To all those who wonder whether determination pays off, I give you: strawberry pie.
Or, said another way, to all those sweet souls who have told Garrett how lucky he is because everything I make must be wonderful, I give you: the first five anything-but-blogworthy attempts at strawberry pie.
A few months ago, my sister-in-law mentioned how rare it was to see a simple, baked strawberry pie and how that sounded so good. It was dead of winter and freezing outside, so the idea of fresh, local strawberries and springtime sounded amazing to me too.
It can’t be that hard, I said. I’m sure I can make us one.
What I’ve learned on this epic strawberry pie journey is that a good, simple strawberry pie is in fact a little difficult to master. There’s a delicate ratio between sweet and tart, liquid and thickener.
One pie I made was so full of strawberry juice that Garrett requested a bowl and spoon to eat it. I overcompensated in the next recipe with a lot of cornstarch which left the pie very congealed (not in a good way) and very metallic-y.
Despite the amount of $$$ I was spending on strawberries to go into pie, I was determined that we could find the right ratios. Well the good news is, on the attempt I promised would be my very last no matter what, I nailed it. #notsohumblebrag
This pie is seriously good. Normally with the sweet recipes I make, I eat a few bites and then send them out the door on their merry way to tempt someone else. I could not stop eating this pie!
The lemon zest brightens the strawberries and balances the sweet. The molasses in the brown sugar gives the pie a little more depth than simple white sugar would lend us. The pie has just enough cornstarch for the pie to hold together. It’s pure, simple, strawberry bliss.
Let me just stop you right there because I can feel you eyeing that lattice crust and thinking that’s way too complicated. This is not complicated. We can make pie crust and we can fancy it up with a lattice crust.
A few good things to know about pie crust:
— Metal. I find a metal pan works best for pie crusts. I love this one from King Arthur Flour.
— Cold, cold, cold. Pie crust recipes are SERIOUS about the dough being cold. Flaky crust comes from cold butter and shortening evaporating quickly in a hot oven, leaving pockets of air that yield flakiness. You won’t get that flakiness if the butter and shortening in your dough are room temperature. To make sure things stay cold, I cube my butter and shortening and then put the cubes and the water in the freezer while I’m measuring out my flour and salt and prepping my board.
— Heat. This pie goes into the oven at a high temperature to help us achieve that quick butter/shortening evaporation. Then we turn it down to finish baking for about an hour so the fruit has time to get soft and the cornstarch has time to help us thicken up our pie.
— Lattice crust. If I can make a lattice crust, you can make a lattice crust. Here’s a visual tutorial that should help.
— Relax. Every pie will be a little different. So your crust tore a bit or shrunk into your pan a little? So your strawberries softened more than you expected and left a gap between your crust and filling? So your crust browned too much on the edges and not enough in the middle? So what? You just made pie. From scratch!
— It’s worth it. Homemade pie crust is worth the time and effort! BUT you can definitely use store bought refrigerated pie dough in this recipe and be well on your way to strawberry pie bliss.
A note on pie crusts: There is only one pie crust recipe that I use – this one from Sally’s Baking Addiction. This pie crust works every time and is perfect for both sweet and savory (think chicken pot pie) applications. Head over to SBA to grab the crust recipe or use your favorite or pick up one from the store. You need two pie crusts for this recipe.
It’s that perfect time of summer where the season is mostly still ahead of us, where strawberries are still available and peaches are rounding the corner. Let’s kick summer off right with fresh, simple, baked strawberry pie.
I loved creating this pie for us and hope you enjoy!
- 2 chilled pie crusts (refrigerated or homemade)
- 3 lb strawberries
- 1 lemon (zest only)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp white sugar (for dusting)
- Preheat your oven to 425. Lightly spray a pie pan with cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper (to catch drips). Set both aside.
- Wash, hull, and halve your strawberries and place in a mixing bowl.
- To strawberries, add the zest of one lemon (no juice), brown sugar, cornstarch, and pinch of salt. Stir until well-combined. Don't worry about small clumps of cornstarch or sugar, they will dissolve in the oven.
- Roll out one pie crust and gently move to prepared pie pan. Press pie crust into pan and leave overhang.
- Add strawberry mixture to pie pan.
- Roll out second pie crust and use a knife or cutting tool to cut 10-12 strips from pie dough. Weave strips on top of strawberry filling to make a lattice crust. Crimp top crust with bottom crust and trim extra dough from sides of pan.
- Create an egg wash by breaking egg into a small dish and adding a few drops of water. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat top crust and edges with egg wash. Sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.
- Place pie pan on baking sheet and move to oven. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and bake for another hour. If your crust is browning too quickly, cover with foil.
- Remove from oven and let rest at room temperature for at least a few hours before cutting. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.