fresh strawberry pie with shortbread crust

by amy on 20 May 2011

we went to a strawberry festival last weekend (it’s strawberry season in tennessee) + seeing pint after pint of local fresh strawberries, there was no way i could resist making a new strawberry recipe. this pie did not disappoint! the shortbread crust is rich without being heavy, while the filling is fresh + springy. the recipe called to make this into one 9” pie, but i opted to use mulitple mini cast iron skillets that i knew would give the pies a charming + quintessentially southern feel.

this pie is great by itself, with fresh lightly sweetened whipped cream, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. while dessert is traditionally a post-dinner activity, because this is so light + pretty, i think it would be wonderful as a sweet at a champagne brunch or bridal/baby shower. light, springy desserts are just so versatile, + this delicious pie is no exception!

and the adorable vintage tea towel with strawberries on it? a gift from the lovely heather over at life by the spoonful. thanks, heather – we love ‘em!

fresh strawberry pie with shortbread crust

makes about 8 servings, adapted from gourmet

ingredients

for crust: (amy’s note: this crust is delicious. when i make this again, i may double the crust ingredients to make a thicker, more prominent crust. it’s just to good not to!)
1 (5-ounce) package shortbread cookies
2 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

for filling:
2 pounds (1 1/2”) strawberries, hulled (see cooks’ note, below)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (2 1/4 teaspoons)

accompaniment:
lightly sweetened whipped cream

directions

make crust:
preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

pulse cookies in a food processor to fine crumbs, then pulse in sugar + butter until combined. press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom + up the sides of a 9” pie plate (* i used 2 mini cast iron skillets instead, which worked out wonderfully). bake until golden, about 15 minutes. transfer to a rack to cool.

prepare filling + assemble pie:
select 20 large strawberries as close to same size as possible + set aside. cut remaining berries into 1/4” dice + toss with sugar + lemon juice. let stand, stirring occasionally, 30 minutes. drain berries in a sieve set into a large glass measuring cup. add enough water to measure 2 cups. transfer liquid to a medium saucepan + reserve berries.

sprinkle gelatin over strawberry liquid + let soften 1 minute. bring to a bare simmer, stirring until gelatin has dissolved. add diced berries, then transfer to a metal bowl set into an ice bath + stir frequently until mixture begins to mound, 20 – 30 minutes.
spoon 1/2 cup filling into pie crust + arrange reserved whole berries, stem ends down, on filling. spoon remaining filling over + between berries. chill pie until filling is set, at least 4 hours.

cooks’ notes:
-pie crust can be made 2 days ahead + kept (covered once cool) at room temperature.
-filled pie can be chilled, loosely covered, up to 1 day.
-while not as dramatic as whole large berries, if you find juicy small berries, cut them into quarters or halves. it may take longer for mixture to set, but pie will taste just as good.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jessica May 20, 2011 at 10:37 am

mmmm, strawberry pie …. always reminds me of springtime. they look wonderful in the cast iron skillets, by the way. very cute idea!

2 amy May 20, 2011 at 10:40 am

thank you! i should really give credit to my friend erin over at http://www.oneparticularkitchen.com – she uses cast iron skillets for all sorts of dishes + that’s what inspired me to use ‘em here. =)

3 Heather May 20, 2011 at 10:41 am

Oooh glad you love the towels! I thought they would be right up your ally :) (& they make for great backrounds in photos too!) I’ve never had strawberry pie but those look divine!

4 amy May 20, 2011 at 11:36 am

the pie is actually really easy to make, although it has quite a few steps that make it fairly time-consuming. it’s great for spring + summer picnics, barbeques, cookouts, etc. you should try it!

5 tracey May 20, 2011 at 12:03 pm

what a great recipe and photo.this looks delicious and totally screams SUMMER.

6 amy May 20, 2011 at 1:36 pm

doesn’t it though? if a strawberry pie doesn’t scream ‘warm weather,’ then i don’t know what does!

7 Vivek May 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Uh, I’ll take one, please!!

8 amy May 20, 2011 at 8:30 pm

we can easily make that happen. trade? lamb merguez for a strawberry pie or two? we’d also take your cauliflower soup, home-cured bacon, indian-spiced chickpeas… the list goes on and on!

9 Vivek May 21, 2011 at 12:36 am

Hahah! I’m testing out a tandoori chicken sausage next week. You may have to come by for a tasting!

10 amy May 21, 2011 at 7:53 am

count me in!

11 Lesley Eats May 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I’ll drop off my skillet later today so you can make one of these for me. :)

12 amy May 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm

i’ll gladly make a pie for you any day!

13 Lindsay May 27, 2011 at 1:58 pm

YUM! Just found your blog through a friend. I live in Nashville, too! Did you go to a strawberry festival in West TN, by chance?

14 amy May 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm

nice to meet you, lindsay! the strawberry festival was a little one in sylvan park. super cute, lots of local vendors. i can’t wait to check out your blog more – just took a peek + it looks fab!

15 Lauren June 6, 2011 at 12:13 pm

This looks AMAZING!

16 amy June 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm

it is really the perfect summer dessert, in my humble opinion. let me know what you think of it if you try it! =)

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