Springtime weather is FINALLY just around the corner! Thankfully! And during the winter of 2014, the South has certainly experienced some very bi-polar weather!! 74 degrees one day…24 degrees the next. Rain & thunder showers…followed up with 3 inches of snow & ice!!! So tiring. So long. So…OVER.
When I went to the grocery store this week and saw some Florida Strawberries staring back at me with their deep, beautiful red color & fruity, sweet smell…I knew Spring was finally upon us!! And Spring for me always starts with strawberries! I then decided that I’m going to celebrate this Spring arrival! And no better way to celebrate than with an updated, old-fashioned strawberry pie! YES!
For those that didn’t already know, I come from really long line of family that are really, really good southern cooks. In fact…they even have a cookbook of just a FEW of their recipes! It’s one of the things I cherish more than anything! So, the homemade pie crust I use and file away into the recipe category of “don’t fix what isn’t broken”, is one from my Great Aunt Inez. She was born in the early 1900’s and lived to be in her 90’s. I’d say that gives her enough experience in cooking pies! And this one proves it.
Now…to get started. The first thing I do is get that crust formed! The ONLY thing I do different than Aunt Inez is make sure every single ingredient to be used in the crust is very cold! Including the bowl! So refrigerate everything for about an hour before you get started. First you will need to cut the Crisco shortening & salt into the flour (I use White Lily, of course). You can either use your fingertips, a pastry cutter or 2 knives. Whatever will work best to get the mixture looking like pea-size pieces. Don’t over work this dough because you don’t want the shortening to melt! Next whisk together the egg, vinegar & cold water. Gradually add this mixture to the flour until it is incorporated. When the dough looks all mixed and can be formed into a ball…it’s ready! Here you will want to divide the dough into 3, 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch discs. Wrap them up in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
Sorry no pics of the dough mixture…my hands were covered in flour & shortening. **Note to self…buy a pastry cutter. Soon. Like yesterday.***And another note…if you don’t want to make a homemade crust…you can easily buy one already made. Not the frozen ones. In fact, just buy a Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust. Because they are the best.
While that dough is refrigerating…get your strawberries cut and mixed with the other ingredients. Cut them in halves or quarters depending on how big they are. Then mix well– the cornstarch, sugar, orange zest, orange juice, vanilla, nutmeg & water. Let this refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to overnight. This will let the the natural juices from the berries come out.
Once everything has chilled, you will need to roll out 2 of the pastry discs and preheat your oven to 425 degrees. On a really well-floured surface, you’ll want to roll the bottom out to about an 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick to fit the bottom and sides of your pie dish. So about 11 or 12 inches around for a 9 inch pie. For the top, you will want to roll out the same size and then cut the dough into 1 inch strips using a pizza cutter. This will be used for the lattice crust. The way I learned to do lattice crust was online. Seriously. And it was from Simply Recipes. I’ve been following their blog for a long time! Make sure to click on the link to the Simply Recipes site where I saw the easiest way to weave the crust. Kudos, Simply Recipes…Kudos!
Lay the bottom crust into the pie dish, spoon in the strawberry mixture, then finish with the lattice top. Brush the strips with heavy cream and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.
You will bake this little beauty for about an hour or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly!
Once this has cooled somewhat, just slice it up and top with orange whipped cream & a sprig of mint! Or just plain whipped cream and no mint. Or top it with nothing and just dig in! Your choice!
This is really an easy recipe to keep, adjust and make your own! Let me know how yours turns out! Enjoy!
Updated, Old-Fashioned Strawberry Pie
Adapted from Saveur Magazine, Inez White & Simple Southern Living
3 c. All Purpose Flour
1 c. Crisco Shortening
1 ½ tsp Salt
1 Beaten Egg
1 tbsp Vinegar
½ c. Cold Water
1. Put all of the ingredients into the refrigerator (including the bowl) for at least 30 minutes to chill.
2. Once cold, cut the salt & shortening into the flour using a pastry cutter or your fingertips until the mixture resembles pea-like pieces.
3. Mix together the egg, vinegar and water. Gradually add the mixture into the flour. Mix together well until dough can be formed easily into a ball.
4. Divide dough into 3 even pieces. Roll out into a disc about ½ inch thick.
5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. Freeze any unused dough.
3 lbs Sliced Fresh Strawberries
½ c. Cornstarch
¾ c. Sugar
1 tsp Nutmeg
1 ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
3 tbsp Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1 tbsp Orange Zest
2 tbsp Water
Heavy Cream for Brushing Lattice Top
1. Slice the Strawberries in halves or quarters. Mix well with the next 7 ingredients and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
3. Take 2 of the refrigerated pie dough and place on a well-floured surface. Roll each out to 1/8 -1/4 inch thickness until it will cover the bottom & side of the pie dish. About 11-12 inches for a 9 inch pie plate.
4. Repeat rolling the other pastry disc out to the same size & thickness.
5. For the 2nd pastry disc, cut it into ½ inch strips with pizza cutter once it is rolled out. This will be for the lattice top.
6. Place the bottom crust into the pie dish. Then spoon the strawberry mixture on top of the bottom crust.
7. Next weave the dough on top of the strawberries for the lattice top.
8. Brush lattice top with heavy cream and lightly dust with sugar.
9. Bake pie for 45 minutes to an hour until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Let cool and serve.