Friday, April 29, 2011

Summery Strawberry Pie

I thought I was done making pies for a while. But I was at the grocery store this week and had strawberries on my list for a salad. Turns out that strawberries were on sale--a 4 pound box was $3.99! And they looked beautiful. How could I pass them up? It sounded like a great deal. That is, until I got home and realized that I had 4 pounds of strawberries :P

My neighbor recently had surgery and I wanted to bring her dinner. And what better dessert to bring than a strawberry pie?

I had a premade pie crust left over from The Kid's pie fundraiser, too. How perfect!

The directions on my crust said to let it rest at room temperature for 10 minutes, and then poke it all over with a fork to make sure it baked evenly. Then it baked for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Just follow the directions on your pie crust for a prebaked pie shell.

Also, just a warning. Those roll-out crusts are worthless for prebaked shells. They may have directions on the box for that use, but every time I've tried, the sides of the crust have fallen and melted into the bottom of the pie pan. These frozen, pre-formed shells work much better. Unless I'm doing something wrong. Am I doing something wrong?

While your pie crust is prebaking, you can work on the filling. A cup of strawberries with some sugar go into a sauce pot.

Use a fork or potato masher (or, if you want, you could use a blender or food processor) to mash up the strawberries.

I added the zest of a little less than half a lemon. Then I turned on the heat to about medium.

It smelled sooo good, like homemade strawberry jam. I wish I had had the foresight to buy another package of strawberries and made jam.

While the strawberry mixture was heating up, I measured out some corn starch.

The corn starch will help the strawberry sauce thicken.

I mixed in some water to make a slurry with the corn starch.

A drop of red food coloring went in, too, just because I felt like it.

Once the strawberries begin to boil gently, pour the corn starch mixture in. Let everything simmer for 10 minutes.

With the strawberries on the stove and the corn starch slurry standing by, the pie crust should be ready to come out of the oven.

To keep the strawberry filling from making the crust soggy, I painted the bottom of the crust with some chocolate.

I would have used plain chocolate chips, but I couldn't find any (I did find three opened bags of butterscotch chips, though...huh.) I had this yummy bittersweet baking bar, though, so I broke half the bar into little pieces.

The pieces with into the bottom of the pie crust while it was still hot.

The heat from the crust melted the chocolate.

I used a spoon to gently spread the chocolate along the bottoms and sides of the pie shell.

I trimmed about 3 cups of strawberries and arranged them in the pie shell.

The hot, thickened strawberry, sugar, and corn starch mixture was poured over the top of the strawberries in the pie shell.

Smooth the filling out and put your pie in the fridge. It needs at least 2 hours to cool and to set up.

Once your pie is fully cool, you can top it with whipped cream and serve it! I can't tell you how heavenly and fresh it smells. It's a simple way to bring a bit of summer into your kitchen (and into your stomachs!)

Recipe: Summery Strawberry Pie
1 pie shell, prebaked (follow the directions on your pie crust recipe or on the label if using store-bought)

2 oz. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, broken into small pieces

1 c. strawberries
1 c. sugar

3 tbsp. corn starch
1/2 c. water
dash red food coloring

3 c. whole strawberries, cleaned and hulled

whipped cream, for garnish

Bake pie shell according to recipe or package directions. After removing pie shell from oven, sprinkle the bottom of the shell with the chocolate. Allow the heat from the pie shell to melt the chocolate; use a spoon to spread melted chocolate on the bottom and sides of the pie shell.

In a sauce pot, combine 1 c. strawberries and sugar. Mash strawberries and sugar into a paste. Heat over medium until mixture begins to boil gently.

In a small bowl, combine corn starch, water, and food coloring. Pour into strawberry mixture. Reduce heat to simmering. Allow mixture to simmer for 10 minutes.

Arrange cleaned and hulled strawberries in the pie shell. Pour strawberry/sugar mixture over the top. Let cool for at least 2 hours. Garnish with whipped cream.

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