Every year, I wait for the month of December with such bright hopes. Nope, I’m not talking about anything Christmassy. Not even the jackpot of a Christmas sale, where shops down the street suddenly resemble tempting gold mines with their 50% off baits. I’m talking about , um strawberries. (Uh, oh! Strawberry obsessed rant coming up)
You see, I have no clue how many strawberry recipes I actually bookmark all year round , and then wait impatiently till the next strawberry season. And when those red juicy berries start tumbling into the supermarket shelves by November , I smugly smile away wondering which of them will have the honour of turning into a pretty cake, pie or jam just to tickle my sweet palate.
This year, I chose to flag off strawberry season with a pie. Even though apple pie tops the list for me, I realised I had never made a decent- looking pie from scratch before. And yeah, what they all say is really true. Nothing beats a homemade pie crust. Period.
Making a pie crust is more about technique. Simple ingredients, simple steps. Rolling it out is the tricky part, which calls for a gentle but quick hand. If a clumsy clout like me (yeah, my whole family is nodding away to that) can roll out a buttery crust, so can you.
Now for the filling . Strawberries being naturally juicy, are notorious for making pie crusts soggy. And serving a strawberry pie is usually a messy affair, with the filling turning into a big red puddle. I did my Google bit and discovered that America’s Test Kitchen had come up with the perfect idea of adding both cornflour and pectin to thicken up the filling. And yes, it works like magic !
We all loved the pie, and I highly recommend you to try it. Do you have any tips or tricks of your own on making pie crusts ? I would love to know em.
Oh and one more thing. The pie passed my sugar-aversive husband’s taste test. Ask me how I know? ‘Cos on our way to our neighbours place , he mentioned twice that he was uncertain whether we should have taken the pie along to share with them! Enjoy. 🙂
Makes one small 7″ pie
1 blind baked pie crust *
2 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp light muscovado sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of one orange
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp pectin powder
1 tbsp cinnamon sugar, to sprinkle on top(optional)
1 large egg, beaten ,for brushing the top crust
For the filling
1. Cut the hulled strawberries into two. Try to keep the halved pieces big, as the strawberries will reduce upon baking
2. In a medium bowl, toss together the strawberries, sugars,cinnamon , lemon juice, orange zest, cornstarch and pectin powder. Let the mix rest for 10 minutes. The strawberries will start releasing juices.
Assembling the pie
1. Fill the blind baked pie crust with the strawberry filling
2. Make the lattice crust on a cake board, let it chill for five minutes. And then simply slide it onto the top of the strawberry filling. You could see how it’s done here at Gretchen’s bakery
3. Brush the beaten egg onto the lattice strips. Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.
4. Cover the pie and place in refrigerator while you preheat oven to 205 C. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.
5. Put a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil, on the oven rack, to catch any spills.
6. Place the pie plate onto the hot baking sheet, and bake for around 35- 40 minutes, till the crust becomes golden brown and the filling starts to bubble.
7. Remove from oven, and let cool completely on a wire rack for several hours. Serve at room temperature.
*Half this recipe was adequate to make a bottom crust for a 7″ shallow pi e dish as well as a lattice top.