Tag Archives: pie crust

Late to the Pi Party

Those who live in colder climes tend to think of strawberries as a sign of summer. Living in Florida means finding local strawberries from December to April, and we are peaking right about now. Oh, yeah. Spring is in the air and strawberries are everywhere. Aren’t we lucky?

One of the first pies I made when I started this project was a Strawberry Icebox Pie. It was delicious. As of late, I’ve been itching to make a baked strawberry pie. I thought it would be the perfect pie for Pi Day, which was March 14. As you can see, I am late to the Pi party. All I can say is that it’s not easy to bake a pie after work in the middle of the week. Pies take time. No one likes to feel rushed. Pie should not make you cry.

I can say that it was worth the delay. This is one of my favorite pies I’ve made. My best pastry, yet, no doubt. The key to a tasty and flaky pastry is letting the dough rest for at least an hour before rolling and keeping it cool while working it. Don’t rush it and never let it get too soft. I put it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes after rolling, after pressing it into the pan, and after crimping. After finishing the top crust, I put the pie in the freezer for a few minutes to let it firm up before sticking it in the hot oven. It’s the little things that make a difference.

I just used a standard fruit pie recipe. You can use any berries, stone, or hard fruit, really. A little lemon juice and nutmeg really bring out the flavor of the fruit without overpowering. Use more or less fruit depending if you want a smaller or taller pie. Feel free to add another ¼-½ cup of sugar, or brown sugar, if you like it sweeter or if the berries are too tart. If the filling looks too juicy after stirring, add 1-2 tbs cornstarch to thicken it a bit. I also recommend placing a cookie sheet or a spill-mat beneath the pie to catch any drips.

Baked Strawberry Pie

4-6 cups (2-3 quarts) fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
½ cup sugar
¼ cup tapioca or flour
pinch salt
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp grated nutmeg
3 tbs cold butter, cut into bits

2 9-inch prepared pie pastries

Preheat oven to 425°.

Press one pie pastry into 9-inch pie plate. Place pastry in freezer while you prepare the filling.

In a large bowl, toss sliced strawberries with sugar, tapioca or flour, salt, lemon juice, and nutmeg. If strawberry mixture is too juicy, add 1-2 tbs cornstarch.

Spoon into prepared pie pastry. Pour juice over top and dot with butter. Top with remaining pie pastry. Crimp edges and vent as desired.

Bake on lowest rack for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°, move pie to middle rack and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes, until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown. (I used a pie crust shield for the last 10 minutes to keep the edges from becoming too brown.)

Cool on wire rack. Serve warm with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Time for pretty pie pictures.

Florida strawberries pose for a still life

The ingredient lineup

Hull and slice 2-3 quarts of fresh strawberries

Pour some sugar on those berries

Now pour some tapioca on there

A little freshly grated nutmeg mingles nicely with the fruit

Freshly squeezed lemon juice complements the sweet berries

Gently spoon the berries into the prepared pie pastry

Dot with butter before adding your top crust

My pie talks nerdy to me

Pretty and delicious. The baked strawberry pie is a new favorite

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You Can Have Cookies for Crust

The topic of pies came up the other night while sharing beers with friends. (I know, right? How random. Pie.) And someone mentioned they don’t like pastry pie crust, but they do like cookie crusts. I started thinking about all of the cookies I could use for crusts. Mmm…. Cookies.

I made an Oreo crust for the Grasshopper Pie. And a— wait a minute. Oh my! Look at all of these OREO pie recipes!! I’m so easily distracted by pie and recipes….

I’ll have to check that out later because I want to talk about how easy cookie crusts really are. Plus they are delicious. Graham crackers are the classic. I think my sister uses some kind of almond cookie for her awesome cheesecake, and that would make a delicious pie crust, too. I used a package of Pepperidge Farms shortbread cookies for a Mandarin Orange Cheesecake Pie (recipe TK!) a few weeks ago, and that was darn tasty.

I noticed that a lot of the older cookbooks recommend Zweibacks as a cookie to crumble for a crust. Man, I loved those teething biscuits. Seriously. Crunchy goodness. Sounds kind of odd for a crumb crust, though. Maybe it’s just me.

A few cookies I recommend are Anna’s Thins (any flavor, but ginger rocks), LU’s le Petit Beurres, and, most importantly, Jules Destrooper‘s Almond Thins or Butter Crumbles. Yumness right there.

The basic recipe is about 2 cups of cookie crumbs and 2-4 tbs butter, melted. You may need more butter if the crumbs feel too dry. Depending on the size of the cookie an your pie plate, you may use 12-24 cookies. You can either use a food processor, or put the cookies in a Ziploc bag and smack the heck out of them with a rolling pin. That’s how I like to do it. With a rolling pin. Trust me.

Mix the crumbs and melted butter together and press into a pie plate.  You can cover with plastic wrap and press a smaller pie plate into the crust to get it even. Or you can use the bottom of a glass to do the same thing. Just make sure that you press the crumbs evenly on the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes in a preheated 350° oven and let cool on a wire rack before filling. There’s your crust.

I have seen recipes, like this one for Nabisco’s FAMOUS® Chocolate Wafer crust, that add sugar to the crumbs and butter. More sugar? I don’t think it’s necessary.  (So I have to point this out, but does Nabisco own the rights to shouting “FAMOUS!!” or just the word FAMOUS in all caps? Weird. Oh, shit! I probably owe them money now.)

That’s pretty much it. Go ahead and have yo’ cookie crust!

Any questions?