The pickle man

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Louisiana Strawberry Pie

It's been a while since I posted... we've been a little busy with someone's first birthday around here!
But more about that later.

First, because strawberry season is so lamentably brief, I wanted to post my strawberry pie recipe.

This is definitely my favorite pie (well, that or the chocolate angel mousse pie...) BUT I can definitely say it is my favorite fruit pie.

And the fruit... I went by Sal Petitto's strawberry farm earlier today and picked up these beauties:
Isn't that amazing?
I could eat the whole flat... but they are even better when reincarnated as PIE.

So, you start with 3 pints (no skimping!)  Which means in my house, I started with 4 pints because I have a helper who likes to snack on the produce:
He came by this habit naturally.

Slice the tops off of the 3 pints and put the (prettier) half into a pre-baked, cooled pie shell.  I cut mine in half for a more realistic "bite-sized" berry, but whole is fine, too.

A note on pie shells:  for years, I've been perfectly happy with the pie crusts that come in the red box (Pillsbury).  I do like to roll out my own, but I was OK with the pre-made stuff.  But then, I got ambitious.  And I made a lot of really bad pie dough.

And then I found this:

Her directions are amazing.  And it works!  Flaky pie dough!

Apparently, I was mashing up my butter too much.  You are supposed to have really big bits.
But any cooled pre-baked pie shell will work - it's the strawberries that steal the show!

Anyway, take your subpar berries (slightly squished, not quite ripe - whatever isn't absolute perfection), slice them up, and put them in a saucepan.
Add 1 cup of sugar and the juice of one medium sized lemon.  Cook until bubbling and "growing" - it will make your kitchen smell like amazing strawberry jam (and may have inspired me to try that next).

THEN in a small bowl, combine 2 1/2 Tablespoons corn starch and 2 tablespoons COLD water.  Stir until you have a paste.  Pour the paste into the bubbling strawberries.  This will prevent your cornstarch from forming unsightly lumps.

Simmer for 2-3 minutes, until the mixture is clear and jelly-like.
Pour the hot mixture over the berries in the shell.
Chill for an hour or so (longer is fine).

And when you are ready to serve (or deliver to a friend!), whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream on high, adding 1 Tablespoon of sugar toward the end. (You don't want the cream to be too sweet or it will overpower the berries.)  Top the pie with the whipped cream...
and serve! (Here, on a lovely styrofoam plate, to go to Michael's grandmother).

Condensed recipe (adapted from Cotton Country, originally by Mrs. Bishop Johnston III - we're related, so I hope she doesn't mind me stealing and adapting her recipe)

3 pints fresh strawberries
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup sugar
1-2 tsp lemon juice (fresh!)
1 cup cream, whipped, with 1 Tbs sugar
1 pie shell, baked

Line a baked pastry shell with 1/2 of the fresh strawberries.  Chop the rest and simmer with sugar and lemon juice for 8-10 minutes.  Combine cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons cold water.  Add to the mixture.  Cook until thickened and clear.  Pour over the berries in shell and chill in the refrigerator.  Top with sweetened whipped cream.

(Michael's Aunt Connie makes an almost identical pie BUT Aunt Connie adds 1/4 tsp of almond extract to her bubbling berries.  I tried it and was not a fan, but my mother-in-law says it is not the same without it... you decide!)

OH and if you have leftover pie dough, roll it out, smear some butter on it, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and slice into yummy little cookies
Bake at 375 until the pastry is brown.  These are the raw ones.  The cooked ones didn't hang out long enough to be photographed.


  1. Looks great! I bed Mamaw loved it.

  2. Katherine,

    Hey, it's Michaels friend, Todd. I've got to tell you, this blog is better than watching the Food Network. Everything you cook, I would eat. Ha! Please keep blogging. And keep on posting pie recipes - I love pie (from strawberry to chicken pot pie).


  3. I may have just drooled onto the keyboard. So sad that I don't have any Sal's berries here - wonder if my mom could grab some before she comes next week? Then it'll be time for - gasp! - Ruston peaches...