Saturday, January 26, 2008

Strawberry Pie

The 7-month strawberry season is one of the absolute best things about living in Florida. This afternoon, I bought my berries from an old guy with no teeth selling out of his van by the side of the road.

This was also my first attempt at homemade piecrust. I think it turned out quite well. The crust was a tad underdone (my oven and I don't have the greatest relationship and I get skittish when baking delicate things). It was also thin in spots, probably because I was using a 9-inch recipe in a 9.5-inch pie pan. But the end result was entirely respectable.

For the crust:
1.5 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3-5 tbs cold water

Mix the flour and salt together, then cut in the shortening with a pastry blender. Add the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed. Shape into a 1-inch thick disk. Roll out on a floured surface until 1/8-inch thick and about 2 inches wider in diameter than the mouth of the pie pan. Press into pie pan, trim and crimp the overhanging edges, prick all over with a fork, line with foil and fill with dry rice. (All my baking books talk about "pie weights" but I've not yet been able to prove the existence of any such thing.) Bake at 425 degrees for 4 minutes, remove the foil (and weighty material), and bake for another 8-12 minutes until dry and light brown. I think I baked mine for the full 10 minutes and it was still underdone, but I already mentioned my ongoing feud with the oven.

For the filling:
2 pints strawberries
3 tbs cornstarch
1 cup sugar
2 tbs lemon juice

Clean, hull, and halve the strawberries. Mash half of them and mix with the cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened and translucent. (I took the "low heat" recommendation a little too seriously and my berries did absolutely nothing for about 20 minutes. Once I turned the heat up a bit it came along fine.) Let it cool a bit, then stir in the rest of the strawberries and pour into the baked crust.

For the topping:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbs powdered sugar

Whip the cream and sugar together and spread over the pie. Refrigerate the finished pie when not serving.

Yay, pie!

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