As I've been gaining confidence in my skills and flexing my culinary muscles on a daily basis, I decided it's time to tackle another item on my kitchen creations bucket list (remember when I tackled one here). I've always been a decent baker, starting as just a kid with cut out cookies (a particularly frustrating Christmas with a cookie gun comes to mind), packaged cake mixes and my ever famous chocolate covered pretzel rods (okay, the latter wasn't quite baking, but it was a handmade sweet treat).
With temperatures soaring here at the beach and the strawberry farm opening this week, I decided to try my hand at a pie--something I've never done before. At 85 degrees and sunny I definitely was suffering from
spring summer fever--and this was the perfect cure to beat the heat. I wanted to do the whole thing from scratch--crust and all, but discovered that I'm lacking a few key tools for such things--the most prominent being a pie dish (gifts are welcome!). I cheated a little and opted for a frozen crust, but made the strawberry filling and whipped cream fresh. The results were the perfect balance of sweet and tart and made me want to recreate it with a graham cracker crust next time (I've never been a big pie crust fan. I often find it dry and bland and for as long as I can remember I typically eat all of the filling leaving just a shell of what was once the perfect slice of apple or cherry pie behind).
I used this recipe as a guide but found a few tricks and tips along the way.
Strawberry Pie with Fresh Whipped Cream Topping
- 1qt fresh strawberries (about 3 3/4 cups whole berries, or 24 small-medium berries) trimmed and halved
- 1 C plus 2 Tbsp white sugar
- 3/4 C water
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- one 9-inch pie crust
- 1 1/2 C Whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Bake off your pie crust to the instructions on the package (or your favorite pie crust recipe--which I hope to have one soon!) Arrange half of the strawberries in the crust. In a medium saucepan add the second half of the strawberries and mash well (potato masher works great here!). Add 2 Tbsp of the water and 1C sugar and heat over medium heat until it comes to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine cornstarch with the remaining water until dissolved. When the strawberries come to a boil, slowly stir in the cornstarch mixture, reduce heat and simmer until thickened (about 10-12 minutes)--constantly stirring. When the mixture thickens, pour it in the pie crust over the halved strawberries. Allow to cool 30 minutes at room temperature, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for at least 2-3 hours (over night works best!) until completely cool and set before serving.
Chill your stand mixer bowl. With the whisk attachment in place, add the whipping cream, 2 Tbsp sugar and vanilla. Whip on medium-high for 5-8 minutes until stiff peaks form. Serve with the pie. (I added the whipped topping to the entire pie, but found it heavy and messy for serving--I'd recommend adding the whipped cream after you serve each slice).
Share with your friends and neighbors. Bake two--they'll go fast. Eat it for breakfast. Enjoy the fact that you made a delicious pie by hand and smile at the thought that strawberry season has just begun!
Ps. Update your bookmarks because it's easier to find us and share us with your friends. www.ncdots.com (the first of many new changes coming this spring/summer!)