Ralston Berry Crumble Pie




Introduction: Ralston Berry Crumble Pie

About: Hi I'm PieBaby. I love hosting brunches, baking pies and gardening. Welcome to my Instructables page where everybody can be a kitchen siren.

Hi everyone! Welcome to yet another Instructables post. Today we are making my Ralston Berry Pie. This pie is absolutely amazing!! And if you're a big strawberry lover, this has got to be the pie of your eye. The reason why I made this pie because honestly, my family aren't pie people. You can name all the pies in the world and still they wouldn't budge.

However this pie tho, manages to quietly slip into everyone's hearts. It's buttery crust, silky pastry cream with a hint citrusy aroma, gooeylicious strawberry filling, whipped cream and topped with em' delicious crunchy, milky milk and strawberry crumbs? Oh yes. Definitely a winner.

By the way, who is Ralston?

That is the name of the confusing street I lived by, so anyone who comes over just know how boggling it is.

So let's get to it!

Step 1:

This pie consist of 5 components, and that is:

1) A blind-baked butter pie crust

2) Creme Pattisierre or Pastry Cream scented with the zest of a Mousami Lime.

3) Homemade strawberry filling

4) Chatilly cream, also known as sweetened whipped cream.

5) Milk Crumbs in milk and strawberry flavor

Even though my recipe is fully made from scratch, you also would be able to make this pie using ready-made grocery items! The taste and texture will be different from the original but if you are in a time crunch, I would highly recommend it, no one is judging!

For example:

1) You can use a ready-made frozen crust, baked using manufacturer's instructions.

2) You can substitute the pastry cream with a boxed Jello vanilla instant pudding/pie filling.

3) You can used a ready canned strawberry pie filling (whole strawberries, not diced)

4) You can used Cool Whip as the cream topping.

But YOU MUST, make the milk crumbs from scratch. NO substitute or cookies could substitute how delicious these crumbly milk crumbs are, besides it only take 10 minutes!

Step 2: Milk Crumbs

The original recipe is from Christina Tosi's Milk crumb recipe from her published book, "Milk". If you are a big dessert fan I highly recommend you buying her book, her story and recipes are simply amazing!!! If there is a baker out there saying it's their own recipe, they're lying, because..

..Christina Tosi is the mother of Milk Crumbs.

So the recipe for milk crumbs:

1/2 cup of dehydrated milk powder

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

2 tablespoon of cornstarch

A pinch of salt

2 tablespoon of white granulated sugar

4 tablespoon (or 1/2 stick) of unsalted butter, melted)


Preheat oven to 320 Fahrenheit.

In a small mixing bowl, combined 1/2 cup of your dehydrated milk powder, flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar. Mix till they are even. Pour your melted butter into your dry ingredients and mix it till they resemble course sand.

Step 3:

Once the butter is evenly distributed, you can use your hand to roughly clump up chunks of crumbs. It can be as big or little as you like.

Then spread it across your baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake it at 320 Fahrenheit for 5-8 minutes. You want to bake it just slightly, not overly brown.

Once baked, cool completely and set aside.

Step 4: Strawberry Milk Crumbs


1/2 cup of dehydrated milk powder

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

1 tablespoon of cornstarch

2 tablespoon of instant strawberry jello powder

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter, melted

Step 5:


Similar to the milk crumbs, combined all your dry ingredients together except for the jello powder.

Pour your melted butter into the dry ingredients and mix it until it comes together. Then add in two tablespoons of your strawberry jello powder and mix again until it coats the rest of the milk crumbs.

Clump your crumbs together and spread it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake it at 320 Fahrenheit for 5-8 minutes. Also, do not overbaked them.

Once baked, cool completely and set aside.

Step 6:

You can place them together in a bowl, wrap with saran wrap and chill in the refrigerator until needed.

Step 7: Strawberry Filling From Scratch


1 and 1/2 pounds of strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1 cup of white granulated sugar

1/4 cup of lemon juice

1/4 cup of tapioca flour

1/4 cup of water (to dilute tapioca flour slurry)

Note: If your fresh strawberries are huge like mine, you can cut them in half. For this recipe, I prefer to freeze my strawberries as their flavor is more concentrated and pronounced, that will yield a very flavorful syrup.


In a medium saucepot, place your frozen strawberries, sugar and lemon juice together.

Step 8: Cook

Place your sauce pot on your stove and turn on the heat to low-medium.

Slowly defrost your strawberries and ensure to rotate them so they thaw out evenly. Be careful not to accidentally mushed your strawberries, you want them whole as much as possible.

As the strawberries soften, their juices will also seep out. If you wish, place a few drops of red food coloring to give a rich and vibrant red color. This will just give a dramatic layer to the pie, if your wish to keep it natural, feel free to opt it out.

Before your strawberries juice comes to a boil, use a spoon to scoop out the strawberries to stop it from cooking any further. You do not want to disintegrate the berries like jam. Place them in a bowl or glass pyrex and set aside for awhile.

Step 9:

As your juices comes to a rolling boil in the pot, make your slurry.

Dilute your tapioca starch and water together until there's no lumps.

As you pour the slurry into the boiling juice, quickly give it a stir to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the pot.

Stir or whisk continuously until the syrup turns thick and transparent.

Step 10:

Once thicken, pour it over your strawberries that you had set aside. Stir gently to coat the berries. Cool completely before refrigerating it.

Step 11: Make Your Pastry Cream


1 cup of whole milk

1/4 cups of sugar

2 tablespoon of all purpose flour

1 tablespoon of cornstarch

1 whole egg + 1 yolk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

Zest of 1 citrus fruit (I used Mousumi Lime, which smells resembles a cross between lemon and passionfruit. If you can't find any, a lemon would be just fine)


Place your milk, sugar, flour, cornstarch and eggs in a medium saucepot. Give it a whisk until there's no lumps found.

Step 12: Cook Your Pastry Cream

Once there's no more lumps, transfer your pot onto a stovetop and heat it to medium heat.

Continue to whisk your mixture to ensure no flour or starch settles to the bottom. As it continues to heat, your will notice steam will start to appear. Steam indicates that the milk is getting close to a boil, so whisk continuously until the mixture starts to thicken.

As it thicken, whisk to make sure the sides are not neglected. The thickness should resembles a pudding.

Remove from stove and add in your butter and vanilla and whisk until the butter shines the custard.

Zest your citrus fruit.

Cover with a saran wrap and let it cool completely before transferring to the fridge to chill.

Step 13: Make Your Pie Crust


2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cold and frozen

5 tablespoon ice water

2 tablespoon vodka


Place all your dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Using a large cheese grater, grate your frozen butter into your flour.

Then coat your butter evenly with the flour.

Step 14:

Next, drizzle your water and vodka around your flour mixture.

Gently coat the flour mixture with the liquid. Once it looks shaggy, pour the dough over your working table top and using both hands, clump the dough together. Knead it just two to three times to bring it together but do not overworked your dough or it will be tough and shrink while baking.

Once it looks like it holds itself together, wrap it with saran wrap and let it chill in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

Before rolling it out, ensure to thaw it out a little so it won't break nor crumble when you roll.

Step 15: Roll Your Dough

Roll out your dough, large enough to fit your 9 inch pie pan and some extra length to tuck under the perimeter.

Flip the dough over your rolling pin so you can easily transfer it to your pie pan.

Trim any excess overhang but leave about 2 inches around the perimeter so it can be tucked under the lip of the pie.

Once the excess is tucked, pinch and crimped the edges with your thumb to make a lovely design around the edges.

Then using a fork, docked the bottom and sides of the pie crust to prevent any random air bubble to inflate.

Step 16: Blind Bake

Crumple a piece of parchment paper enough to cover the inside of the pie crust. Lay it inside and place some pie weight over. If your don't have any pie weights, you can use some beans or coins. If you are using coins, make sure they are clean from any possible dust and other foreign objects.

Bake at 400 Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.

Once your twenty minutes is over, take your pie crust out from the oven and remove the parchment paper and pie weights.

Brush with an egg wash on the bottom, sides and lip of the pie.

Continue to bake at 350 Fahrenheit for another 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

Step 17: Whip You Cream for the Creme Pat and Chantilly


1 cup of Heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup of white granulated sugar


Place your whipping cream in a large mixing bowl, using a whisk or a handheld mixer with a whisk attachment, whip your cream together with your sugar until it reached stiff peaks.

Scoop one third of the whipped cream and fold it into your chilled custard.

Reserve the rest for the whipped topping on top.

Step 18: Assembly

Once your pie crust is cool to touch, you can start assembling your pie.

Place your creme pattissier first at the bottom. Spread it evenly at the bottom and on the sides of the crust.

Then, neatly arrange and place your strawberries over the creme. I personally don't like dumping the whole thing because I do not want to have excess jammy filling in my pie, which can make cutting very messy. Just the berries will do.

Step 19: Finish It Off

Then spread your Chantilly cream over your berries and finish it off with a generous layer of milk crumbs.

Wrap with a saran wrap and let the pie chill and set overnight. You can eat it right away but it will be incredibly messy and impossible to slice through, if anything you have to scoop it out...so, no.

Just be patient and let it set, pretty please <3

Step 20: All Set!

Like all pie recipes, baked or creamed, sweet or savory, the longer you let it sit, chill and set the easier it is to slice through.

As seen in the picture above, the Ralston Berry Pie is no exception to this rule. I have chilled this overnight and plus a few more hours because we had it for tea time, exactly 24 hours from the day it was made.

Make sure your knife is sharp, so it can cut through the chilled pie crust which tends to get a little hard to slice through after being in the fridge.

If you have baked your crust all the way through, your bottom will not be mealy nor soggy from the cream. Crispy and flakey, it managed to hold the custard when lifted.

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    1 year ago

    I am a an elderly male novice cook who has asperations away above his capabilities!!

    The pastry you use puzzles me slightly in that it uses far more butter than any other I have researched. It seems for this type of pastry a 4 to 1 flour to fat ratio is the normal and yet this is 2 to 1 - I decided the research results were correct !! So far this pastry looks OK.

    And as something that is novel is the vodka addition - any idea what that does ? Certainly the pastry rolled out easily

    Angel pastry
    Angel pastry

    Tip 1 year ago

    The cream that you just made, is actually called a diplomat cream! That is, when you mix creme patisserie and whippped cream with some gelatine for structure.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes thank you for the correction! I often get confused between one and the other. Same with Pate Sucre and Pate Sable. I be googling it and still and get brain farts.


    1 year ago on Step 21

    Wow! I guess I have a project for this weekend. I freeze my fresh strawberries, but I slice them. Will that be too small?


    Reply 1 year ago

    Nope they won't! :D Using whole or halved strawberries will be more aesthetically pleasing, but once everything is inside the pie, you hardly notice it. It's just satisfying when my guest or myself gets a whole mouthful of a strawberry :D


    Question 1 year ago on Step 21

    This sounds wonderful! Has anyone out there figured out the calorie count for this recipe?


    Answer 1 year ago

    I believe it is 3.14159 kcal :)


    Answer 1 year ago

    Oh dear, I'm sorry I don't know how many calories are in this pie or within one serving. I will try to do my math!