FRESH STRAWBERRY PIE

For the glaze to be the right consistency, you must start with 1 ¼ cups of strawberry puree. Varying that amount will yield glaze that is either too thick or too thin. Likewise, 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. 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 a softly whipped cream.

2 quarts fresh strawberries, washed and hulled;

One quart halved (4 cups); remaining quart sliced lengthwise into 4 or 5 slices (4 cups)

1 cup sugar

1 T. powdered pectin for lower sugar recipes (such as SureJell)

Pinch of salt

3 T. cornstarch

Pinch of ground cinnamon

2 T. juice from one lemon

¼ tsp. vanilla extract

1 prebaked 9-inch pie shell

  1. Puree 1 pint (2 cups) halved berries in blender or food processor workbowl fitted with steel blade, scraping down sides as necessary, until smooth. (You should have 1 ¼ cups; spoon off any extra).
  2. Bring puree, sugar, pectin, and a pinch of 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.
  3. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch and ¼ cup cold water in a 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.
  4. Off heat, stir in cinnamon, lemon juice, and vanilla. Transfer glaze, reserving ¼ cup for topping, into large bowl; cool to room temperature, at least 15 minutes.
  5. 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.
  6. Place remaining berry halves in concentric circles, flat side down and pointed ends toward center, starting at center and working toward outer edge. Stir 2 T. water into reserved ¼ cup glaze to thin; brush over berry halves to finish pie.
  7. Refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours and up to 6. Serve.
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