July 29, 2010

Strawberry Pie

It's strawberry season so it's time to break out the dessert recipes I've had gathering dust over the winter and make some deliciousness.  My husband and I were in the mood for something light and easy to make on a hot summers night.  We have strawberries in the house all summer long since its one of my daughters favorites so I didn't need to get any ingredients for this one. It does need to cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour so be sure to allow yourself enough time.

To start, you need to pre-bake the crust.  Normally I have one frozen in the freezer but I had to actually make one this time.  Geesh!  It's pretty easy, not many ingredients needed to make crust but you could totally use a pre-made crust.  I started with the flour, shortening, salt and a cup of very cold water on standby. Use a pastry cutter to work the flour salt and shortening together until relatively combined, now start to add the water little by little until it starts to take on a dough consistency.  You'll probably need to get in there with your hands for this part.

Once it's combined you can roll it into a ball and put it onto a lightly floured surface.  Get your rolling pin and flour it up.  I don't have pictures of this part because my hands were covered in dough and flour but basically you want to roll it out in as much of a circle as possible until it's about an inch or so larger than your pie plate.  Then fold it in half and put into your pie plate and unfold.  Now cut the extra dough from around the edge of your plate, or leave a little bit so you can tuck it under and make a nice rim around your pie plate.

Poke holes in the bottom with a fork so that when it bakes it doesn't puff up.  The picture above is of the baked pie crust.  I put it in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes and kept checking it until it was very slightly golden brown. You can see how the edges of the crust sort of retracted while cooking, I happen to like it this way but if you like lots of crust you'll probably want to do the tuck under method and leave some room for retraction.

Cut up your strawberries and arrange them in the bottom of the pie crust. It needs to look somewhat pretty since this is almost exactly how your finished pie will look.

Take the remaining strawberries and mush them up using a fork or potato masher. Add the sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Mix the cornstarch and water together until combined and pour it into the hot strawberry mixture. Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened; stirring constantly.

The mixture will take on a much clearer look once thickened, it'll be very red and about the consistency of syrup.

Pour the hot liquid over the berries in the pie shell making sure to cover thoroughly.  Refrigerate the pie for at least one hour but more if possible.

Top with whipped cream or ice cream and enjoy! This is so perfect for a hot summer night, it's not too sweet but totally refreshing.  Great, now I want some more...

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together the flour, salt, and shortening with a fork or pastry cutter.  Once you get it pretty well combined start to add the cold water a little at a time until the dough can be formed into a ball.  Roll the dough on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin until it's about 1/2 inch larger all the way around than your pie dish.  Fold the dough in half and place in the dish, then unfold.  Cut off the overhanging bits from the edge of the pie dish, use a fork to poke holes in the bottom and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Pie Filling:
1 quart fresh strawberries (about 2 pounds)
3/4 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Arrange about 3/4 of the whole/hulled strawberries in the baked pie crust. Crush the remaining berries with a fork or potato masher and put into a medium saucepan.  Add the sugar and bring to a boil. Mix the water and cornstarch and then pour into the strawberry mixture, stir constantly and simmer until thickened. This usually take about 3-5 minutes.  Pour the hot strawberry mixture over the fresh strawberries in the pie crust  making sure to coat it evenly.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Using the whisk attachment on your electric mixer, beat the cream by itself on medium high speed until it reaches the still peak stage; reduce the speed to low and slowly add the sugar and vanilla and whisk only until incorporated.

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