Mile High Strawberry Pie

Mile High Strawberry Pie is best when strawberries are at their peak in late June and early July. Smaller bite-sized, local strawberries are dreamy. Lose yourself in a “Pick-Your-Own” strawberry field and experience the sweet fragrance lost in berries that travel from coast to coast. After all, as a member of the rose family, it is no wonder we are drawn into the perfume of berry bliss. The presentation of whole, from-a-farm-nearby strawberries is absolute proof that summer has arrived. On average, each strawberry has 200 seeds and Americans devour about 3.4 pounds of this luscious fruit every year. A bowl piled high with freshly whipped sweetened cream adds summer celebratory decadence. A refreshing early summer treat, the ruby red color alone makes the mouth water.

Advice from a Strawberry Ilan Shamir

Blossom where you’re planted
Be Tasteful
Drink in the Sunshine
Keep Close to the earth
Savor life’s sweetness
Let good ideas ripen
Jam with your friends!

Kitchen Notes

Use only small berries. The pie crust may be baked off a day in advance. Freeze the remaining pie dough disc for up to one month. The pie may be made in 8" or 9" pie plate. If using a 9" pie plate, add an additional cup of berries for height (no need to adjust the amount of gel puree). To make sweetened cream, simply whip 1 pint of heavy cream in the bowl of a food processor until it has the desired consistency. Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and confectioner's sugar to taste.

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INGREDIENTS

FILLING

3 pounds fresh strawberries, gently rinsed, dried, and hulled

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 teaspoons Sure-Jell

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

 

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Add 6 ounces (1.5 cups) misshapen, underripe, or otherwise less than perfect berries to the bowl of a food processor, and whir into a smooth puree. If necessary, blend a few more strawberries until there is 3/4 cup puree.

2. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, Sure-Jell, and salt in medium saucepan. With a rubber spatula, stir in berry pure. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly and bring to full boil. Turn down the mixture to medium heat and continually scrape the 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 the smaller berries (discard any large ones or halve them). 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). 

serves 8

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