toasty brown butter oat streusel, and baked until golden brown. It’s truly the perfect summertime dessert!
Last Monday, I turned 27 and kicked off the year with a massage, izakaya, champagne, a very comfortable Reformation dress, and brown butter strawberry crumble pie for both breakfast and dessert. I think if Day 1 was any indication of the year to come, everything is going to be fine, just fine.
In the months leading up to my birthday, all I was dreaming about was fresh strawberry pie. (It’s pretty on-brand for me to choose a birthday dessert that’s anything but cake to be honest.) I truly love making my own birthday dessert because I get to make anything I like and go absolutely overboard on all of my favorite things. Like, double the brown butter streusel please and thank you.
In the end, I think I may have just created the best summer dessert ever. This pie is fresh, bright, cozy, buttery, and juicy. The crust/crumble-to-filling ratio is just perfect – we’re going heavy on the carbs with a thick (but not too thick) layer of strawberry filling. If you’re a huge pie fan like me, it’s time to make this pie like…yesterday.
Details on this brown butter strawberry crumble pie
We must discuss this pie because it’s ridiculously good. First, I start off with my favorite dough recipe. I know everyone gets all stressed out over the idea of making homemade pie dough but trust me, it’s so easy. Of course, you don’t have to go homemade, you can always use store-bought. But, I think you should try some homemade crust.
Next, the filling. There’s a couple of things you should know. 1. There is no Jello in this recipe. I am firmly anti-gelatin so we’re just using fresh strawberries and a few other delicious ingredients. 2. The filling is bright, sweet, and juicy but does not make the pie soggy. It’s a miracle if I do say so myself.
Lastly, the crumble. Streusel is maybe the best thing you can add to any dessert to make it over-the-top amazing. No one hates crumble, it’s just a fact. In this recipe, we’re adding a little brown butter to add a nutty, toasty note. Don’t miss out, you need the streusel topping!
The ingredient list
Here’s everything you’ll need to make this fresh strawberry pie from scratch!
- Pie dough – I always choose my favorite homemade crust over store-bought. But, if time is a factor, or you just don’t want to make homemade dough, store-bought is fine.
- Strawberries – choose ripe, bright red berries for the best texture and flavor.
- Lemon – both the zest and the juice.
- Oats – I used quick oats but rolled oats will work too!
- Unsalted butter – so we can make it all toasty and nutty.
- Baking basics – flour, sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, Kosher salt, and an egg.
How to make this recipe + a video!
Brown butter strawberry crumble pie is pretty simple but requires a few different steps. Just a friendly reminder – if you’re using homemade pie dough, make sure to leave enough time to make the crust, refrigerate it for at least an hour, and roll it out. After that, everything will happen pretty quickly. Let’s make a pie!
MAKE THE CRUMBLE
- Brown the butter. It only takes about 5 minutes and it really makes this recipe. Here’s a video on how I do it!
- Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, and Kosher salt.
- Add the brown butter. Stir it until it clumps together. Set the streusel mixture aside.
MIX UP THE STRAWBERRY FILLING
- Slice the strawberries. Just cut off the tops and slice the berries in half.
- Toss the filling together. In a large bowl, stir together the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
ASSEMBLE THE PIE
- Prepare the crust. Roll out the pie dough and fit it into a 9-inch pie dish. Crimp the edges of the dough and then refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. (I usually do this first and let it refrigerate while I make the filling and crumble).
- Brush the dough with egg wash. Make sure to get the bottom and sides!
- Add the strawberry filling. Avoid adding any extra juices or it could make the bottom soggy.
- Top with crumble. Use your hands to break apart the crumble and spread it over the top of the pie.
- Bake! Let the pie cook for a good amount of time to make sure it gets golden brown, not soggy.
- Cool and serve. The pie needs to cool completely for the filling to set. Serve it on its own or with vanilla ice cream!
What thickener should I use in the filling?
In this recipe, I usually use cornstarch. I always have it on hand and it does a great job of firming up the filling, giving it a jammy texture. Usually, I would not recommend using cornstarch in fillings with acid (in this case, lemon juice), but since there’s only a bit, it doesn’t affect the texture.
If you don’t have cornstarch, I have also heard that tapioca starch is a great thickener although I have never personally used it myself. Arrowroot starch would also make a great substitute and is not affected by acid!
The only thickener I would not recommend using is flour. This is because you need about double the amount of flour as you would cornstarch. This will make the filling cloudy, give it a pasty texture, and make it taste like raw white flour.
Preventing soggy bottoms
Soggy bottoms are a huge bummer. Luckily, that’s not a problem for this brown butter strawberry crumble pie, because I have a few tips for getting a crisp bottom. All of these are super easy adjustments that will help prevent soggy bottoms and make them crusts firm and golden-brown!
- Brush the pie dough with egg wash. This will create a little barrier between the fruit and the pie dough and keep the liquid from soaking through.
- Add a small handful of crumble on the bottom. This is just another barrier and won’t affect the taste or texture of the pie.
- Don’t add extra juices. Fruit fillings, especially berries and stone fruits, tend to seep out extra juices when they sit for a few minutes. Leave those juices in the bowl rather than adding them to the pie to prevent extra sogginess. You can also cook the juices on the stove over medium heat until it’s thickened and add it to the filling!
- Bake in the lower 1/3rd of your oven. The heat from the bottom of the oven will cook the bottom of the crust and keep the top from burning.
- Bake on a pizza stone or hot sheet pan. I like to bake pies on a hot pizza stone or sheet pan, which quickly melts the butter and speeds up the cooking process on the bottom crust.
- Let that pie bake. Undercooked pies are the biggest pie-baking mistake. Let it cook until the crust is deeply golden brown. Tent the pie with foil if it’s getting too brown!
- Eat the pie day-of. Of course, the pie is still good after a day or two! But it’s best to eat the pie day-of before the filling has time to seep into the crust.
Can I use a different pie plate size?
Standard pie plates are 9” which is my go-to for this recipe. It’s my favorite filling-to-streusel ratio and it’s what most people have on-hand. Of course, if you want to use a 10-12” pie plate, it’ll work totally fine but you’ll have a thinner layer of filling. When I made the recipe in the 12” pie plate, I made 1 1/2 batches of the filling which was the perfect amount!
Recipe tips & tricks
- Make the pie crust the night before. This splits up the work a bit and gives the dough time to develop more flavor.
- Pick ripe strawberries. Wait until peak strawberry season for the best flavor and texture. It really makes a difference!
- Taste test the berries. If they’re tart, you might want to add another 1-2 Tablespoons of sugar.
- Don’t worry about a domed center. While you can get a gorgeous dome out of apple pies, that’s not the case in this recipe. The strawberries break down quite a bit, so doming them in the center doesn’t do a whole lot.
- Let the pie cool completely. This will give the filling time to set completely. If you like warm pie, reheat it in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds.
More strawberry desserts
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Brown Butter Strawberry Crumble Pie
Pie & Assembly
- 1 9-inch pie dough (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 egg
- Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, for serving (optional)
Brown Butter Streusel
- 1/2 c unsalted butter
- 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c quick-cooking oats
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 lbs strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
- 3/4 c sugar*
- 1/4 c cornstarch
- 1 tsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- 9'' pie plate
- Roll out the pie dough into a 12'' circle. Roll the pie dough over your rolling pin and un-roll it into the pie plate. (If you're using store-bought crust, simply un-roll it into the pie plate.) Crimp the edges with your fingers, or trim the edges and crimp with the tines of a fork. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with 1 Tablespoon of water to make egg wash. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven.** Place a pizza stone or sheet pan on the rack while the oven is heating.
Brown Butter Streusel
- Start by browning the butter. Melt the butter in a light-colored pan over medium heat. It will start to simmer and foam up. Stir constantly until the butter smells caramelized and there are golden brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour the butter into a heat-proof bowl to keep it from burning. (Watch how to brown butter here).
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Using a fork, mix in 4 Tablespoons of the brown butter, just until the mixture forms into crumbs. (You can also use your hands.) Avoid over-mixing. If the mixture is dry, add more brown butter 1 Tablespoon at a time. Set aside.
- Pour the strawberries into a large bowl. Add the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and salt.
- Stir the mixture until the cornstarch dissolves. Set aside.
- Remove the prepared pie dough from the refrigerator. Brush the bottom and sides with the egg wash. Evenly spread a small handful of the crumble (about 1/4-1/2 cup) on the bottom of the pie plate.
- Pour the strawberry filling over the crumble, leaving behind any extra juices. Sprinkle the remaining crumble evenly over the top of the pie.
- Place the pie on the hot pizza stone or sheet pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the filling is bubbly, the bottom crust is set, and the crust and crumble are deep golden-brown.***
- Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool completely. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: 100 Million by Charlie Hilton