SUMMER STRAWBERRY PIE
Make strawberry pie only when strawberries are at their peak in late June and early July, and use smaller, local strawberries if possible. The presentation of whole strawberries is absolute proof that summer has arrived. This is a dessert that may be made in the morning (it needs a couple of hours to chill) and must be served in the afternoon. Once the gelatin sets, dig in right away! The pie crust may be baked off and cooled a day in advance. A refreshing early summer treat, the color alone makes the mouth water.
Nota bene: Make certain the type of gelatin used is for low sugar recipes, or the pie will be watery and fail to set correctly.
3 pounds fresh strawberries, gently rinsed, dried, and hulled
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons Sure-Jell for low-sugar recipes (pink box)
Generous pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
CHRISTOPHER KIMBALL'S FOOLPROOF PIE DOUGH
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka, cold
1/4 cup cold water
FOR THE FILLING
1. Select 6 ounces misshapen, underripe, or otherwise unattractive berries, halving those that are large; you should have about 1 ½ cups. In a food processor, process berries to smooth puree, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. You should have about ¾ cup puree.
2. 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.
3. 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.
FOR THE PIE SHELL
1. Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds, and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade. Add remaining cup flour and pulse until mixture is evenly distributed around bowl and mass of dough has been broken up, 4 to 6 quick pulses. Empty mixture into medium bowl.
2. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together. Divide dough into two even balls and flatten each into 4-inch disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up until 2 days.
3. On a lightly floured counter, roll out one disk into a 1/8" thick circle.
4. Transfer the dough to a pie plate, leaving about an extra half inch hanging over the edge. Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is even with the rim.
5. Place the prepared crust in the freezer for 30 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
7. Remove the pie crust from the freezer and place it on a half sheet baking pan. Line the crust with a piece of parchment paper and evenly distribute pie weights on top of the parchment and around the bottom all the way to the edges.
8. Place in the oven for about 12 minutes, or until the crust is just starting to turn a golden brown.
9. Remove the crust from the oven and gather the corners of the parchment paper and lift off the crust.
10. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. and return the crust to the oven and continue baking for about 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the pie crust is dry and golden (it may bubble a bit, but will deflate when cooled).