Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fresh Strawberry Pie

I'm so happy that local strawberries are finally available.  With a longer cool season that made its way till June, I thought I wouldn't see berries ripening or even happening this month.  But, it's here and that's what makes me rejoice!

As I mentioned before, I'm running out of strawberry jam stock so I really need to replenish it.  With the strawberries, I love the flavor of local strawberries over supermarket variety, especially the Hood variety.  It's my go-to strawberry to pick for making jam and when it's in season I have to act quick or they'd be gone.  Last Sunday I dragged my family to Beaverton area, precisely to Hoffman Farms, to help me pick strawberries.  I've gone to this farm for about 2 years in a row and I really like their fruits.

This year is the first year I've picked strawberries though.  I was expecting muddy field, but they've lined the path between the rows with straws so that we didn't have to muck around in the mud.  It rained the day before and it was kind of cloudy on the day, so we always expect the worse in this Oregon weather.

There are 4 types of strawberries available and we picked Hood, Albion and Sweet Sunrise.  Like I said the Hood was made into jam; I got 5 pints out of almost 5 pounds.  The Albion will be eaten fresh, and the slightly tart-more on sweet Sweet Sunrise was made into this fresh pie.  I was glad I picked this variety because it has character and it suited this pie.

I didn't plan ahead on making pie but as it happens, I had 2 homemade pie crusts sitting in the freezer.  So it's an impromptu dessert.  I used my favorite pie crust recipe, which was used in making this Sweet Potato Pie.  What I like about it is that it makes 3 crusts which is quite handy; I can make a double crust pie and a single crust pie right away.  I think it's time to make another batch so I'm ready for the next dessert day!

Anyway, as with a fresh fruit pie, it's a messy eating but it's deliciously out of the world.  We love serving a slice with whipped cream, and we don't mind if the pie looks lopsided or is too runny!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

Serves 8

1 recipe double-crust pie dough,  see this recipe

8 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
2/3 cup sugar or more depending on how tart the strawberries are (mine were sweet enough that I didn't need to add a lot of it)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated fresh orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
Milk for glaze
2 teaspoons sugar

Roll one disk of dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured counter, then fit it into a 9-inch pie plate, letting the excess dough hang over the edge; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll the other disk of dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured counter, then transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Toss strawberries and 2/3 cup of sugar in a large bowl.  Let sit for about 1 hour, tossing occasionally.

Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position; place a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 425F.

Drain the fruit thoroughly on a colander, reserving 1/4 cup of the juice.  In a large bowl, mix together the drained fruit, cornstarch, orange zest, vanilla extract and salt.  If the fruit tastes tart, add more sugar gradually until it suits your taste.

Dump the fruit into the dough-lined pie plate, mounding it slightly in the middle.  Cover the top with the second piece of dough.  Trim, fold and crimp the edges and cut 8 vent holes in the top.  Brush the crust with milk and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar.

Place the pie on the heated baking sheet and bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 375F, rotate the baking sheet, and continue to bake until the crust is golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes longer.  Let the pie cool on a wire rack until the filling has set, about 2 hours; serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Source: filling adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

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