Fresh Strawberry Pie

Anyone that hails from Pittsburgh most likely holds strawberry pie very close to their heart. Our hometown diner chain has sold strawberry pies for as long as I can remember. Big, fresh strawberries in a thick strawberry glaze piled into a pie crust and adorned with big swirls of whipped cream. A slice of that pie for dessert was always a favorite treat when I was younger. Well, fast forward a couple of decades. I picked up one of those pies for Mother’s Day a couple of years ago since it’s always a favorite and was excited to dig in. And then I was incredibly disappointed. The pie crust had some sort of weird chemical flavor that left a metallic aftertaste and the glaze wasn’t the spectacular thing that I remembered from my youth. I didn’t finish my piece and vowed to figure out a way to make a delicious, completely homemade strawberry pie that rivaled the memories I had when I was kid. Finally, this pie lived up to all of my expectations and exceeded them.

This pie starts with a basic single pie crust. I know it can be tempting to pick up the refrigerated or frozen ones, but homemade really doesn’t take much more effort and there is such a difference in flavor. The melt-in-your-mouth flakiness is the thing dreams are made of! If you’ve been hesitant about homemade pie crust, just go for it. Even misshapen, shrunken or otherwise less-than-perfect pie crust is still amazingly delicious! Just like anything else, practice makes perfect :)

The glaze for this pie is made with pureed strawberries, sweetened with sugar and thickened with a mixture of cornstarch and Sure-Jell (a low-sugar pectin). Once cooked and thickened, it’s folded with more strawberries and piled into the pie crust. After chilling in the refrigerator you’re ready to dig in.

The verdict? It far surpasses any strawberry pie that I had when I was a kid. A definite keeper and summer staple.

One year ago: Blueberry Boy Bait
Two years ago: Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies
Three years ago: New York-Style Crumb Cake

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes (active) 3½ hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Baked Pie Shell:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices
¼ cup chilled vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
¼ cup ice water

For the Filling:
4 pints (about 3 pounds) fresh strawberries, gently rinsed and dried, hulled
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ teaspoons Sure-Jell for low-sugar recipes (the pink box)
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

1. Make the Pie Crust: Process ¾ cup flour, salt and sugar together in food processor until combined, about two 1-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 10 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrap down sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add ½ cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into a medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle the water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Flatten dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Roll dough loosely around a rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with 1 hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand. Leave overhanging dough in place; refrigerate until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Trim overhang to ½ inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Flute dough or press tines of fork against dough to flatten against rim of pie plate. Refrigerate dough-lined plate until firm, about 15 minutes.

5. Remove pie plate from refrigerator and use a fork to prick the bottom of the dough. Line the crust with foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weight, rotate plate, and bake for 5 to 10 additional minutes, until crust is golden brown and crisp. Let cool to room temperature.

6. Make the Filling: Select 6 ounces misshapen, underripe, or otherwise unattractive berries, halving those that are large; you should have about 1½ cups. In a food processor, process the berries to a smooth puree, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed.

7. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, Sure-Jell, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in the berry puree, making sure to scrape the corners of the pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, and bring to a full boil. Boil, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to prevent scorching, for 2 minutes to ensure that the cornstarch is fully cooked (mixture will appear frothy when it first reaches a boil, then will darken and thicken with further cooking). Transfer to a large bowl and stir in lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature.

8. Meanwhile, pick over the remaining berries and measure out 2 pounds of the most attractive ones; halve only extra-large berries. Add the berries to the bowl with the glaze and fold gently with a rubber spatula until the berries are evenly coated. Scoop the berries into the pie shell, piling into a mound. If any cut sides face up on top, turn them face down. If necessary, rearrange the berries so that holes are filled and the mound looks attractive. Refrigerate pie until chilled, about 2 hours. Serve within 5 hours of chilling.

(Recipe adapted Cook's Illustrated)

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83 Responses to “Fresh Strawberry Pie”

Comment Pages 1 2
  1. lynne on June 14, 2011 at 1:14 am

    I love strawberry pie! Hopefully I can make this before I eat all the strawberries!

    Reply

  2. Katie @ NYCitified on June 14, 2011 at 1:51 am

    I went to school in Pittsburgh (Hail to Pitt!) and I can confirm that just seeing that picture made my mouth water. Hmmm I may have to add this to my weekend baking list…..

    Reply

  3. Blog is the New Black on June 14, 2011 at 5:42 am

    This looks wonderfully refreshing!

    Reply

  4. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on June 14, 2011 at 5:56 am

    I’ve never had strawberry pie but I happen to have a Costco container of strawberries in my fridge…..

    Reply

  5. Nuts about Food on June 14, 2011 at 6:44 am

    Adult palates are certainly more sophisticated and judging from the pictures that pie was delicious!

    Reply

  6. Heather (Heather's Dish) on June 14, 2011 at 7:45 am

    strawberry pie is always one of those things i saw on the line at those all-you-can-eat restaurants that my grandparents would take us to, but this looks FAR better than that! so fresh and delicious!

    Reply

  7. bridget {bake at 350} on June 14, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Gosh, that is beautiful!

    Reply

  8. Paula on June 14, 2011 at 8:14 am

    Beautifully photographed! The pie looks amazing, that crust looks fantastic.

    Reply

  9. Ann on June 14, 2011 at 8:50 am

    That looks so tasty! I’m always amazed how many hpjars of strawberry glaze are sold when it’s SO easy to make your own and its 10 times better! Beautiful pictures!

    Reply

  10. DessertForTwo on June 14, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I love how glossy those strawberries are-yum!

    Reply

  11. Barbara | Creative Culinary on June 14, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Absolutely beautiful, making my mouth water photographs!

    I am an avowed strawberry pie fan; spring without one would not be the same. I’ve been using a similar recipe for, gee…almost 35 years! The ONLY modification I made many years ago and we love is to mix some mascarpone (or cream) cheese with a bit of sugar and spread it on the bottom of the cooled crust before piling it with the strawberries and glaze. I did it initially to form a barrier between the crust and the juices to avoid having the crust get soggy, but the flavor component was such a plus I would do it now just for that!

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 14th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

      Oooh Barb, that sounds fabulous!

      Reply

  12. Robyn {Planet Byn} on June 14, 2011 at 9:49 am

    we’re just entering prime strawberry season in ontario, so this is great! i don’t think we have sure-jell here though so i’ll have to look for something similar.

    Reply

  13. Dana Salvo on June 14, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Will you PLEASE come make me a pie crust. I swear I can’t make one to save my life lol. This looks gorgeous :) I love how it all oozes out on the plate there mmmm I can almost taste it!

    Reply

  14. Kaitlin on June 14, 2011 at 10:00 am

    What a beautiful pie! This is perfect for the strawberries I’ve been receiving in my CSA. Thanks for a great recipe!

    Reply

  15. jillian on June 14, 2011 at 10:24 am

    This looks like summer :) I make a similar blueberry open faced pie. I love them because you can really taste the fruit.

    Reply

  16. Kathia on June 14, 2011 at 10:34 am

    Simple delicious!!

    Reply

  17. sherri lynn on June 14, 2011 at 11:16 am

    This looks SO good! All of your recipes that I’ve tried have been delicious, so I will be bookmarking this for a future dessert!

    Reply

  18. Vicki @ Wilde in the Kitchen on June 14, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Glad your pie crust doesn’t taste like metal, that would be pretty gross :) The pie looks so pretty though, the glaze really shines!

    Reply

  19. Foodies on the Fly on June 14, 2011 at 11:51 am

    This pie looks incredible! Was Eat-N-Park the diner chain? Just looking at it reminds me of ” Merry Berry Month of May” from my childhood, but I am sure homemade will taste much better, fresh out of the fridge, mmmmm.

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 14th, 2011 at 12:03 pm

      Yep, Eat n’ Park! I loooooved their strawberry pie when I was younger, then we got it a couple of years ago and I almost spit it out. Not sure if they changed something or if my palate “matured” with age ;-)

      Reply

  20. Paula on June 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    I made this pie several weeks ago! Let’s just say that yours came out looking a right bit nicer than mine did. :)

    Reply

  21. Steph@stephsbitebybite on June 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    And this is what we call SUMMERTIME!! I love the bright red colors of the strawberries. Mouthwatering

    Reply

  22. Lori Lynn on June 14, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Ooh so nice and summery!
    Like that you don’t overdo the cream, just a touch, looks perfect.
    LL

    Reply

  23. Curry and Comfort on June 14, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Wow, now that looks simply gorgeous! I love the strawberries… they look like little gems. Great Pie. : )

    Reply

  24. nancy@skinnykitchen.com on June 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Wow your pie looks amazing. I’d love a taste right now!
    I love strawberry season. I just shared my favorite recipe for a skinny strawberry pie topped cheesecake, http://www.skinnykitchen.com/recipes/fresh-strawberry-pie-topped-cheesecake-the-ultimate-dessert-for-father%E2%80%99s-day/

    Reply

  25. Jarrett on June 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Oh Michelle — I think you’ve just given me a recipe for Nirvana. When I was growing up my family often ate at a Twin Cities’ restaurant called Nelson’s. Every meal ended with a slice of wonderful, fresh strawberry pie. I’m sure this is it, if not even better. Can’t wait to try it. And thanks for the memories!

    Reply

  26. Kate on June 14, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    That looks absoLUTELY amazing. I can’t wait to give it a try! :)

    Reply

  27. Kris on June 14, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Yessss Eat n’ Park! Love it! :) The recipe looks fabulous.

    Reply

  28. Tina From Pa on June 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Bring on the ‘Eat and Park” Strawberry pie! This pie looks devine! This sounds silly but, I really miss not having “Eat and Park” local. It’s funny my sister lives in Ohio and when we go “home” to Dad’s for holidays we always go to Eat and Park for a Super burger and Onion rings! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

    Reply

  29. Jenn on June 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Making two of these today to take to my nursing class! Shells are in the oven (I like puff pastry sheets for my crusts) and gel is cooling on the counter!

    Reply

  30. Pauline on June 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Nothing like a disappointing dish outside to get you back in the kitchen. Looks so…..you know……delicious :-)

    Reply

  31. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts on June 14, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    What I wouldn’t give for fresh strawberries right now! Strawberry season can’t come soon enough to Iowa!

    Reply

  32. Katrina on June 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Beautiful pie! Love this.

    Reply

  33. Shibori on June 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I had the same experience with an Eat n’ Park strawberry pie just a few days ago. The glaze tasted like plastic and it was kind of gross. Yours looks much better!

    Reply

  34. Kate@Diethood on June 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Oh my, that looks amazing! I love it!

    Reply

  35. Barbara on June 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Oh my that looks good. And God bless you for not posting a recipe with Jello in it.

    Reply

  36. Grace@ Food-Fitness-FreshAir on June 14, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    This reminds me I haven’t made a strawberry pie yet this year and strawberry season is almost over! This look so good!

    Reply

  37. Happy When Not Hungry on June 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Wow this pie looks fabulous!!

    Reply

  38. Mikaela Cowles on June 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    I had never even heard of Strawberry Pie until recently and now it seems to be popping up everywhere! It looks amazing and with Strawberries coming into season it seems like just the thing.

    Reply

  39. Hezzi-D on June 14, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I LOVE strawberry pie (I am also from Pittsburgh). I have never made a strawberry pie, but I make sure to get a few every summer when I’m home! Yours looks amazing. I’m totally trying it in the next few weeks:-)

    Reply

  40. Dana@TheSundaySweet on June 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    This pie looks like pure bliss to me! My favorite is cherry pie, but this looks like it would be runner up and maybe even surpass it. I just made your snickerdoodles this weekend. SO delish! Thank you for sharing :)

    Reply

  41. Lindsey@Lindselicious on June 14, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Strawberry pies scream summer! Love it!

    Reply

  42. Sues on June 14, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    What a beautiful strawberry pie!!! I’m absolutely loving strawberry season :)

    Reply

  43. jenny on June 14, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    Why is yours so runny? would a longer chill/set time cure that? This tooks quite similar to a strawberry pie recipe I have, probably my all-time favorite dessert.

    Reply

  44. Leah on June 14, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Ever heard of the Bumbleberry restaurant chain? It was in Northern California. I got my first job as a high school teenager there making fresh strawberry and peach pies. My official job title was “Strawberry Girl” but I eventually worked my way up the chain to hostess. If you’re familiar with Marie Callender’s restaurants, you’ll know what Bumbleberry’s was known best for making (pies, pies and more pies!). I didn’t make the other pies, though. Only the fresh strawberry and peach pies. They had an older guy who could handle the hot commercial oven bake all of the others, and also the crusts that I was responsible for filling with the fruit and goo. People went nuts for them when they were in season. I’ll have to give the recipe you found a try. I was always turned off by the goo as it came pre-made in huge tubs (I’m still trying to figure out what was used the peach goo). At least I now know how to make a better version of the strawberry pie. Thanks!

    Reply

  45. Gloria on June 14, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    Thanks for posting this. I too have childhood memories of fresh strawberry pie (from Marie Callendar’s…props to the Stawberry girl in the post above). Similarly I had a piece about 2 years ago and was very disappointed. Plus my 92 (at the time) year old grandfather took me out to Marie Callendar’s as a treat and was mortified when the check came and the slice of pie was something like $7.95 plus a couple of extra dollars for fresh whipped cream. He ordered a piece of pie that was around the $5.00 mark. LOL. It definitely wasn’t worth it.

    Your pie looks amazing. I think you should come up with a homemade fresh peach version too….that was my second favorite pie from Marie Callendar’s.

    Reply

  46. Leah on June 15, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Hey Gloria…
    Did you hear that Marie Callender’s filed for bankruptcy yesterday? They closed something like 30+ restaurants across the nation. I saw it on the news. Supposedly, people were asked to leave the restaurant even after they placed their orders! No wonder they’re going out of business with the prices they charge for one slice of pie (much less a whole pie!).

    Reply

    • Gloria on June 15th, 2011 at 1:17 am

      Bummer. Even though their strawberry pie has gone downhill, the restaurant is still a childhood favorite. Love their potato cheese soup and cornbread and had a delicious piece of pie there a couple of weeks ago (on another date with my now 94 year old grandfather)….Double Cream Blueberry (the two creams are sour cream and whipped cream). I will be super sad if they are closing the location in my area. :(

      Reply

      • Leah on June 15th, 2011 at 2:35 am

        I hear ya! My friends and I used to love the chili and cornbread. At least you can buy the cornbread mix at Costco and some grocery stores (though I now find it a bit too sweet–I prefer making my own these days). Even still, MC’s chili and cornbread inspired a family fave tradition at Halloween that my daughter is continuing in college with her friends.

        Reply

  47. Julie on June 15, 2011 at 12:52 am

    The strawberry pie of my youth came from a chain called Tippins. I think it was a midwestern chain that made its way to Dallas, but I think they closed all of the stores. I’ve been searching for their recipe for so long. If any of your readers have a good substitute, please send it to me! From my memory, it was a different kind of pie in that I think the strawberries were lightly baked, but I could be wrong; it was so long ago. All the strawberry pie recipes I’ve read are similar to this one (unbaked strawberries finished with a glaze).

    Reply

    • Nikki on August 12th, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      I too remember Tippins fondly, and have been searching for their Strawberry Pie Recipe. This is the closest one I have found. The pies I remember (bought from the Arlington, TX location) looked almost identical to the one above, except it had a ring for fresh made whipped cream around the edges. They did have a baked Strawberry Pie, but it more resembled a cherry or an apple pie.

      Reply

  48. Renae on June 15, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Looks tasty! I’m not usually a fan of Strawberry pie, but I may try this one

    Reply

  49. Peggy on June 15, 2011 at 6:51 am

    We’ve got quite a few extra strawberries from this year’s CSA and I think this pie would be the perfect use of them! I love the simplicity of it – and I completely agree with you that a homemade crust is always better!

    Reply

  50. Kathy Mercure on June 15, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Looks really, really tempting! My dad was a baker and each summer his customers would eagerly await fresh strawberry tarts. He put a layer of custard on the bottom of the tart and propped up the strawberry quarters to form a peak. Brings back happy memories. I’ll give this a try, but I hope you don’t mind if I add the custard. It’s just got to be done!

    Reply

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