Juicy, red, ripe strawberries are at their finest right now. Although strawberries are available at the supermarket throughout the year, I always look forward to this time of year when strawberries are in season and at their best. A fresh strawberry pie really showcases these luscious berries and no one can resist a slice, or two. Let me show you how easy it is to make.
There are just three key steps: selecting and preparing the berries, making the shortbread crust, and preparing the strawberry filling for the pie.
Step #1 -Select and prepare the best berries
Strawberries are available in many locations from supermarkets, the farmers’ market, and right now pick-your-own strawberry farms are open for business. When my husband goes picking berries with me he eats as many berries as he picks – they’re so hard to resist.
Berries are fragile and very perishable. Before storing the berries sort through them and discard any crushed or mushy fruit. Then put them in the refrigerator in a loosely covered container.
Rinse and gently pat the berries dry with a paper towel before making the pie . Next, hull each strawberry and remove the stem or hull. A strawberry huller, a small tweezers-like tool, is the gadget I like to use, but the serrated end of a grapefruit spoon works equally as well. Insert the end of the huller into the strawberry next to the stem and cut around the stem.
Then very easily pull on the leaves and stem and remove the center hull or core from each berry. This step is a little tedious but well worth the time it takes. Set the hulled berries aside on a paper towel-lined tray.
Step #2 - Make the shortbread crumb crust
This is the easy step and just two ingredients – cookies and butter. Place purchased shortbread cookies into a reclosable plastic food bag and then close it. Use a rolling pin or the bottom of a drinking glass to crush the cookies in the bag. I use about half the package of cookies for the 2 cups of crumbs for the crust.
Next, mix the crumbs with the melted butter in a medium bowl until the crumbs are moistened with the butter.
Put the crumbs into a glass pie pan and press firmly and evenly onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
Bake the crust on the bottom shelf in a preheated 350°F oven for 8 minutes. Cool the crust completely on a wire cooling rack. As the crust cools it will firm up and it won't seem as crumbly.
Step #3 – Cook the sauce for the pie filling.
Measure 1 cup of strawberries. Place the berries in a 2-cup glass measuring cup and mash the berries with a table fork. Add enough water to equal 1 1/3 cups.
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in mashed berry-water mixture.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a full boil, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let the mixture boil about one minute and then remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and salt and then let the mixture cool about 10 minutes in the pan.
Fill the cooled crust with the remaining strawberries, tip of the berries up.
Pour the cooked strawberry mixture over the strawberries in the pie pan. Refrigerate the pie at least 3 hours until the pie filling has thickened.
One final touch - add a dollop of whipped cream. This pie is so luscious that they'll be asking for a second slice!
For this Fresh Strawberry Pie recipe, click here.
Come back on Monday to learn about some fun and creative cupcakes that will sure to be a home run hit with the little league!