How to Make the Perfect Strawberry Pie
Whether you’re in need of a delicious dessert for a summer picnic or a special occasion, strawberry pie is the perfect treat! This sweet, fruity dessert is sure to be the star of any gathering. Plus, it’s easy to make – all you need are a few ingredients and some tips from us. Read on for our guide to making the perfect strawberry pie.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED:
FOR THE CRUST:
- 1/2 cups of Crisco
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- Pinch of salt
FOR THE FILLING:
- 32 ounces of fresh Strawberries – washed and drained
- 1 cup of water
- 1 cup of sugar
- 3 heaping Tablespoons of Strawberry Jello
- 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons of Corn Starch
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM
- 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
- 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon of Vanilla
COOKS TOOLS NEEDED:
- Stand mixer
- Rolling pin
- Pie dish
- Pastry cutter
- Cookie sheets
- Parchment paper
- Wire racks
HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:
In a large bowl, place the flour, sugar, and just a pinch of salt, and stir altogether. Add the Crisco, and cut the flour mixture, and the Crisco together with a Pastry cutter, or blender, until it resembles small particles, about the size of a pea. Add a couple of Tablespoons of warm water (yes, that’s right, warm, not cold) and keep adding the water a Tablespoon at a time, and mix with your hands, just until the mixture begins to form a ball. Don’t add any more water, after the ball is formed, and it sticks together. Don’t overwork the dough, but make sure it has enough water to stay together, and it will be a little elastic in texture.
Divide the dough in half, and on a floured surface, place the dough in the middle – I rolled my dough on my Marble countertop, but any smooth surface will work, if you flour it so the dough doesn’t stick to it. Flour your rolling pin – generously and keep the flour handy to sprinkle a little here and there to make rolling easy. Flour the top of the dough, lightly, and with the rolling pin, roll the dough into a large piece, round or square, until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Hold your pie plate over the top of the dough, just to make sure the dough is bigger all the way around the pie plate. If it’s not, roll it out a little more. Fold the dough in half, and in half again, and place it in the pie plate. Unfold it, and move it about the plate, until you have it in place to form it to the plate.
Make sure the dough is smooth in the pie plate, and don’t be worried, if it should tear while you’re moving and fitting it to the plate. Just pinch it back together, and smooth it out with your fingers. This is a real ‘hands on’ part of the dough process. If you need to, you can always put another piece of dough where there is a tear, and repair the tear; just work it with your fingers until it’s smooth, and there are no holes in the dough. When you have the dough in the pie plate, cut off any excess pieces around the edges, but, be careful to leave enough to seal the edges around the top of the pie plate. You’ll want to crimp the dough around the edge of the pie plate, with your fingers. Everyone has their own technique to achieve this, but it’s not hard. Just use the side of your little finger, and pinch the dough to form a little ridge, and press your little finger into the ridge, making a slight indentation. Look at the photo’s of the pie crust in the pie plate to get an idea of crimping the edges. Pierce the dough with a sharp knife in several spots around the pie plate, but don’t cut the dough all the way through to the bottom, or your filling will run out the bottom. This is to allow any air in the dough to escape as it’s baking. You can watch it as it bakes, and if a big bubble appears in your crust, just touch it with the sharp knife, and that should be enough to allow any air to escape the bubble.
Place the crust in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Don’t over bake it, so you’ll need to check on it often. When baked, place on a wire rack to cool.
The other half of the dough:
Place about 1 teaspoon of red food coloring gel in the middle of the remaining dough, and work it through the dough with your hands, until it’s all one light color of reddish pink. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick, and then cut the dough in strips, and then in large squares, about 3 inches by 3 inches. Lay the squares on a cookie sheet, and cut the squares diagonally, and move the triangles apart just slightly to bake. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, until just beginning to brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. These little triangles are to place in the whipped cream to decorate the slices of pie.
THE STRAWBERRY PIE FILLING:
Wash the Strawberries, by running cold water over them, or soaking them for a few seconds, and rinsing them off a couple of times. Place them on paper towels and let them dry. Remove the stems from all but about 8 or 9 large berries and leave the stems on the 8 or 9 large berries, and use these to decorate the slices of pie. Slice the remaining berries in half, or in 4 or 5 slices if preferred.
In a heavy saucepan, place the water, sugar, Strawberry Jell-O, lemon juice and corn starch, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Mixture will look cloudy, and then will begin to become clear. When you can see your spoon through the mixture, if it looks like clear bright red Jell-O, it’s done, remove from heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and place in the refrigerator on a hot mat, to cool faster. When Jell-O mixture is cool to the touch, add the sliced Strawberries to the mixture, and stir well, to make sure all berries are coated in the mixture.
Pour the Strawberry Pie filling into the baked pie crust, smooth the filling in the crust, and place in the refrigerator, in a pie keeper to protect the uncovered pie, and allow it to chill, and set, or thicken.
Place washed un-stemmed berries for decorating in the refrigerator.
Before serving the pie – make the whipped cream. I always recommend making the whipped cream a few minutes before serving.
Place the metal bowl and whisk attachment to the mixer in the freezer for about 20 minutes before whipping the whipped cream. Remove from freezer, and place the heavy cream, powdered sugar and Vanilla in the mixing bowl, Whip on low until blended, and starting to become a little thick. Turn mixer up to high speed, and mix until cream is whipped, and stiff peaks begin to form.
How do you know it’s done? When you turn off the mixer, and lift the whisk out of the bowl, a big dollop of whipped cream will remain on the whisk and will be thick enough to stay on the whisk. If it doesn’t stay on the whisk, turn the mixer back on, and mix another 30 seconds or so, until it’s a little thicker. Don’t over mix it, or it will fall, flatten, and look like curdled butter. It takes about 1 minute to get it whipped thick. Some recipes say it takes 3 or 4 minutes, but that may include the part where it’s on low, mixing the ingredients. You really have to look at the cream, when it begins to thicken, and stop the mixer when it forms stiff peaks. It should be done.
Decorate the strawberry pie:
Remove the pie from the refrigerator, and place a frosting tip in a pastry bag, and place the whipped cream in the bag. Cut the slices in about 2- to 3-inch-wide pieces and pipe the whipped cream on top of the slices, just at the top, or you can pipe the whole piece. Add one of the whole stemmed strawberries, and one or two of the pie crust triangles to the whipped cream, to decorate each piece. Serve, and enjoy!
NOTE: Left over pie crust triangles – you can still use any leftover pieces of crust. You can dust the pieces with powdered sugar, and serve them on the side with fresh berries, or with pudding topped with whipped cream in individual dishes, or with ice cream, and your favorite toppings. Pie crust will keep for about 2 – 3 days, in an airtight container.