Fresh Strawberry Pie
While Strawberry-Rhubarb pie is a classic recipe, this pie features fresh undercooked strawberries. This recipe comes from Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen. A glaze is produced from pureed strawberries, cornstarch and low-sugar pectin, which is quite unfussy to make. The goal was to glaze fresh strawberries that would highlight the sweetness of the berries. I’d say this was a hit, because I loved the flavour of the glaze! I’m also including Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for baked pie shell. The not-so-secret ingredient is adding some vodka to the pie dough, which inhibits the build-up of gluten. You cannot taste the vodka, as it bakes out, but the crust is a perfect combination of buttery and tender dough. Win!
- PIE CRUST:
- 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4-ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4-stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/4 cup (about 1 3/4-ounces) chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
- 2 tablespoons vodka, cold
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- STRAWBERRY PIE:
- 4 pints (about 3-pounds) fresh strawberries, gently rinsed and dried, hulled (see note)
- 3/4 cup (5 1/4-ounces) sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Sure-Jell for low-sugar recipes (see note)
- Generous pinch table salt
- 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
- WHIPPED CREAM:
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 120mins
Adapted from foodiewife-kitchen.blogspot.com
Process 3/4 cup flour, salt, and sugar together in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses.
Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour).
Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade.
Add 1/2 cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is barely tacky and sticks together.
Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.
Adjust oven rack to lowest position, place rimmed baking sheet on oven rack, and warmth oven to 425°F.
Remove dough from fridge and roll out on generously floured (up to ¼ cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick.
Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on all sides.
Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with 1 hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
Trim overhang to 1/2-inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute dough or press tines of fork against dough to flatten against rim of pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.
Remove pie plate from fridge, line crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or pennies. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove foil and weights, rotate plate, and bake for 5 to 10 additional minutes, until crust is golden brown and crisp. Let cool to room temperature.
NOTE:To account for any imperfect strawberries, the ingredient list calls for several more ounces of berries than will be used in the pie. If possible, search for ripe, farmers’ market–quality berries. Make certain that you use Sure-Jell engineered for low- or no-sugar recipes (packaged in a pink box) and not regular Sure-Jell (in a yellow box); otherwise, the glaze won’t set properly. The pie is at its best after two or three hours of chilling; as it continues to chill, the glaze becomes softer and wetter, although the pie will taste just pretty much as good.
Select 6 ounces misshapen, underripe, or otherwise unattractive berries, halving those that are large; you should have about 1 1/2 cups. In food processor, process berries to smooth puree, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. You should have about ¾ cup puree.
Whisk sugar, cornstarch, Sure-Jell, and salt in medium saucepan. Stir in berry puree, ensuring to scrape corners of pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring continually with heatproof rubber spatula, and bring to full boil.
Boil, scraping bottom and sides of pan to stop scorching, for 2 minutes to make sure that cornstarch is fully cooked (mixture will appear frothy when it first reaches boil, then will darken and thicken with further cooking). Transfer to large bowl and stir in lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, pick over remaining berries and measure out 2 pounds of most charming ones; halve only extra-large berries.
Add berries to bowl with glaze and fold gently with rubber spatula until berries are evenly coated.
Scoop berries into pie shell, piling into mound. If any cut sides face up on top, turn them face down. If necessary, rearrange berries so that holes are filled and mound looks attractive. Refrigerate pie until chilled, about 2 hours. Serve within 5 hours of chilling.
Just before serving, beat cream and sugar with electrical mixer on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave trail, about 30 additional seconds. Increase speed to high; continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and approximately doubled in volume and forms soft peaks, 30 to 60 seconds.
NOTE: I prefer to use confectioner’s sugar, as it stabilizes the whipped cream longer, and that I add about 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
In case you are wondering– we had a couple of leftover slices. The following day, the pie was good, but the texture of the berries had become much softer. Ideally, the pie is best served and eaten within a few hours.