Strawberries are fantastic right now, and we made a dazzling pie from a few quarts. Here's the full post with a ton of pics: http://thecollegecritics.com/2011/05/...
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Strawberries are in season, so my Mom requested a strawberry pie. I made this pie with only nine ingredients: flour, butter, shortening, sugar, salt, strawberries, corn starch, nutmeg, and some whole milk brushed on the top crust for a golden brown finish. (Pics after the jump)
I almost always use Pyrex brand glass pie pans. They distribute heat more evenly than the aluminum pans so you don’t get an undercooked bottom crust; plus, they’re reusable and durable. I lightly greased the pan to allow for easy slice removal in the event of some filling leakage.
The recipe I used required four cups of strawberries, not difficult to find considering that they’re in season. Some chefs extol the merits of frozen fruit. Personally, I think that fruit pies just turn out better (in flavor and texture) when their respective fruit is in season. While this may mean that your hankering for strawberry pie in January may go unfulfilled, such disappointment means that the summer strawberry pie will taste all the sweeter.
The filling was as simple as you could get really: strawberries, sugar, and cornstarch (I added some nutmeg as well since the recipe recommended it, but the pie would have been fine without it). You have to let the filling sit around 10 minutes for the corn starch to work its magic.
I use a half and half ratio of butter to shortening in my crusts. The butter gives it a richer flavor, and the shortening gives a flakier texture. A lot of people swear by lard for the best flavor/texture combination, but I’ve never had the opportunity to try that out. I’ve tried the all-butter crust, and it comes out with amazing flavor, but dense. In contrast, all shortening crust is the paragon of light pastry, but has little flavor. Thus, the half and half ratio works best in my opinion.
I roll out the crust on some wax paper to make the transfer to the pie pan easier, the dough peels right off.
I refrigerated the crust-lined pan for fifteen minutes before I put the filling it. This step adds another layer of protection against a soggy bottom crust.
The edge was not a perfect circle, so sue me. The trend in desserts nowadays is to use precise measurements and ratios. I find the “That Seems About Right” school works just fine.
There, see, I fixed the edge with a little bit of water and a fancy doodad I like to call a fork.
I cut a few too many vents in the side though, there was some filling spillage.
An up close look at the wound. My strawberry concoction boiled over a bit, but it didn’t make a difference in the end.
Next time I will definitely use at least another cup of strawberries, since the filling reduced in volume more than I expected. In the end, its hard to go wrong with such a simple pie, but fruit pies can be a harsh learning experience.