Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Strawberry Pie! aka, I picked 4 gallons of strawberries yesterday

I LOVE this time of the year.  It is just the perfect temperature to throw on some shorts, go outside, and pick a million strawberries. Well, when the sun is behind some clouds that is.  For years now I have been going to a localish farm, Lineberger's Maple Springs Farm, in Dallas, NC.  It is maybe 20-30 minutes from my house.  The only issue is peak strawberry time is right around the same time as Aidan's birthday.  Puts a bit of a bummer on getting tons because I never have any time to use them all!  This year V is in school three days, so I actually have some time to accomplish recipes!! Yesterday I put the girl to work and we picked 4 gallons. (Please note that by me saying I put her to work and we picked 4 gallons means: I picked 4 gallons and she stole all my berries out of my basket and placed them in hers.  Then she ate them.  Only a few though.  I was on berry to mouth watch)

I always do strawberry vanilla jam and strawberry muffins, but this year I wanted to try something else. Mainly because I had a pie crust sitting in my fridge begging to be used. Enter...the strawberry pie.  I found a few recipes and tweaked them it a bit.  
ONE: I felt the sugar content was crazy high for most recipes considering the strawberries were insanely sweet on their own 
TWO: I felt lazy and didn't want to make a crust since there was one already in my fridge
THREE: Buying a pouch of glaze sounds gross and wrong so I wanted to make my own.  Those pouches just look WEIRD at the store.

So, I just pulled ideas from here and there and got this:

  • Pie Crust (I used one of those pre-made refrigerated ones)
  • 5 cups of strawberries cleaned, and quartered  (might increase to 6 cups next time to really fill the shell) For me with the hulling aspect, I just cut the top off and quarter.  I don't get all fancy trying to cut the stem off and "hull" it out. I am a mom of 3.  When I process strawberries I need FAST, not fancy. The straw method seems like it might work, but I haven't done it for fear of "different" and the kids not eating them.
  • 1/2 sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp salt 
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tbsp lemon juice
  • Whipped cream for garnish-optional
  1. Bake pie shell according to box and set aside to cool completely. I tried to get all fancy with the edges, but yeah. It didn't happen as you can see. While the shell bakes, begin the glaze. 
  2. In a medium saucepan add 2 cups of the cut strawberries.  You want to mush the strawberries down so they are pretty crushed. To the mush add: sugar, cornstarch, salt, vanilla, and lemon juice. 
  3. Heat this over medium and stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves.When stirring really get in there and scrape the bottom and sides of the pan. It will start gelling up there first.  You do not want it to burn!  Once it is all together and gelling (roughly 5 minutes for me), remove from heat to cool.
  4. While that is cooling, cut the remaining strawberries.  Stir the glaze every now and again to help the steam escape.  Does it help with the cooling time? Not sure. Just made me feel like it did.
  5.  Once the glaze is completely cooled, add the remaining 3 cups of strawberries to the glaze and mix it up.  I really got in there with a spatula and made sure it was all covered.
  6. Pour strawberry mixture into the cooled shell and take the pie into some natural lighting so you can get a good picture to share to Instagram to make your friends drool, then cover it and put it in the fridge to cool for a few hours.
  7. Use whipped cream on the to if you want to.  I went fancy and used Redi-Whip in a can.  

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