In my families’ treasured recipes box, I came across two recipes for a strawberry pie. One is on a piece of paper that has my Mom’s handwriting and another one on a recipe card from the kitchen of my Aunt Dorothy. They both are quite similar or so I can tell – they have weathered with time. Let me take a moment to explain the recipe(s) that these ladies used. Ingredient amounts are just a suggestion and at best you might get an estimate. Technique – you may get some tidbits – as the crow flies. As I am pondering the various ingredient amounts to use and a technique to use, I am wondering – did these ladies truly create Chatty Gourmet? As recipes are passed from friend to friend with “suggested” amounts and a lack of technique, did they know what to do or did they call each other? Quite a few probably knew exactly what to do, but perhaps they wrote these recipes with the goal of a needed phone call to get it right – a chat in the kitchen. With that in mind, I called my Aunt Dorothy (my Mom has passed on). She explained the various techniques that they used. She was baking a chocolate cake in her kitchen and I was prepping the strawberries for my pie in my kitchen. We chatted for quite a while about various interests, most of them not about food, but just a chat in the kitchen – really. So, in my opinion they created Chatty Gourmet without knowing it. My Mom and my Aunt Dorothy always use a homemade pie crust, but I chose to use a premade one. Use your favorite or use my mother’s recipe Maggie’s Pie Crust. Follow the steps below for a perfect strawberry pie that was created from a recent “chat in the kitchen” based upon a chat from the past. See some other options under Chatty Advice.
1 premade pie crust or 1 crust from Maggie’s Pie Crust recipe
4 cups of fresh strawberries hulled and sliced, divided
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Mold pie curst into 9 inch pie pan and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes. In a medium bowl add two cups of the strawberries and the lemon juice and set aside. In a large pot add the water and sugar and bring to a boil, whisking often. Make a thickening agent by whisking the cornstarch and water in a separate bowl. Gradually whisk into boiling sugar water mixture. This will become thick quickly. Add the remaining 2 cups of strawberries and mash to release the juice of the strawberries, but maintaining some integrity to the berry. Because of the heat, it will not need a lot of mashing. Let cool for about 10 – 15 minutes. Add the fresh strawberries to the pie crust and pour the mashed strawberries over the strawberries. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve as is or with a whipped cream as shown.
Whip cream in a medium, bowl with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add sugar and vanilla and mix for a minute longer. Do not over mix. Serve pie with a dollop of whipped cream.
Tidbits from Aunt Dorothy; the reason for mashing part of the strawberries is to create a strawberry juice that will enhance the flavor of the pie. Her sister creates a different type of strawberry pie that has fresh strawberries with strawberry Jello poured over the top. Also, frozen strawberries thawed can be used, but fresh is best. In my recollection, I believe one of my Aunts used fresh strawberries from her garden and used a plain gelatine as the thickening agent. She has passed on, so I am not able to ask her. I believe that these ladies used several techniques, based on what they had on hand; fresh strawberries from the garden that didn’t need any help and purchased strawberries or frozen strawberries that did need some help to enhance their flavor.
When I was pondering a technique to make this pie, I was planning on using plain gelatine for my thickening agent and not cooking the strawberries at all. The strawberries that I have are grown in Texas, are organic and taste wonderful! You may see that one up soon in the form of a second strawberry pie or a tart. That is if it works out.