Here’s another great recipe from Ken Haedrich’s PIE (pg 140-1).
As I’ve said elsewhere, there are those who think that strawberries are, for the most part, unsuitable for pies because they bake so soft. I say nonsense. Sure, they cook up soft, but so do many other fruits. Just because strawberries don’t stay firm doesn’t mean you should eliminate them from your pie repertoire. Like so many other fresh fruit pies, I tend to make this one only during local berry season. I like to add some form of mint to the mix, since the two share harvest times and taste so good together. Minced fresh mint is fine, although it tends to turn a little dark in baking, which many be somewhat unappealing if you’re serving the pie to guests. Instead, you might consider a drop or two of mint oil, or, as I use here, white crème de menthe. Along with the nutmeg, it adds a soft flavor to the fruit that everyone seems to like.
Yield: 8-10 servings
1 pie crust recipe, here
4 cups hulled and thickly sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon white crème de menthe (optional, see note above)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
milk or light cream
1. Prepare pastry dough and refrigerate till firm enough to roll out, about 1 hour.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll the larger portion of the pastry into a 12-inch circle with a floured rolling pin. Line a 9-inch pie pan, leaving the overhang. Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
3. Put the strawberries in a large bowl. Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl, then add the mixture to the fruit and toss well. Add the crème de menthe (if using), lemon juice, and nutmeg and toss again. Set aside for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
4. Roll out the other half of the pastry on a lightly floured surface into an 11-inch circle. Turn the filling into the chilled pie shell and smooth the fruit with a spoon. Dot top with the butter. Lightly moisten the rim of the pie shell. Invert the top pastry over the filling, center, and peel off the paper. Press the top and bottom pastries together along the dampen edge. Trim the pastry with scissors or a paring knife, leaving an even 1/2-inch overhang all around, then sculpt the overhang into an upstanding ridge. Poke several steam vents in the top of the pie with a fork or pairing knife. Put a couple of the vents near the edge of the crust so you can check the juices there later. Sprinkle the top crust evenly with sugar, then with milk.
5. Place the pie on a baking sheet to catch any dripping juice during baking. Place the pie on the center rack and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and rotate the pie 180 degrees. Bake until the juices bubble thickly at the steam vents and the top is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. If the top of the pie starts to get too dark cover it loosely with tented aluminum foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes.
6. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool for at least 2 hours to let the juices settle and firm up before serving.