Sensational Summer Fruit Pies for People Who Can't Make Pie

Sensational Summer Fruit Pies for People Who Can't Make Pie

No pastry skills? No problem. We have the fruit pie and tart recipes you’ve been craving, simplified with shortcuts and hacks.

The glorious bounty of summer finds its ultimate expression in fruit pies, those golden-crusted delights with heaps of glistening berries or stone fruit that simultaneously tempt and taunt us. Taunt, because loving pie does not always translate to being good at making pie. 

I’m here to tell you that pie should be a cause for joy, not anxiety. If your hands are not the steady ones of a pie master, there is hope. We have easy fruit pie recipes to get you up to speed, with entry-level crusts and modifications for those who don't even own a pie plate. 

Tricks to make fruit pie easier

Creating a fruit pie filling is a snap. It’s the pastry that can give novice pie-bakers the willies. Fortunately, you’ve got options.

Make it smaller. This way, you don’t have to mess with rolling out large, intact sheets of dough. Bonus: mini pies and shallow tarts bake faster.

Change the format. Turnovers and hand pies are simple and fun to make, travel well for picnics or potlucks, and are less messy to serve. 

Buy the pastry. Frozen puff pastry and refrigerated pie crusts exist for a reason. There’s no shame in using them! Frozen puff pastry bakes up puffier and flakier than readymade refrigerated pie dough. You can even find some brands made with all butter. That said, Pepperidge Farm, the most common brand of puff pastry, is made with shortening and works great. It’s vegan, too, meaning any of the recipes below that don’t call for eggs, dairy, or honey can be veganized with it.   

Hack the pastry. Not all pie dough recipes are created equal. Pie pastry with eggs is not as delicate or easily overworked as classic flaky pie dough. And shortening holds up better than butter in a hot kitchen.

Chill out. Frozen pies and icebox pies usually call for easy-peasy crumb crusts.  

Easy summer fruit pie and crust recipes

Sometimes the best fruit pie recipe is the one you're most capable of making. Stroll through our offerings of easy pie and fruit tart recipes and see which one calls out to you! I’ve even included a few easier, from-scratch pie dough recipes that will be solid additions to your repertoire no matter what your skill level.

Blackberry Ruffled Milk Pie

This is a fruity variation of a sweet, phyllo-topped Greek custard pie. Brush store-bought sheets of phyllo dough with butter and stack into layers before coiling them up with fresh blackberries inside. Then lay the coils in a dish and bake until crispy. Pour in an egg custard, and bake a little longer. No rolling pins needed, and the haphazard look is all part of the appeal.

Sour Cherry and Apricot Tart

Sour cherries are a rarity any cherry pie fan covets. Paired with apricots, they make this crostata (an Italian tart) luxurious. That said, if you can’t find fresh sour cherries, jarred Morello cherries would be darned tasty here. If you’ve never made pasta frolla before, you’ll be delighted at how easygoing it is; it’s a terrific introductory pie dough. The random patchwork topping is as impressive as a lattice, but far less fiddly.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crumble Bars

Strawberry-rhubarb pie is a beloved summer pairing, and here it's reborn as a cross between a pie and bar cookies. The pat-in-the-pan crust doubles as the crumbly streusel topping. Line the pan with parchment so you can lift the uncut bars onto a cutting board once they’re cool and make precise cuts with a long, sharp knife. 

Impossibly Creamy Raspberry Custard Pie 

Impossible pies — a years-old invention of Bisquick — are so named because you mix together one batter, and as it bakes it forms a top custard layer and a bottom crust-like layer. If you have a box of baking mix and need to make a pretty dessert stat, here’s your go-to. You could also try this with blackberries or pitted, halved cherries.

Icebox Peach Pie

No baking here at all! Use a premade graham cracker crust, a tub of frozen whipped topping, and a can of sweetened condensed milk to throw together a cool, creamy dessert that’s like ice cream and pie all in one. Make sure the peaches are very ripe, since there’s no baking time to soften them up. You can even keep the assembled pie in the freezer up to a month to have on deck for dessert emergencies!

How to Make Berry Turnover

All you need are two thawed sheets of frozen puff pastry to wrap up these lovely turnovers. The filling is cooked on the stove and thickened with a tiny bit of almond meal to help make it nice and jammy. It calls for a mix of fruits, so you can easily customize it with what’s on hand. A final brushing with milk before these go into the oven gives them that burnished look. 

Cherry Crumb Pie 

Fruity custard desserts seem to always favor one element over the other, but in this cherry pie they’re perfectly in balance: Sweet cherries play off a tart sour cream custard (you could use whole-milk Greek yogurt, too). The crust is the store-bought refrigerated kind, and you can use a 9-inch pie plate or a tart pan. As for pitting the cherries, the recipe gives you the smart cherry-pitting hack of pushing a metal straw through the fruit. 

Blueberry Puff Pastry Pies

If working with dough is your weak point, fear not. Call these puffy tartlets or rustic little blueberry pies. Whatever the case, cut frozen puff pastry into squares and fold up the edges — that’s all the shaping you need to do! Juicy desserts don’t tend to hold up well after a few hours, so this one’s best made shortly before serving. Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream.

Puff Pastry Plum Galette 

A galette is a rustic free-form tart, so already you’re off the hook…because in baking, “rustic” is a code word for “charmingly messy.” Pleat the excess dough around the ripe plum chunks and embrace its individuality, since no two galettes should look alike. Plums work well here because they don’t weep as much liquid as they bake as some berries do.

Mini Pies in Muffin Tins

Mini pies mean you can eat an entire pie in one sitting and live to tell about it. Bake these in muffin tins, an easy option that doesn’t require any special shaping or top crust. The recipe offers a choice of homemade pie dough made with all-purpose wheat flour or gluten-free flour, but refrigerated pie dough will also work. If you don’t have a 4-inch round cutter, use the mouth of a drinking glass with about the same diameter.

Peach Hand Pies

What’s the difference between a hand pie and a turnover? Mostly nomenclature. For this fruit hand pie recipe, you’ll use refrigerated or homemade pie dough to shape fuss-free triangles, which create a smidge more room for the luscious peach filling than rounded shapes. Seal them with a fork (no crimping needed) and bake until golden brown.

Fresh Fruit Tart with Yogurt and Granola Crust

If you’d like a healthy fruit tart recipe, this fits the bill with a fresh flair. The recipe is almost like a breakfast fruit and yogurt parfait in tart form. Make a granola-inspired crust (which is gluten-free if you buy oats processed in a gluten-free facility) that’s packed with nuts and a touch of honey. Fill the cooled crusts with the yogurt of your choice (vegan and dairy-free if you prefer), and top with gorgeous, seasonal fresh fruit. (Try mixed berries in summer, or make an easy version of "apple pie" in fall.) Instead of making 8 mini fruit tarts, you could also make this as a single 10-inch tart. 

Mom’s Fail Proof Magic Pie Crust

Yes, the flavor of butter runs circles around shortening, but it’s also a lot fussier. An all-butter pie dough in the heat of a summer kitchen can quickly devolve into a greasy disaster that nearly dissolves at the merest glance. Shortening to the rescue! If you don’t like the idea of using hydrogenated shortening, try a non-hydrogenated one like Spectrum. The addition of vinegar helps make a flakier crust; it also furnishes a little insurance against overworking the dough, as does the egg. A bonus if you're in a rush: There's no refrigerating needed before you bake this recipe.

Pasta Frolla Italian Sweet Pastry Dough

Pasta frolla is an Italian pastry that’s just a bit sweet, but not overly so. It’s sturdy enough to hold up to fruit pies and tarts, but it’s not tough or bland. And see how golden it is from the extra egg yolk! Unlike flaky pastry, in which the fat is worked in minimally, the butter here is creamed with the sugar, like cookie dough. You can make this with an electric mixer or by hand. This recipe calls for citrus zest, which you may omit if you’re looking for a plainer crust. You’ll need to refrigerate the dough about 2 hours.

No Fail Sour Cream Pastry Crust 

If you want to attempt a classic flaky all-butter pie dough, here’s the recipe to try. All it takes is a mixing bowl and your hands. It uses sour cream instead of chilled water with the all-purpose flour, which makes the dough more pliable and forgiving, plus it bakes up meltingly tender. The big plus here is a video tutorial in the post, so you can see how things should look at every step. Allow about an hour to refrigerate the dough.