Pi Day – Jennifer’s Favorite Fresh Strawberry Pie

Fresh Strawberry Pie

I love pie! So when I saw Kitchen Parade’s challenge to make pie for Pi Day, I put it on the calendar so I wouldn’t forget. Once it was on the calendar, everyone in the family was excited for Pi Day. I got several reminders that “Friday is Pi Day.” I’ve been trying to eat healthier, which means the family eats healthier too. But, judging by their response to Pi Day, I suppose I should make pie more often!

Jennifer loves strawberry pie. She usually asks me to make it for Thanksgiving when strawberries are expensive and usually not great tasting. So when I saw all the beautiful strawberries at the market, I knew strawberry pie was a great choice for Pi Day. I’ve tried other recipes for fresh strawberry pie, but this one is great because instead of using junket, you use crushed strawberries in the filing, which gives it a much better flavor.

I use to be intimidated making pies until I watched Martha Stewart roll out a pie crust between sheets of plastic wrap. The rolling pin doesn’t stick to the crust and after it’s rolled out you just take the top sheet of plastic wrap off, flip it over into the pie tin, fit it in the tin and peel the top layer off.

Jennifer’s Favorite Fresh Strawberry Pie
 
Ingredients
Perfect Pie Crust
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, chilled
  • 2/3 c. shortening, chilled (You get the flakiness from the shortening and the great taste from the butter)
  • 5 to 6 T. ice water
Fresh Strawberry Filling
  • 3 pints strawberries
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 4 T. cornstarch
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. butter
Directions
  1. Combined flour and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into small cubes. Cut butter and shortening into flour mixture until it resembles very coarse meal. Gradually add water 1 Tablespoon at a time mixing with a fork. Divide in half, form into two round disks, and wrap in plastic. Chill for 30 minutes. Bake unfilled pie crust 15 - 20 min. at 450º.
  2. Crush 1 pint of berries, add enough water to make 2 cups. Combined sugar and cornstarch, then add to strawberries. Cook in saucepan over medium heat until thickened. Add lemon juice and butter. Cool. Add remaining pints of strawberries to sauce and place in a baked pie shell (you can leave the strawberries whole, but I prefer them chopped into bite size pieces). Serve with whipped cream.
Here are my tips for perfect pies:
  1. -Fat and water should be ice cold before mixing. If you are making the dough in a food processor you can even freeze the fat before using it. (I rarely use a food processor because I think it processes the fat to small.)
  2. -Measure flour carefully; never scoop the flour with the measuring cup. Add ice water gradually, mix quickly with a fork and try to gather the dough into a disk. If it crumbles and won’t hold together, add more water, a little at a time.
  3. -Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out. It will be easier to handle, less likely to shrink and bake up flakier.
  4. -Roll the dough out between two sheets of plastic wrap. (I usually use two on the bottom and two on top – straighten the plastic when necessary.) Roll the dough from the center out using even firm rolls. Turn the dough as you work, about an eighth of a turn for each roll will help to keep it round. (Putting the bottom plastic wrap on a Silpat helps keep it from moving.)
  5. -Peel off the top sheet of plastic and pick up the bottom sheet of plastic/dough and flip it over into your pie plate. Peel the bottom sheet of plastic off after you dough is fitted into the pie plate.
  6. -Don’t stretch the dough when fitting it in the pie plate or it will shrink back as it bakes. Press it gently against the sides and bottom to insure that no air is trapped between the dough and pan to form blisters.
  7. -Once the dough has been rolled out and transferred to the pie plate let it chill in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes before filling or baking.
  8. -Use a hot oven. High heat explodes solid fat particles (you chill dough to harden the fat). The explosions create steam which lightens and crisps the pastry. At lower oven temperatures, the fat just softens and melts—no explosion, no crisping steam.
  9. -Brush the bottom and sides of the unbaked pie crust with lightly beaten egg white. This will help to brown the crust.
  10. -For a browned bottom crust use dark metal or heatproof glass pans. Shiny pans deflect heat away from the pie so the crust doesn’t brown and crisp well. If using shiny or thin pans, place on a cookie sheet.
  11. -When baking a double crust pie, be sure that the top crust has holes cut or poked in it so that steam can escape with baking.
  12. -Crust repairs. It happens to everyone, even professionals. It’s no big deal and patching is easy. Roll a scrap of dough a little larger than the damaged area. Trim the edges, dampen them lightly with water, and place the patch, damp-side-down, over the break. Seal by pressing the edges of the patch gently with your fingers.