Hope y’all are having a good summer so far. We are enjoying a new baby girl in our extended family but also having fun watching the older kids grow up and change. Last weekend, my oldest grandson celebrated his eighth birthday with a swimming party for his friends in the afternoon and another one an hour later just for the family. Unfortunately, he fell from some monkey bars a few weeks ago and broke his wrist. We were afraid he wouldn’t be able to swim, but the original cast, which could not get wet, was replaced just in time with one he could swim in, so it all worked out.
With summertime comes better and cheaper fruit, like strawberries. Have you been eating as many as I have? I recently had the occasion to revisit my strawberry pie recipe after I received a negative letter from a reader. These kind of letters always put a damper on my blogging spirit, but I was determined to see if her complaint was valid. I assembled the strawberry pie, to the letter, as it was originally published. Oh my! I was reminded just how delicious this pie really is–not too cloyingly sweet but sweet enough to enhance the berries. The texture of the gel is not so thick that it seems rubbery nor so thin that it is runny or watery.
I decided to republish the recipe unchanged because I love it the way it is, but I added some details about the process that might be helpful. The first picture posted above was taken 24 hours after the pie was made so you can see exactly what to expect. Of course, any kind of dessert made with fresh fruit is better eaten the day you make it, especially in regards to the crust which can quickly become soggy.
Speaking of the crust, I had forgotten how perfect this crust is for fresh strawberry pie, but I am adding a second method for putting it together using a food processor. I recently purchased a new Cuisinart food processor (not given to me by the company). It has some great new attachments I will be telling you about in the future, but for now, I think this is an easier method for making the crust. If you don’t have a food processor, the original method works fine although it’s a bit more labor-intensive.
P.S. I looked up the original recipe as sent to me by my aunt and noticed for the first time that she adds a touch of almond extract to the glaze after it is cooked. I tried it and added it to the recipe you see printed here. Nice touch!
- 2 pounds fresh strawberries, cleaned and de-stemmed
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons powdered strawberry Jello (do not sub diet Jello)
- ¾ cup corn syrup
- Few drops of red food coloring, if desired
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- Pre-baked 9-inch pie crust
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ cup frozen butter, grated (This process is much easier if you start with a whole stick so you have something to hang on to.)
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons cold milk
- Combine water, cornstarch, Jello and corn syrup in that order. Stir or whisk until dissolved. Cook until mixture boils and thickens to the consistency of maple syrup.
- Cook the filling in a microwave using a 2 qt-glass batter bowl. Takes 4-7 minutes on High, stirring once or twice.
- Add food coloring and flavorings if using. Set aside to cool.
- Arrange 2 quarts cleaned and dried strawberries in pretty pattern in pre-baked and cooled pie crust. If fruit is very large, cut in halves or quarters. I try to buy smaller berries so I don't have to cut them. They seem to last longer. Pour glaze over strawberries, taking care to cover every berry.
- Alternately, pour glaze over strawberries in large bowl. Gently mix. Pour strawberries/glaze mixture into pie crust. Although not as pretty as arranging individual strawberries, I like the way the gel holds the berries together better.
- Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Best eaten the day it's made. Serve with whipped cream.
- Whisk together first four ingredients in medium bowl.
- Add grated frozen butter and cream cheese to dry ingredients and combine with your fingers. Texture should be coarse with pieces of varying sizes like oatmeal and fine bread crumbs combined.
- Mix vegetable oil and cold milk. Pour into flour and butter mixture all at once. Use fork to mix until all flour/butter particles have been kissed by moisture. Mixture should should have a "shaggy" appearance.
- Dump into a clean pie plate and pat out crust with your fingers as smooth as possible taking care to evenly cover pie plate and sides. It probably won't be perfect but as long as you have no holes and no terribly thick places, it will be fine. Place crust in the freezer while you preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place rolled and twisted parchment paper on top of pie crust (see picture on this post) or use beans or rice to weigh down the crust. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove weights or paper and continue to bake another 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Watch closely in last 2-3 minutes. It can go from gloriously golden to badly browned faster than you can answer the doorbell. Set aside to cool. Assemble pie according to directions in step 4 in the Glaze directions.
- Add flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder to food processor bowl and pulse several times to mix thoroughly.
- Add frozen or very cold butter (cut into 6-8 pieces) and cream cheese to the dry ingredients. Pulse until mixture looks similar to raw oatmeal flakes.
- Combine oil and milk and pour over ingredients already in the bowl. Pulse just until mixture looks shaggy. Mixture should stick together if you press on it with your fingers. If too dry, add a little bit more milk and pulse 2-3 times.
- Remove blade from bowl. Dump dough mixture into a clean pie plate and pat out crust with your fingers as smooth as possible taking care to evenly cover your entire pie plate. It probably won't be perfect but as long as you have no holes and no terribly thick places, it will be fine. Place crust in the freezer while you preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Using non-stick aluminum foil to cover raw crust. Place flat piece of foil over the top with non-stick side next to the crust. Use your hands to press foil down into contact with the crust. No need to place weights on top.
- Bake 12 minutes, then remove foil and continue to bake another 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Watch closely in last 2-3 minutes. It can go from gloriously golden to badly browned faster than you can answer the doorbell. Set aside to cool. Assemble pie according to directions in step 4 in the Glaze directions.