The Ingredient That Will Change Your Summer Pie Forever

Arguably the best thing about fruit is that you can also enjoy it in the form of pie. Whether it be cherries, blueberries, peaches, or plums, a pie can really highlight the bright and sweet flavors of summer fruits especially. But that's only of course if you make it properly.

Summer pies are deceptively foolproof, Southern Living explains, because the fruits that are typically used are high in moisture. During the baking process, the water within the fruits gets released. Without any thickening agents or added sugar, this will inevitably lead to a watery filling, making your pie impossible to cut and serve and the crust at the bottom gummy and underbaked.

While the obvious solution is to use flour or cornstarch, Southern Living recommends quick-cooking tapioca instead. Flour and cornstarch are effective, however, they give the filling a cloudy color and dull flavor. Quick-cooking tapioca, on the other hand, thickens your pie just as well but without altering the taste or appearance.

How to add tapioca into summer fruit pies

You might be familiar with tapioca starch or flour, but quick-cooking tapioca (the one you want for pie) is a different product. Quick-cooking tapioca is also sometimes labeled as instant or minute tapioca, and you can usually find it in the baking aisle of the grocery store, Epicurious shares.

The best way to incorporate tapioca into your pie filling is to first pulverize it. Epicurious explains quick-cooking tapioca comes in granules, so pulverizing it is purely for the sake of texture. (You can skip this step if you don't mind your pie filling having little lumps in it like tapioca pudding.) Once pulverized, you'll then whisk it in with the other dry ingredients. Since tapioca is meant to replace cornstarch or flour, the only other dry ingredients should be sugar and whatever spices your recipe calls for. After tossing it with the fruit, you can bake the pie according to your recipe just until the filling is bubbling in the center. This is an indicator that the tapioca has been properly activated. As per King Arthur Baking's instructions, it's best to let it rest for 15 to 30 minutes, then your perfectly thickened pie will be ready to serve and enjoy.