Simple Strawberry Pie
The following “Chew This!” column has been reprinted from “The Courier-Times”, Sunday, June 21st 2015 edition. By: Blaise Doubman
Strawberry season is here!
Strawberry season is here and there is nothing more (aside from homemade strawberry jam) that I love more than strawberry pie! Usually strawberry pie is just simply strawberries and strawberry glaze, all poured into a pie shell and topped with whipped cream. I wanted to create something more than that. I wanted to create something that would be simple to make, have depth in flavor and was something that reminded me of the old-fashioned pies of my childhood. My Grandma Barbra makes the best strawberry pies, and that is because she makes them using a homemade crust, and lots of sugar.
I still remember when I was younger, my Grandma Barbra and I stopping at the Farmer’s Markets in New Castle, early in the season, and stocking up on strawberries, asparagus and peaches. I would always help prepare the strawberries by rinsing them in water (before cutting into them because my Grandma said they wouldn’t absorb water that way), and then cutting off the tops. Naturally, I would be so excited that I would end up almost cutting the strawberry in half in order to take off the green stem and leaves. After all of the strawberries were prepared, we followed along with her recipe. I loved eating a cold piece with vanilla bean ice cream, and sometimes a homemade shortcake biscuit on the side. It was the perfect dessert in celebration of the coming summer months!
Simple Strawberry Pie
This can be made with a store bought pie shell, but may not taste as good. I really wanted an old-fashioned feeling for this pie, and homemade crust is the only way to properly do that. The amount of sugar in this recipe really depends on how sweet your strawberries are, so please taste as you go along. You may need to add a little more – or even a little less. When starting to cook the strawberries over the stove, feel free to mash some of them up before adding in the sugar. It will help “loosen” some of the pie. It’s really all about preference. The pure vanilla extract gives a warm back-note to the strawberries. Also, the cornstarch and water mixture is called a “slurry” – a thickener for the pie. This pie is delicious eaten alone, but feel free to serve alongside some vanilla ice cream. Keep leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.
For the strawberry pie filling…
1 quart fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and diced
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup water
For the pie crust…
1 cup white all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees F.
Make the pie crust first, by combining the white all-purpose flour, shortening and salt with a fork until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Next, add the ice water and mix together until a dough forms.
Once the dough is formed, form a ball and place on a piece of floured parchment paper. Take another piece of parchment paper, place on top, and roll out the dough to the size of your pie dish using a rolling pin.
Carefully remove the parchment paper from the top and flip the dough that’s on the parchment paper dough side down into your pie dish.
Remove the parchment paper, and smooth out the dough. If there’s any excess on the sides, remove. If part of the pie tears, repair it with your finger and a little water. This works almost like a glue for the pie shell.
Once the dough is in the pie pan, using a fork, poke holes all over the bottom of the pie dough so that it will not puff up when baked.
Place in preheated oven for 27 minutes exactly and then remove to cool slightly.
Next, take the diced strawberries and place them in a large pot over medium heat. Mix in the white granulated sugar and bring this to a boil, stirring often.
Once the mixture is at a boil, allow to boil for about one minute.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water, and pour it into the boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce the heat to medium and stir continuously for about five minutes, until the mixture has thickened.
Once the mixture has thickened, incorporate the pure vanilla extract, and then pour it into the baked pie shell.
Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before serving.
Top with your favorite whipped cream and enjoy!