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Fresh Strawberry Pie

If there is one dessert that screams summer, it is a delicious fresh fruit pie. Top it with some vanilla ice cream and you are good to go. The best thing about pie is you are usually surrounded by friends and family when you are slicing into one. Pie brings everyone together! In my case my grandparents were in town from Florida and we had a great couple of weeks together. My grandfather requested key lime pie last week (check out my previous posts for the recipe) and this one was grandma's flavor of choice. I think she had strawberries on the mind as we just visited a strawberry festival the previous weekend together. We had a berry good time I must say! I got a little fancy with the crust as you can see. If you don't have the time you can certainly bypass that step (and simplify things even further by picking up some store bought pie crusts).

For Crust (if not ready made) -

3-1/2 cups flour

3 TB sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks cold unsalted butter

1 egg

1/4 cup cold water

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.

2. Chop the butter into small cubes and blend it into the flour using a fork (or your hands) until it is evenly crumbly throughout.

3. Add the egg and mix by hand until combined. Gradually add the cold water until dough comes together and forms a ball.

4. Divide dough in half. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5. While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling.

For Filling -

6 cups strawberries (1 cup mashed, 5 cups chopped - about 3 pints)

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 TB butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 egg + 1 teaspoon water (for egg wash)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Add 1 cup mashed strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, butter, vanilla and cinnamon to a pot on the stove.

3. Simmer a few minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the strawberries begin to thicken.

4. In a large bowl, toss remaining 5 cups of strawberries with lemon juice. Once the mashed strawberry mixture is ready, remove it from the stove and toss it with the chopped strawberries. Set aside.

5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll out the first ball into a large circle. Press down the dough into a 9 inch pie plate and trim the edges to fit. Poke several holes in the bottom with a fork so it doesn't bubble during baking.

6. Bake the crust for 15 minutes and remove from oven. Roll out the second ball of dough to form a large circle once again. Using a small cookie cutter, cut out alternating rows of hearts. Save all of the cut out hearts for the crust! Roll this dough circle up like you would a roll of wrapping paper. It is very fragile and the heart shapes will tear if you try and lift it.

7. Pour the filling over the pie crust. Unroll the top layer of crust over your filling and trim the edges as needed. Place the heart cut outs around the edge of the pie as tightly together as possible - they will shrink when baked so really squeeze them pretty close.

8. Whisk the egg and water in a small dish. Brush the egg wash over the top of the crust and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 30 - 40 minutes until the crust begins to brown.

9. Let cool about 15 minutes. Refrigerate at least 4 hours to set before serving.

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