They had cake but we had fruit… (fruit pie, that is)

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recipe: strawberry (or any berry) pie with cream; includes pastry recipe

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strawberry pie

…fruit pie, that is. Strawberry pie….

I think I mentioned that my father-in-law made a fabulous strawberry pie for us when we were visiting them recently. When we got home from that trip, we were very happy that local strawberries were still available so we could make some more strawberry pie. Ontario strawberries

And it tasted SO good that as soon as it was finished, we simply had to make another strawberry pie again. By then, there were no more of the beautiful Ontario berries anywhere.

Only California strawberries were available. But we HAD to have another strawberry pie!! Hoping the local food police wouldn’t come after us, we disguised ourselves and bought California strawberries (which, amazingly, smelled like strawberries) and we made a second pie. And yup, it was pretty much as good as the first.

In fact it is so good that it may just replace strawberry shortcake!

Now we can’t wait for local blueberries to be widely available. And we think this might be a great way to do peach pie as well…

click on image for photos of making strawberry pie
strawberry pie Here is our take on my father-in-law’s strawberry pie:

G’s Strawberry (or any other Berry) Pie
(based on a recipe for loganberry pie adapted from Mme Benoit, published in the Loganberry News Victoria, B.C.)

Pastry

  • 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • c unsalted butter and vegetable shortening
  • ICE-COLD water (anywhere from 2 Tbsp to ½ c)

Berry filling

  • 4 c berries
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ c white sugar (give or take, depending on the sweetness of the berries)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Preparation

Pastry

  1. Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Cut the butter and shortening (about 3Tbsp butter and 2Tbsp shortening, or you can use all butter or all vegetable shortening….) into the flour mixture until it is pea sized. Add ICE-COLD water a little at a time and mix quickly but lightly with a fork (or your hands, if they are cold like mine usually are) until it is pastry consistency. Please note that the amount of water changes drastically, depending on the humidity.
  2. Handling the pastry as little as possible, roll it out into a disc on a lightly floured board. Put the disc into the pie plate. Liberally prick it all over with a fork. REFRIGERATE AT LEAST ONE HOUR.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes at 350F until golden. Set aside to cool.

Berry filling

  1. Sort through the berries and set aside 2 cups of the nicest ones.
  2. Wash (and hull if using strawberries) the remaining 2 cups of berries and put them into a saucepan. Mix with sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Cook over low heat stirring constantly til creamy and smooth. Set aside to cool.

Assembly

  1. Pour some of the cooled cooked berry mixture into the bottom of the cooled pie shell. Then fill the shell with the nicest berries (uncooked ones) – pointy side up if using strawberries. Top with the remaining cooked berries.

When serving, garnish with sweetened whipped cream 1 or creme fraiche and a few mint or lemon balm leaves. It’s also fantastic with plain yoghurt if you’re having it for breakfast.

G’s recipe says to line the bottom of the crust with uncooked berries and pour ALL of the cooked berry mixture over top. We did that for the first pie and we both agreed that it didn’t look that great without being slathered with cream (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing…)) So for the second pie – and subsequent pies – we have decided to sandwich the uncooked berries in between two layers of cooked berries.

A note about Whipped Cream:
 
1 It has come to my attention that there might be some poor mistaken soul out there who thinks that “cool whip” (or any similar travesty) would be a viable alternative as a topping. All I can say is what I said to the last convert: Bite your tongue!! Get heavy cream, whip it til there are soft peaks and add a little sugar so it holds its shape.

 

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  • Phydeaux

    I tried the pie, but this having not yet been posted, I used the Rhubarb Pie pastry recipe halved. It didn’t quite turn out as pretty as yours. It tasted okay, with a couple notes for my second try:

    1. Less sugar in the mashed strawberries
    – I put in just over a half cup, which was a bit much…

    2. More strawberries in the mashed strawberries
    – Ended up using store-bought strawberries, which seem larger than your Ontario strawberries, so there must’ve been more air than berry in the measuring cup.

    3. More crust
    – There just wasn’t enough crust… or I have a too big pie tin… or I just didn’t roll it flat enough. Next time I’ll just go with more crust, since it’s tasty. :-)

  • ejm

    Oops. I guess we should figure out how much 4 cups of berries weighs. Or maybe we should say to have enough berries to fill the pie plate twice….

    Glad it almost worked out though – at least well enough that you might want to try it again!

  • bing

    Phydeaux, I find that the bottom crust usually requires more pie dough than the top crust. Say 2/3 of a regular recipe.

    ejm, that pie looks beautiful. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a plain strawberry pie. I’ve had rhubarb/strawberry which I don’t like since the strawberry takes over the flavour; I find myself thinking that a strawberry pie would be too much like a rhubarb/strawberry pie. But I also find myself thinking that’s just silly. Since I do love strawberries.

    Mario Batali: Of course, you could use any kind of onion.
    Mario Batali guest: What kind of onion did you use?
    Mario: yellow onions.
    guest: Could you use another kind of onion?
    Mario: Yes, you could use any kind of onion.
    guest: What about a red onion?
    Mario: Yes, you could use a red onion.

    In that spirit I ask of your pie, “Could you top it with ice cream?”

    :lalala:

  • Paz

    May replace strawberry shortcake? Wow! This must be good. Actually, it looks and sounds good. Thanks for the heads up on whipped cream vs. cool whip. I like the idea of ice cream topping, too.

    Paz (who loves strawberries!)

  • ejm

    I have exactly the same feeling about strawberry/rhubarb pie, bing. The strawberries take over and are kind of mushy to boot. The great thing about THIS strawberry pie is that the cooked strawberries are mashed so one doesn’t notice the mushy quality. The fresh uncooked ripe strawberries are sweet and luscious – the way that fresh uncooked ripe strawberries should be.

    Yes, I think one could top the pie with icecream – as long as it wasn’t inferior icecream.

    Actually, Paz, I’m waffling. Shortcake is so great… Let me change what’s left of my mind and say that it’s the way the strawberries are prepared that might be a replacement on strawberry shortcake. The cooked strawberry sludge in combination with fresh strawberries enhances the strawberry taste so much that this is now what we would put on top of shortcake.

  • MrsBrown

    I’m having a lunch party for some friends and I thought that fruit tarts would be just the finisher. I bought tart shells (I don’t make pastry, it doesn’t matter how many times people tell me how easy it is, I fail every time) and made the sludge out of strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. I’m not sure what I did wrong but there is no pouring of the sludge. It’s VERY thick, more like heavy jam…so, I placed a teaspoon or so of sludge onto the bottom of a tart shell and put fresh berries on top. The BrownBoy and I put more sludge on top on one as a trial but thought it looked rather silly so we ate that one. Clink on the link for a photo of the six beautiful tarts I’ve made for my lunch party. http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c124/Nickytheblackdog/IMG_2199.jpg

    I, too, can’t wait to try this with peaches and peaches have just come into season.

  • ejm

    Those look fabulous, MrsBrown!!

    And I know what you mean about the sludge on the top. It doesn’t really make sense to save the nicest looking berries if they’re going to be entirely covered over anyway.

    Still waiting for peaches here; blueberries are beginning to look promising….

    (I’m thinking that Mme Benoit must have completely covered her pie with cream.)

  • MrsBrown

    I made the tarts with peach sludge and fresh blueberries/blackberries. Fantastic!! Maybe one day, I’ll make my own pastry…and then again, why bother? I can get these little tart shells, and I daresay pie shells, at the supermarket. That way, I don’t have to fail at pastry again and I can still have pie!!

  • ejm

    Nice idea to combine peaches, blackberries and blueberries, MrsBrown.

    We made the pie with just peaches on the weekend. Isn’t this a great way to make pie?! (And of course, we made our own pastry. Tastes better that way. :lalala:)