On our way out to a local lavender festival a few weeks ago, my hubby-to-be, his momma, and I stopped for a picnic in the park. The highlight: her famous strawberry pie. It’s always been a favorite for his family, and now I can say that it’s definitely one of mine too. In a phrase, if you were to personify “summer” in a dish – this would be it. Fresh, sweet, slightly tart, and incredibly simple – this homemade strawberry pie is summer on a plate, and to die for.
Here’s my version of her incredible pie.
Shortbread pie crust (prepared in advance):
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 150g of cold butter, chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons of iced water
- 6-8 cups (1.5-2 quarts) of fresh strawberries
- 1 cup of white sugar
- 3 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 1.5 cups of whipping cream
If you like, you can prepare the pie crust in advance. You can either use a pre-bought pie crust or pastry dough instead of making your own shortbread pie crust, but I personally love the shortbread crust better with this pie.
Blend the flour, sugar, and butter together with a food processor or hand blender. When it’s ready, the mixer should look like breadcrumbs. While processing (or mixing), slowly add a tablespoon of iced water at a time until the mixture is a smooth dough. Knead the dough lightly by hand a few times (don’t overknead), wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes are up, preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the pastry onto a nonstick baking paper into a thin sheet, about 3mm thick (or as thick as you like it). Transfer the paper and pastry over to a 10″ pie pan, trim the edges, and weight down the crust with baking weights or rice. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the weights or rice, and bake until the crust is golden.
For the filling, take a portion of the strawberries and coarsely mash enough to make 1.5 cups. (It’s best to leave the freshest and ripest strawberries for the whole part of the filling.)
In a medium pot, mix together the sugar and cornstarch. Slowly stir in water, making sure the cornstarch is thoroughly mixed through. Add the blended strawberries and put the mixture on medium heat to cook. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Take it off the heat. Allow it to cool to room temperature.
Next, take the remaining strawberries and cut them in half or quarters and fill the pie crust to heaping with the fresh strawberries. Pack them relatively tightly. Pour the cooled, cooked mixture thoroughly over the fresh strawberries. (It’s important to let the cooked mixture cool so it doesn’t cook the fresh strawberries.)
Chill the pie for 2-3 hours.
Whip the whipping cream until stiff and generously spread it over the top of the pie, covering the strawberries. Serve immediately or as soon as possible, or chill until serving time.