Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Strawberry Pie Recipe

 Pie - not to be confused with Pi, which is a mathematical constant. The number pi (symbol: π) /paɪ/ is a mathematical constant that is the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter, and is approximately equal to 3.14159.  Remember that? You don't need it for this recipe.   P I E pie is something deliciously good to eat.  Guess which one we prefer?

You can make a one crust pie, top crust pie (sometimes called cobbler), or two crust pie.  Do you have a preference?  Personally, they are all good in my book.

Strawberries.  Red.  Juicy.  Delicious.  Local strawberries are the best, but are only in season for about a month in the spring, usually late April or the month of May.  Last year it was warm and dry and berries were gone by the first of May.  This spring, it has been cool and damp and we are still able to buy local berries because they did not come in until about the second week of May.  The weather is the main indicator of when berries will be available.

The first garden strawberry was grown in France during the late 18th century.  Prior to this, wild strawberries and cultivated selections from wild strawberry species were the common source of the fruit.  Records show that wild strawberries were being cultivated as far back as the 1500's.  Needless to say, they were only available for short periods of time.  Now, due to strawberries being grown in plasticulture and some green houses, they are available all year round.  The biggest difference between the year round berries and local berries is the local berries are a bit smaller, sweeter, and much juicier than the "store bought" variety available during the year.  

We are always excited when the local berries become available.  We are happy to just wash them off and eat them right out of the container they are so sweet and good.  But, of course, the uses for strawberries are plentiful.  Strawberry shortcake is one of the most well known ways to eat strawberries.  You can make preserves with them, lots of desserts, eat them over ice cream, or make strawberry smoothies and milkshakes.  Yum.  

I had bought a gallon of fresh strawberries at the local Farmer's Market and knew I would make some strawberry pies with them.  I had just cleaned my house for my sister's weekend visit and didn't want to mess up the kitchen floor making crusts so I sent Dan to the store to buy some pre made deep dish pie crusts. (Yes, I have flour everywhere when I make pie crusts.)  Someone didn't read the label and came home with regular pie crusts, so my pies are a little less "deep dish" that I would have liked, but it didn't make a whole lot of difference when it came to eating them, just in the looks.  Here is what you need to make one pie.

1 deep dish pre made pie crust or make a single crust from scratch, bake according to directions, remove from oven and let cool before filling.

Pie Filling

1  quart whole fresh strawberries
1 cup white sugar
3 TBSP cornstarch
3/4 cup water

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Remove the stems and caps from all the berries.  Wash and let drain.  Pat dry. 

Arrange 1/2 of the strawberries in the baked pastry shell.  You may want to cut some of the larger ones in half so they lay flat in the pie crust.  Mash remaining berries and combined with sugar in a medium saucepan.  Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the contents to a boil, stirring frequently.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water.  Gradually stir the cornstarch mixture into the boiling strawberries mixed with sugar.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens., stir often to keep from sticking or scorching.  If you have never made this kind of filling, the mixture will thicken rather suddenly, so don't get discouraged thinking it will never happen.  It will.  

Pour the mixture over the berries in the baked pie crust.  Chill several hours before serving.

Make Whipped Cream

Put the chilled heavy whipping cream in a deep bowl.  Mix with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks begin to form.  Add 1 - 2 TBSP sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.  Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.  Stiff peaks means they will stand on their own without falling over.   Spread the whipped cream over the chilled pie, serve.  Try not to eat it all yourself.  Good luck.

This is a really easy recipe and contains no additives or chemicals from artificial contents that some recipes use.  It is also super delicious!  Dan has had waaaaaaay too many pieces at this point, but that's okay.  Just confirmation for how good the pies are.  

If you still have local berries available, you will really want to make at least one of these pies if not more.  You can use berries from the grocery store if you don't have access to the smaller, sweeter, local berries.  Actually, you can make this recipe all year long using imported berries.  Nothing wrong with that!  It's all good.

Once you make this recipe, you are going to want to make more.  Betcha.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Doubtless, God could have made a better berry (than the strawberry), but doubtless, God never did.
William Allen Butler