This fresh strawberry pie sits on my favorite pie crust, is held together with a delicious homemade glaze, and adorned with the best whipped cream. A perfect summer dessert!
Anyone who 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.
Fast forward a couple of decades and after not having it in ages, when I finally had it again, I was less than blown away. It wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered, which was a total bummer. At the time, I vowed to find a delicious, completely homemade strawberry pie that rivaled the memories I had of this pie. As soon as I made this strawberry pie, the search was over. It completely exceeded my expectations.
It had been years since I made this pie, so I put it on the menu for Easter dessert, along with my husband’s request of Boston cream pie. It was met with rave reviews and multiple requests for seconds, which rarely, if ever, happens with dessert. So basically, this strawberry pie is a surefire winner.
The pie starts with my very favorite 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.
You don’t HAVE to use whipped cream on this pie, but for me, naked fruit pies and whipped cream are a natural match. I used the whipped cream recipe from my tres leches cake, which is a bit sweeter than most, and whips up super thick and stuff, which makes it perfect for piping. However, if you like less sugar, use your go-to whipped cream recipe; or you could top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
The verdict? This far surpasses any strawberry pie that I had when I was a kid. A definite keeper and summer staple.
Fresh Strawberry Pie
For the Baked Pie Shell
- 1¼ cups (163 g) all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch slices
- ¼ cup (46 g) chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 2 pieces
- 2 tablespoons vodka, cold
- 2 tablespoons ice water
For the Filling
- 3 lbs fresh strawberries, gently rinsed and dried, hulled
- ¾ cup (149 g) granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1½ teaspoons Sure-Jell for low-sugar recipes, the pink box
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
- ½ cup (99 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Prepare Pie Dough: Process ¾ cups of the flour, the sugar and salt together in a food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add the butter and shortening and process until a homogenous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 7 to 10 seconds (the dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and redistribute the dough evenly around the bowl. Add the remaining ½ cup flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed around the bowl and the mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty the mixture into a medium bowl.
- Sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture. With a rubber spatula, use a folding motion to mix, pressing down on the dough until it is slightly tacky and sticks together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and bring it together with your hands, pressing it into a 6-inch round. Lightly flour the top and gently and quickly roll it out to a 13-inch circle, picking it up and doing a quarter turn after every couple of rolls to keep it from sticking.
- Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie dish and gently press it into the bottom and up the sides. Trim the dough to 1 inch beyond the lip of the pie plate, then tuck it under itself so it is flush with the edge of the pie plate. Flute the edges or press with the tines of a fork, then refrigerate the dough-lined plate for at least 2 hours.
- Blind Bake Crust: Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the chilled pie dough with aluminum foil and use granulated sugar to fill the whole pie plate. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the foil and sugar, and Set the baked pie shell on a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
- Make the Filling: Select 6 ounces of misshapen, underripe, or otherwise unattractive berries, halving those that are large; you should have about 1½ cups. In food processor, process berries to smooth puree, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. You should have about ¾ cup puree.
- Whisk sugar, cornstarch, Sure-Jell, and salt in medium saucepan. Stir in berry puree, making sure to scrape corners of pan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with heatproof rubber spatula, and bring to full boil. Boil, scraping bottom and sides of pan to prevent scorching, for 2 minutes to ensure that cornstarch is fully cooked (mixture will appear frothy when it first reaches boil, then will darken and thicken with further cooking). Transfer to large bowl and stir in lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, pick over remaining berries and measure out 2 pounds of most attractive ones; halve only extra-large berries. Add berries to bowl with glaze and fold gently with rubber spatula until berries are evenly coated. Scoop berries into pie shell, piling into mound. If any cut sides face up on top, turn them face down. If necessary, rearrange berries so that holes are filled and mound looks attractive. Refrigerate pie until chilled, about 2 hours. Serve within 5 hours of chilling.
- Make the Whipped Cream: Using an electric mixer, whisk together the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla on low speed until frothy and thick, then increase to medium speed and whip until thick, billowy, and stiff peaks form. Pipe onto pie or serve dolloped on top.
- Vodka in Pie Crust: Vodka is essential in this particular pie crust recipe and cannot be substituted with more water. If you do not have vodka, you can use another 80-proof liquor. If you prefer not to use liquor, try my all-butter pie crust.
- Pastry Crust Alternative: Use a graham cracker crust for a quicker, no-bake alternative. Freeze the crust for at least 15 minutes before filling.
- Pie Dish: I recommend the classic Pyrex 9-inch pie plate.
- Sure-Jell: This is a pectin-based gelling agent used for thickening fruit fillings or jams. Be sure to use the version in the pink box. Most grocery stores carry it near the canning supplies, or you can get it on Amazon.
This recipe was originally posted on June 14, 2011.