Red, ripe, sweet strawberries are finally in season here and these fresh strawberry pies are one of my favorite ways to enjoy them. The berries get lightly sweetened by a glaze also made with fresh strawberries. Then they are piled high in a flaky, buttery crust and topped with some sweetened whipped cream. These strawberry pies are definitely worth waiting all year for.
I know that strawberries are available almost year round now but when I buy them outside of their natural growing season, I am always disappointed. The berries may be a beautiful shade of red on the outside but they aren’t really sweet and juicy like they should be. I’ll buy them in a pinch but I wait until the berries are at their best to make these strawberry pies. Because there are so few ingredients in the filling, the quality of the strawberries will make all the difference.
The mixture for the glaze will be cloudy when you first stir all the ingredients together. However once you cook it, the mixture will start to thicken and then become translucent. That’s when you know it’s done. Be sure to watch the mixture carefully and to stir often. You don’t want to over or undercook the glaze.
I decided to make these as individual sized mini-pies because I think it makes for a prettier presentation. You can certainly use the same recipe to make one 9-inch pie if you don’t have small tartlet pans. The slices will be a bit messy but it’s nothing some whipped cream won’t hide. And once you taste it, you won’t even care how it looks.
For the crust
- 1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 3–4 tablespoons ice water
For the filling
- 4 1/2 cups sliced fresh ripe strawberries, divided
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the crust
- In a food processor, blend together flour, sugar, butter, and salt just until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over the mixture and pulse in processor until incorporated.
- Squeeze a small handful together. If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, ½ tablespoon at a time, pulsing until just incorporated, then test again. I usually end up using 4 tablespoons of water.
- Gather dough together into a ball, then flatten into a ½-inch thick disk. Wrap dough in plastic and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
- Roll out dough into a large thin round on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Using a bowl or plate as a guide, cut out 3 7-inch circles. Transfer the rounds to 3 6-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms. Ease dough into the pans and pat firmly into the bottoms and up the sides of the pans. Trim off any excess dough by gently running a rolling pin across the top of each pan. Gather dough scraps and roll out another thin round large enough to cut out another 7-inch circle. Fit dough into fourth 6-inch tartlet pan, trimming any excess dough with the rolling pin again. Chill dough in tartlet pans until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove tartlet pans from the fridge and place on rimmed baking sheet. Dock the bottom of each pie crust with a fork. Line each tartlet pan with parchment paper making sure parchment paper is firmly pressed up against the bottom edge of crusts. Fill each pan with dried beans or pie weights. Blind bake pie crusts just until they begin to brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove parchment paper and weights. Continue to bake until the crusts are golden, 7 to 10 minutes more. Remove tartlet pans from oven and set on cooling rack. Allow crusts to cool completely before adding the filling.
For the filling
- Place 3 cups sliced strawberries in a bowl. Set aside.
- Place remaining 1 1/2 cups of sliced strawberries in a small saucepan. Mash the strawberries with a potato masher until strawberries are broken up and have released their juices. Add in cornstarch, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Heat strawberry mixture over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue cooking until mixture thickens and sauce is translucent, 1-2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Cool mixture about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Pour glaze over strawberries in bowl and gently mix until all the strawberries are evenly coated.
- Divide strawberry filling among the pie crusts. Whip the cream with the sugar until soft peaks form. Top each pie with a dollop of whipped cream and serve.
When fitting the dough into the tartlet pans, be careful not to press too much on the sides and make them too thin. If you find this happening, use kitchen scissors to trim excess dough to leave a 1/4-inch overhang. Fold overhang into the pan and press it against the pan to form slightly thickened sides.
Recipe for crust adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen.