When the summer sun is warm and high,
I start to think of strawberry pie.
With ruby gel and berries, too,
It’s bound to be a hit to you.
So give this sweet dessert a try,
And smile up to the summer sky. 🙂
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
Sweet Strawberry Pie
1 blind baked pie crust (more in this in a moment)
6-8 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/3 cup white sugar
2 cups water
8 tbsp. strawberry or cherry gelatin
8 tbsp. cornstarch
Whipped Cream, optional
Blind bake a single pie crust in a 9.5” deep pie plate by pricking crust and baking with pie weights or dry beans and parchment paper. To make strawberry filling, start by mixing your water and cornstarch together in a separate bowl to make a milky substance, then add this to your sugar, water, and gelatin in a large saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally. When the mixture has thickened to the point where it leaves a “line” in the pan when you whisk it, remove from heat and let it sit until cooled slightly. When the mixture is no longer hot (slightly warm is Ok), mix in your strawberries and fold gently to coat. Place strawberry mixture into your finished crust and chill, covered, until ready to serve. Top with whipped cream when serving, if desired.
Now, in pictures! ?
There is something so deliriously delicious about the first, sweet strawberries of summertime. They taste so sweet and beautiful– just bursting with life, as if they somehow found a way to store up the sunshine and present it in edible form. Even their smell is intoxicating. And there is no better way to enjoy their delicious ruby glory than through a fresh strawberry pie, loaded up with billowing mounds of whipped cream and a gorgeous, flaky crust.
The first step to making this gorgeous, bejeweled pie is blind baking your crust. Blind baking just means that you are baking a pie with nothing in it! Talk about low calorie. 😉 You can use a bought pie crust, or you can make your own. This is the recipe that I use. Roll out your pie crust and place it into a 9.5 inch deep pie plate. A beautiful blue stars and stripes pie plate looks awesome with this red pie for Memorial Day or 4th of July! 🙂
Trim the crust and lightly tuck under the ends so that you have a smooth edge. Then decorate your crust, if you want to. I love the “spoon” method. It’s so easy and looks super cute when it’s done.
Use a fork to lightly prick the pick crust along the bottom and sides. This just keeps huge air bubbles from forming while the pie is baking. And who likes air bubbles? Not me. Well, unless they are on pizza. They I love them.
Now this is interesting. Did you know that you can “blind bake” with any kind of dried beans? And you can also use the beans again and again. These pinto beans have baked many a “blind pie” for me. (*Cue song “Three Blind Beans. Er, mice.”) Just take a piece of parchment paper and press it gently up against the sides of your crust. Fill with beans, and then bake the crust at 375 for about 20 minutes, until the sides are set. Dump the beans into a heat safe bowl to cool down, and then bake the empty but stabilized crust for another 5-10 minutes, just until the bottom looks dry. And that’s all there is to it.
While the crust is blind baking, let’s get started on our strawberry filling. This recipe becomes magically “gelatin-esque” (is that a word?) because of the beauty of cornstarch. Cornstarch is one of the meanest ingredients in the kitchen. It doesn’t like to play with other ingredients on the playground, and it’s ridiculously messy to work with. But it WORKS. Start out by mixing your cornstarch with a little bit of the water, just until it makes a milky substance. Stir this into the rest of the water, gelatin, and sugar and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Use a whisk as you go to make sure the cornstarch isn’t clumping up along the bottom.
Eventually in your whisking efforts, you will start to see that you’re leaving a line on the bottom of the pan. That’s just what we want. When you see the line, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool down slightly.
While the gelatin mixture is cooling and your blind baked crust is also cooling, go ahead and wash and prepare your strawberries. You can do this any way you like, but I just “beaheaded” them (“Good grief! First you execute blind beans in a fiery furnace and now you behead poor little strawberries! You are DESPICABLE!!!”) and then chopped them into large pieces. *gasps of horror. haha.
When your gel has cooled to warm (should not be hot), go ahead and mix in your strawberry chunks. When the berries are all coated with the deeeeelicious red gel, scrape that whole ‘shebang gently into your baked and cooled pie shell. Use a spatula to gently press the strawberry mixture into the sides of the pie shell and smooth the top. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours, until everything is chilled completely.
When your pie has sufficiently “chilled out,” go ahead and decorate the top. You can use cool whip if you like, or make some real whipped cream. Either way is fine. Dollop a generous amount on top of the pie and swirl it nice and pretty like you are a professional cake decorator. Pretend you’re on TV and say “Thereeeee we go. Nice and smooth. Now you’re getting it.”
Garnish the top with a mint leaf and get ready to WOW your guests.
Because seriously. At a Memorial Day picnic, what could be more beautiful and patriotic than a gorgeous ruby red pie topped with billowing white cream and sporting a flashy blue and white star base? I mean, are you a patriotic GODDESS? Come on.
But as beautiful as this pie is, it tastes even better than it looks. So dish up plates of this beauty and pass them around to friends and family. And then just chuckle to yourself, because every time you serve this pie, an amazing thing will happen. The chatter will slowly die out, as the plates are passed, until all you hear is silence and the sound of forks scraping empty plates. I’m telling you. It’s a phenomenon I observe every time we have this pie.
And honestly, I can see why. Glorious, local strawberries bursting with flavor, covered with clouds of billowing whipped cream and a sweet gelatin base. A warm summer day, a beautiful porch, and wonderful conversation with friends. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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