Friday, March 4, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Pie

There is nothing better than a perfect Fresh Strawberry Pie, the only hitch being ... it really does need to be perfect. Crust flaky and crisp, or it will get soggy from filling. Strawberries juicy, ripe and red. (Organic strawberries always seem to taste better to me.) The glaze: neither too thick or runny. Whipped cream.... made fresh from whipping cream (not heavy cream) just lightly sweetened, and I prefer no vanilla. I love the pure taste of unadulterated cream on this heavenly light pie.

Since moving to Colorado, I've had to play with and adjust recipes to find one that works well with the altitude. This glaze works beautifully at high altitude, although I've not made it at lower altitude so I cannot guarantee the results will be as good.

Prepare one pie crust (or two if you double this recipe, which I highly suggest if there are more than 4 people who will be eating it.... people tend to want a second slice!) I like the Pillsbury refrigerated brand that you roll out and press into your own pie pan, following directions on the box.

I also put dried beans in a piece of foil or waxed or parchment paper into the pie shell for about 1/2 the baking time to insure it doesn't puff up with air holes. (I keep the beans in a Ziploc bag with my cooking utensils to be re-used. I think I've recycled these "pie beans" for about 5 years now!)

Bake the pie shells until deep golden brown and they'll stand up much better and longer to the strawberry filling without getting soggy. Still, it is best to serve this pie within 2 hours of putting it all together. You can make everything ahead and then assemble just before company arrives, however.

For the glaze (for one pie)

Boil 3/4 c. water
Make a slurry of 2T. cornstarch and 1/4 c. water, and slowly add to boiling water, while stirring with a whisk.
Whisk in 3/4 c. sugar. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle 1/2 a 3 oz. package of strawberry Jello over this mixture, whisk in.
Add 1 T. fresh lemon juice, 1 T. butter, pinch salt. Whisk and set aside to cool.

When pie crust has cooled, fill it with about 2 pints of fresh strawberries, left whole. Cut the green tops off and put them cut-side down in the pie, starting with the biggest berries, and filling in with smaller berries (or you can cut some berries in half to tuck into open spots).

Finally pour cooled glaze of the top of the berries and put in the fridge to cool and set.

Just before serving, top with fresh made whipping cream (I prefer this over heavy whipping cream) that has been whipped until fluffy and sweetened with powdered sugar. (Powdered sugar works better than granulated to help whipping cream hold its shape.) I like to cut the pie pieces first, and then just top each with a big dollop of whipping cream, individually.

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