When life gives you strawberries…Part 1: Fresh Strawberry Pie

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A few days ago, my little brother got married. Ok, he isn’t really that little – he’s 26 – but I still picture him as the toddler terrorizing me with a plastic sword. The wedding was in Nashville, so it was the perfect chance to catch up on some hang-out time with Laura – and to finally get some recipes up on this blog!

My mom and I were put in charge of the desserts for the rehearsal dinner. It was a humid early summer night, and the desserts needed to accommodate a range of dietary restrictions, including vegetarians and vegans. We settled on an array of hand pies and fresh fruit pies. Laura graciously (and enthusiastically!) pitched in, and she and I spent the morning of the dinner chopping fruit, baking pie crusts, and mixing filling. The result was an array of scrumptious pies.

This time, I’m going to share the recipe for Fresh Strawberry Pie with you. (The other recipes will be in later posts.) This pie is light and sweet, the essence of summer. The recipe comes from two of the best bakers I know: the crust is from my maternal grandmother, and the filling is my mom’s. Fresh Strawberry Pie is vegan, although it’s scrumptiousness increases exponentially with a big dollop of whipped cream.

Congrats Erik & Melissa! May God grant you many years of happy marriage.

Fresh Strawberry Pie
Serves 6-8
Total time: 6 hours (1 1/2 hours of prep, 4 1/2+ hours for pie to chill)
** Crust can be made the night before, but pie is best the day it’s made.

Pie Crust

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tb vegetable shortening (I use butter flavor Crisco)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 Tb ice water

Preheat oven to 475 F. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flour and salt. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or a fork. Add just enough ice water to moisten the dough so that it holds together. Roll out the dough and transfer to a 9-inch pie pan.(I like to roll out the dough between two pieces of wax paper. This makes it easier to transfer the dough to the pie pan, and it keeps the dough from sticking to the rolling pin.) Crimp the edges of the crust, and prick the inside all over with a fork. Bake for 8-10 minutes. The crust will not brown significantly. Let the crust cool completely while you make the rest of the pie.

Pie Filling

  • 1 quart of strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tb cornstarch
  • a dash salt
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 1 Tb lemon juice
  • a few drops red food coloring (optional)

Hull the strawberries and quarter them. Cut out any bad bits or unripe spots. The berries are the star of the pie, so you want them to look nice. Place the berries in a larger bowl and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.

In a saucepan, add 2/3 cup water and 1/2 cup of the berries. Mash the berries a bit, and simmer them for 3 minutes. Add the sugar mixture, lemon juice, and 1/3 cup water. Stir, breaking up any lumps. Simmer this for about a minute, until thick. You can add the red food coloring here if you choose. Let the mixture cool for five minutes.

When cooled slightly, stir in the strawberries. Pour the mixture into the baked and completely cooled pie shell, and refrigerate for hours, until set. (The chilling step is crucial. If you neglect it, you’ll have strawberry goop – yummy goop, but goop nonetheless.)

– Amy

Laura (left) and me at the wedding.