I love fresh strawberry pie. But here’s what I don’t love: knowing that most strawberry pies are made with either strawberry gelatin or a package of strawberry goo. I like to know what I’m feeding my family, first of all; secondly, I like to honor fantastic, fresh ingredients accordingly. That means not overwhelming those perfectly ripe, once-a-year seasonal berries with some artificial goo.
I wanted strawberry pie that tasted like a strawberry, not a food scientist’s idea of a strawberry. I found a few recipes to try – a very few – and set to work. This pie – this delicious, over-the-top strawberry pie with 3 pounds of strawberries (!), graham cracker crust, and whipped cream on top – is an ode to summer. Messy, inelegant, and completely delicious. Plates were scraped clean, and a certain small guest, when prompted to thank me for dinner, said, “Thanks for the strawberry pie!…and the other stuff.”
What you need:
- For the crust:
- 6 T. unsalted butter
- 12 full sheets graham crackers (or 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs)
- 3 T. sugar
- pinch salt
- For the filling:
- 2 c. strawberries, mashed with a potato masher (or pureed, if you prefer)
- 1/2 c. red juice (cherry, cranberry…) or water
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1 1/2 t. low- or no-sugar needed pectin (optional, but preferred)
- 2 T. cornstarch (plus 1 T. if not using pectin)
- 1/4 t. salt
- 1 T. lemon juice, to stir in at the end
- To finish the pie:
- 6 c. whole strawberries, cored, halved if very large
- whipped cream
- 9″ pie plate
- food processor (optional)
- measuring cups and spoons
- cutting board, knife, and colander
- potato masher
- 2 quart saucepan
Time: 30 minutes prep + 2-4 hours chilling time.
Freezeable: Sadly, no.
Multiplying the recipe: You could easily make enough filling for multiple pies all at once.
Fresh Strawberry Pie:
For the crust: Preheat the oven to 375F. Place the butter in a 9″ pie plate and set in the oven until melted. If using whole graham crackers, place them in a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form.
When butter is melted, add the crumbs, sugar, and salt to the pie plate and stir to combine. Press the crumb mixture flat along the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate (I used the flat bottom of a measuring cup). Be careful – remember that the pie plate is hot! Bake the crust for 12 minutes. Cool slightly.
For the filling: In a 2 quart saucepan, combine the berries, juice or water, sugar, pectin, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, mashing the berries, until thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
To finish the pie: Place the whole strawberries, top down, in the bottom of the pie plate. Once the bottom of the crust is covered, add a bit of the filling to coat the berries. Arrange the remaining berries evenly on top, and carefully spread the remaining filling over the top. Chill the pie for 2-4 hours. Serve with whipped cream.
Note: If you prefer a different crust, either a regular 9″ pie crust may be used – pre-bake it before filling – or you may substitute 50 Nilla Wafers for the graham crackers.