It’s no secret that I LOVE local strawberry season. There’s nothing like a beautiful, perfectly ripe berry, just picked and still warm from the sun.
It’s a brief season so, I try to take every advantage which means buying loads of strawberries to eat raw and loads to use in cooking. One very special dessert is a fresh strawberry pie. It’s like strawberries and cream taken up a few extra levels.
This is a modified recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. They call for 1 1/2 tsp of Sure Gel for low sugar jam but I have never been able to find that in our area. So, I’ve swapped it for some powdered gelatin and water.
This is a single crust pie. Make your favourite pie crust ( I suggest this one) and when it’s ready and chilled, roll it out and line your pie dish. cover it with two layers of aluminum foil and cover that with pie weights.
Bake at 425F for 15 minutes, take the weights and foil off and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown. Take it out of the oven and let it cool.
You will need a big basket of berries (about 1.3kg worth) From these berries, separate as follows:
Of the ‘not so great looking’ berries weigh out 170g (Approximately 11 medium local strawberries or 1 1/2 cups)
907g of beautiful strawberries. These will be the filling. Cut only the very big ones in half.
Step one: The ‘jam’
3/4 cup berry of puree
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1tsp of powdered gelatin and 2 tablespoons of water
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of lemon juice (squeezed fresh!)
Take the 11 or so “misshapen” strawberries (picked out as above) and blend them with an immersion blender. You should have about 3/4c. of puree.
In a small bowl, put 2 tablespoons of water and sprinkle 1 tsp of powdered gelatin
In a medium sauce pot combine: berry puree, 3/4 cup white sugar, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, pinch of salt and the gelatin mixture.
Bring to a boil, scraping the sides and bottom of the pot so it doesn’t burn. Let it boil for 2 minutes to activate the cornstarch. It will first be foamy then get very dark.
Take it off the heat and pour into a large bowl and add the lemon juice.
Let the jam mixture cool to room temperature.
Carefully fold in the pretty strawberries until they are all coated.
Carefully tip the berries into the pie crust, arranging berries by hand if necessary to fill in gaps. Make sure to scrape out any extra jam from the bowl onto the berries in the pie.
Put it in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set. It’s best eaten within 5 hours after cooling but you can put leftovers in the fridge and it’s just as tasty the next day (the berries just look a little less pretty).
Top with whipped cream!