Blue Ribbon Fresh Strawberry Pie
Make this pie when strawberries are at their peak – it’s a perfect summer dessert. Some recipes call for gelatin, but it can make the pie to rubbery. America’s Test Kitchen calls for powdered pectin to thicken the filling which works much better. Measuring is KEY, you must start with 1 1/4 cups of strawberry puree. Varying that amount will yield glaze that is either too thick or too thin. Pectin for lower sugar recipes is important here because this pie does not have enough sugar for ordinary pectin to set properly. Serve the pie with freshly whipped cream or use the cream cheese recipe below.
2 quarts fresh strawberries , washed and hulled; one quart halved (4 cups); remaining quart sliced lengthwise into 4 to 5 slices (4 cups)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. powdered pectin for lower sugar recipes (such as Sure Jell in the pink box)
Pinch table salt
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
Pinch ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. lemon juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 prebaked 9-inch pie shell
1. Puree 1 pint (2 cups) of the halved berries in blender or food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade, scraping down sides as necessary, until smooth (you should have 1 1/4 cups; spoon off any extra). Bring puree, sugar, pectin, and a pinch salt to boil, stirring occasionally, in medium saucepan over medium heat. Increase heat to medium-high; boil hard until sugar and pectin are dissolved, about 1 minute. Off heat, skim foam from surface with large spoon.
2. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch and 1/4 cup cold water in small bowl until absolutely smooth. Off heat, add cornstarch slurry to strawberry mixture, then return to boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and, continuing to stir constantly, simmer until mixture becomes thick and clear, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in cinnamon, lemon juice, and vanilla. Transfer glaze, reserving 1/4 cup for topping, into large bowl; cool to room temperature, at least 15 minutes. (be certain that the glaze mixture has cooled before adding the berries; if it is too hot, the berries might begin to cook and soften.)
3. Using a rubber spatula, fold sliced strawberries into large bowl of glaze, turning several times to coat thoroughly. Turn glazed berries into pie shell; spread evenly and smooth surface with rubber spatula. As in the photo, place berry halves in concentric circles, flat side down and pointed ends toward center, starting at center and working toward the outer edge. Stir 2 tablespoons water into reserved 1/4 cup glaze to thin; brush over berry halves to finish pie. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2, and up to 6, hours. Serve.
Cream Cheese Topping:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth, about 30 seconds. With mixer running, add cream and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Serve pie with whipped cream topping.