Ocean’s Fresh Strawberry Pie
Just to clarify – this isn’t exactly like what my pie looks like…I don’t have a good camera for taking pictures, so I borrowed this pic from flickr!
This recipe works best used with a deep dish pie pan – nine or ten inch size.
I like to make this pie using a Sweet Buttery Tart Crust. Certainly you can make it with a regular crust recipe or a ready-made crust from the store, but I think it tastes better made with this crust, which is sweeter and more flavorful – it tastes like a rich buttery sugar cookie and makes a great combination with those plump ripe berries!
- 1 2/3 cups Flour
- 1/4 cup Sugar – best to use the very fine type
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 10 tablespoons Sweet (unsalted) Butter – chilled
- 2 Egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons of cold water
1. Sift flour sugar and salt into a mixing bowl – the easiest way to do this is to use a wire mesh strainer like the ones you use to drain pasta or veggies. Cut chilled sweet butter into pieces into the bowl. Using your fingertips rapidly rub the butter and dry ingredients together until th mixture resembles course meal. Be careful to use only your fingertips as your palms will warm the dough – you want to try and keep it as cold as possible.
2. Stir egg yolks vanilla and water together and add to the flour- butter mixture and blend in using a fork. Shape dough into a ball. This should not take more than 30 to 45 seconds.
3. Place the ball of dough onto a pastry board. With the heel of your hand smear about a cup of dough away from you into a 6- to 8-inch smear; repeat until all the dough has been dealt with. Scrape dough together; re- form into a ball wrap in wax paper and chill for 2 to 3 hours.
Smear is like doing a very gentle knead…you want to work this dough very gently and not overwork it or it will become tough. Basically you are just trying to work the lumps out of it, doing a small batch at a time and spreading it out (“smearing” it) so it becomes nice and smooth..but not kneading it all together like you might with bread dough. Just a little at a time, then set it aside and work the next small batch, then bring it all back together and shape that ball.
4. Roll out dough between two sheets of wax paper or use a floured pastry cloth and floured stockinette on your rolling pin. Roll into a circle large enough to line your pie pan. Work quickly as the dough can become sticky.
5. Line your pie pan with dough, fitting it into pan and gently pressing to fit sides. Trim the edges and finish them as you prefer, using your fingers or a fork. Chill pie pan for at least half an hour – I put mine in the fridge and leave it there while I work on the berries and filling.
6. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees
7. Line dough in the pie pan with a piece of aluminium foil or wax paper and fill with raw beans, rice or pastry weights. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove weights and foil. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork in several places. Return to oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes longer or until edges are light brown. Put baked pie shell aside and let it cool for a bit before filling with your berries.
Now let’s make the filling:
1. First you will need around 2 – 3 pints of fresh strawberries – if possible, pick them yourself or get them from the Farmer’s Market or a roadside stand or whatever…these taste the best!
2. Wash and hull your berries – hulling basically means to cut off the top of it (where the green is) to get rid of it and the whitish top of the berry, leaving just the juicy red meat of it.
3. As you wash and hull your berries…sort out the nice pretty ones that you want to save as whole berries for making your pie, and put the not-so-attractive kinda mishapened ones in your food processor or blender or bowl to be crushed up for making your filling. This recipe uses a combo of whole berries and crushed berries, so figure out which ones you want for which.
§ around two cups (one pint) of the washed and hulled strawberries – put in food processor or blender and process until they are like a chunky puree…don’t get it too smooth, but sort of a thick jam-like consistency. If you don’t have either, put in a bowl and crush with a large fork or potato masher.
§ Two cups of Juicy Juice strawberry-kiwi flavored juice
§ One small box of strawberry jello mix (not pudding! JELLO)
§ 4 tablespoons of corn starch
§ I have found you don’t really need sugar for this, as I think the juice and the natural sweetness of the berries is good enough, but you can add up to a cup of sugar if you so desire…I wouldn’t go over half a cup myself.
First mix your juice, jello mix, and corn starch together in your cooking pot until the jello and corn starch dissolve nicely and you don’t have a bunch of lumps. I find whisking it with a wire whisk or using a large fork works nicely. Then add your crushed/pureed berries, and your sugar as desired. Stir together and cook on medium heat until it gets nice and thick, but still pourable, sorta between jam and cake batter.
Now, pour your strawberry filling into your cooled pie crust until it’s around 1/2 to 2/3 of the way filled. You may have some filling left…when I was making this I had just about enough for two pies, but I had to be a little more careful how much filling I put in each, and it wasn’t quite as filled with filling as I would have preferred, but still wasn’t bad. I was kinda experimenting here and thus wasn’t real strict with the measurements, but just go with the flow and see what happens…if you use regular sized pie pans you will likely have enough for two, but this pie does better with a deep dish pan. I recommend letting the filling cool a little and start to “set” slightly before you put your berries in.
Take your whole berries, and with the cut side down and the pointy end up, start arranging them in your pie in a circular design, sticking them into the filling, but don’t totally submerge them…you want them in deep enough to hold in place, but not dissapear totally! The filling should come up about 1/3 up the berry. Keep arranging berries until your pie is filled…you may have to do a little “maneuvering” to get your berries to fit. While you certainly want it to look nice, remember in the end it’s the taste that counts!
This picture is not totally accurate either, but it gives you an idea of what your pie should look like – the berries should be whole and standing up like this. However, in my pie, you fill the crust up with the crushed strawberry filling mixture FIRST, and then put the whole strawberries in. This one is doing it a little differently – putting the whole strawberries in, and then the filling mixture will go on top of the berries. I suppose you could do it either way, but I think mine is a little easier.
I do NOT put a glaze or anything on my berries, I prefer to let them stand on their own, so you really get that fresh berry taste without anything added. You can add a glaze topping to your berries if you really desire. Remember, this is a FRESH strawberry pie, so the pie is not baked – only the crust is prebaked. Below is another picture that gives you an idea what the pie looks like:
Chill your pie…then right before serving cover it with whipped cream – either over the whole pie, or over individual slices. Of course, the best whipped cream is to make your own! Whip your cream with some sugar and a bit of vanilla or maybe almond extract until it has nice soft peaks, and then spread over your pie. You can also garnish it with some reserved berries either whole or sliced.