I have no idea why, but I have been craving an old-fashioned strawberry pie for months. I’ve never had one but I LOVE strawberries and I LOVE pie, so it just makes sense that I would LOVE strawberry pie. The thing is, old-fashioned strawberry pies really aren’t that common. When you search for a strawberry pie online, it’s a lot easier to find cold strawberry pies than hot ones. Let me just tell you, the world is missing out on this. Old-fashioned strawberry pie is sweet, juicy, and amazing served warm, possibly with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on the side.
Don’t worry if you’re not a huge fan of making pie crust. You can pick one up at the store, but I do recommend at least trying to make it yourself. There’s nothing better than a fresh, homemade pie crust and it’s really not horribly difficult to make if you follow these rules of thumb:
- Use real butter AND shortening. The butter makes the pie crust taste great and helps make the crust flaky while the shortening helps the crust hold its shape.
- Don’t take your frustrations out on your dough. While there are only a few ingredients in the dough, it’s a delicate item that doesn’t need a rough hand. I read a book once called Making Piece where the author talked about how lawyers aren’t great at making pie dough because their stress levels are high and they take it out on the dough. This is not the time to destress! Use a gentle touch, stop mixing just before you think you should, and you will be fine. You’re not trying to work all of the butter and shortening evenly into the flour. You want chunks to help with the flakiness.
- Start with cold butter and cold shortening and then refrigerate the dough before you bake it. Keeping the butter and shortening cold helps form flaky layers and you want the dough to be cold when it goes into the hot oven
A good step by step pie crust recipe is this one the King Arthur flour website. This is the recipe I am using today, but I am modifying it slightly to make a lattice crust. How am I doing this? Read on and find out!
So here’s how we’re going to do this. The pie crust needs to be made first.
First, fill a glass with ice and water; let it sit so the water gets nice and cold.
Next, measure out your flour, salt, and sugar and mix them together in a large bowl. Then cut your cold butter and shortening into small pieces and add them to the flour mixture. This makes it easier to cut them into the flour with minimal work.
Now grab a pastry blender or 2 knives and cut the butter into the flour. What does this mean? This basically cuts up the shortening and butter while mixing them into the flour.
Then take the ice water and drizzle it over the mixture one tablespoon at a time and toss the wet flour with a fork to spread the water as much as possible. Again, do this lightly and a little less than you think you should. You’ll know you’re done when the dough isn’t soaking wet but it does hold together if you pinch it together with two fingers.
Once you’ve got a good dough together, split the dough so you have 2/3 of it in one ball and 1/3 in another, then put it on a piece of plastic wrap. Form the balls into disks, wrap the plastic tightly around each and pop them in the refrigerator for about an hour.
While the dough gets nice and cold, make the filling. Wash and dry the strawberries thoroughly- you don’t want extra moisture in the filling because the strawberries are already super juicy on their own. Once the strawberries are dry, remove the tops and slice them into largely uniform pieces. They don’t have to be perfect but they do need to be similarly sized so they cook evenly. You don’t want half your pie to be overcooked because you left a few giant berries in there that took forever to cook.
Once the strawberries are sliced, stir them into a mixture of flour, sugar and cinnamon so they are fully coated
Once the dough is nice and chilled, roll out the larger disk of dough into a 10” circle (for a 9” pie pan). Take the circle and carefully fit it into the pie pan. One way to do this is to roll the dough onto the rolling pin so you can pick it up in one piece and then unroll it over the pie pan, pushing it down carefully until it fits to the pan. You should have a little bit of an overhang all around- leave this for now.
Pour the filling into the pie pan. You don’t want it to overflow the pan but it is okay if it mounds a little. It will flatten out as the pie cooks.
Next, roll out the the remaining circle of dough into a 10” circle and cut it into ½ inch strips. Lay them across the pie in a criss-cross fashion with a little of each strip hanging over the edge of the pan on each side. Once you have them all laid out and crisscrossed, crimp the shell around the edges as desired (use your fingers, a fork, or the back of a spoon for a nice and easy crimping option) and then cut off the excess around the edge of the pan. Save this because I have a nice surprise for you in a minute. Whisk an egg in a bowl and brush it lightly over the top of the pie crust to help the crust brown.
Now pop the pie into an oven preheated to 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and cook the pie for 30-35 more minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly and thick. If the edges of the crust start to brown too quickly you can cover them with strips of foil or a silicone pie crust edge mat. Let it cool a little before you cut into it- this is an extremely juicy pie and you’ll lose all your filling (and possibly burn yourself) if you cut into it immediately. Once the pie is cooled down some, cut yourself a slice and enjoy! Bonus points if you use some of the filling that spills into the pan as a topping for vanilla ice cream. You can also try this pie with a nice cabernet franc. I really enjoy the strawberry-cabernet franc combination, especially if the wine is slightly chilled.
This pie is so sweet and juicy it’s sure to become a new family favorite!
Bonus: Once your pie is finished baking, leave your oven set at 350 and make some pie crust cookies! Just take your leftover dough scraps and spread them on a sheet pan lined with foil. Brush them with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake until they start to brown slightly and are firm to the touch. These are some of my absolute favorite cookies and I hope you enjoy them, too!