The story of the best homemade fresh strawberry pie is my most dramatic food experience to date. From the moment it went in the oven, it was a complete disaster, but I managed to miraculously salvage it. Allow me to tell you the whole saga…
Life Lessons I Learned from the Best Homemade Fresh Strawberry Pie
My enormous carton of Costco strawberries stared at me from the refrigerator, and they were dangerously close to molding.
“Make us into something beautiful!” they pleaded.
“You want to be made into a stupidly gorgeous fresh strawberry pie?” I replied.
“It would be an honor!” the strawberries squeaked.
In my mind, stupidly gorgeous strawberry pie boasts a braided crust, worthy of Pinterest and Instagram glory. So, I went on my way making my trusty pie crust recipe, thinking it would be a therapeutic way to spend my quiet afternoon.
The raw pie crust was perfect. I couldn’t wait to bake it and see it transform into a golden and flaky work of art. I placed the crust in the oven at 425°F for 15 minutes, and went to prep the rest of the pie ingredients. Five minutes later when I checked the crust, my heart dropped into my stomach.
THE CRUST SLOUCHED AND MELTED DOWN THE SIDES!
The exquisite braided edge was no longer recognizable. Butter oozed from every pore, and the bottom showed beginning signs of puffing.
“Noooooooooo!” I screamed in a panic. I quickly pulled the pie from the oven and started probing at the half baked sides and edges. With my braided pie crust dream deflated, I needed to think quickly and find a solution to save the pie. I decided to pinch the edges together in an effort to make a semi-fluted crust.
The pie returned the oven, and 10 minutes later I pulled it from the oven. Luckily, it held its shape, but it was lumpy. And frumpy. But! It did look insanely flaky and still highly appetizing—there was a golden lining to this awful situation!
Until I turned around and straight up DROPPED the hot pie crust on the floor. (If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the disaster unfold on my story.) Now my red-headed stepchild pie crust was not only uneven, but cracked in multiple pieces. I know what you’re thinking—Abbey, this is when you scratch it and start over. But, no. I refused to give into defeat by this point. Staring at the crumbles spread across the floor, I actually laughed out loud. (It might have sounded like one of those breaking point psychotic laughs, but there was no other option in this ridiculous situation.)
After regaining my composure, I scooped the crust pieces off the floor, and reassembled them in the dish as evenly as possible.
The next steps were easy, as I whisked the strawberry filling and cut the strawberries. (Hooray! I didn’t chop off a finger!) The strawberries and gelatin filling were dumped into the pathetic crust and placed in the refrigerator to set. And it didn’t look so terrible! All it needed was a few fancy dollops of whipped cream to distract from the cracks underneath. So, that’s precisely what I did.
And look how it turned out!
Miracles ARE real! This fresh strawberry pie proves it. And ironically, it’s the best pie I’ve made in my life. No exaggeration.
I learned that blind baking a pie crust is essential. I have since tested how to properly blind bake, and described how to do that in the recipe below. Don’t be lazy and think you can get away with it by taking a shortcut. Pies are simply, but finicky. They don’t like to be messed with and will act out if not properly handled. I would even go as far to say they might be the most passive-aggressive food out there. However, that’s a different conversation for another day.
Enjoy Pi Day and go make this amazing homemade fresh strawberry pie in celebration! It’s 100% worth it, pie promise! 🙂 The full printable recipe is below! Enjoy.
The Best Homemade Fresh Strawberry Pie
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 sticks salted butter cold and cubed
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 ounce package strawberry gelatin
- 1 pint strawberries hulled and halved
- Add flour, sugar, and butter to a food processor. Pulse about 15 times until the butter is pea-sized. Pour in ice cold water and pulse until the dough barely pulls from sides and forms a ball. Divide dough into two even balls. Wrap in plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm. (Be sure not to overmix dough.)
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Remove pie dough from refrigerator. Place the first ball on a well-floured surface and flatten into a round disc. Use a rolling pin to roll dough into a large circle that will overlap in a pie dish. Gently place the dough in the dish, using the tips of your fingers to mold it into the sides. Trim any overlapping dough so it’s about 1/2″ beyond the edge of the pan. Use this technique to make a fluted crust. If you want to create a fancy braided crust, roll out the second dough ball into a large rectangle, about 14x8 inches. Use a pastry cutter to slice dough into long 1/2 inch strands, for a total of 9 strands. Take three strands and braid dough very carefully. Repeat with remaining six strands, for a total of 3 braided crusts. (And again, try not to over-handle the dough—it’s the key to a flaky, crumbly crust.) Gently place the braids on the pie dough edge to make a full circle. Crimp together edges under the bottom to make a seal. Dock the pie if desired, by poking small holes in the crust bottom with a fork.
- Cut a large square of parchment paper and line the pie. Make sure it fits snugly into the edges and sides of the pie. Fill pie dish with pie weights or dry beans, and ensure they are filled to the sides. This is essential for keeping the pie flat and even, and to prevent puffing and slouching edges. Bake on 425°F for 12-15 minutes until edges are golden.
- While the pie crust is baking, make the strawberry filling. In a large saucepan, combine water, sugar, and cornstarch over medium high heat. Stir constantly until it comes to a boil. Add in strawberry gelatin, and stir for another two minutes until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Once pie crust is finished baking, let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Pour halved strawberries evenly into the pie dish. Pour the gelatin mix evenly on the strawberries, and refrigerate for 3-4 hours until set.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment fitted, whip heavy cream for 4-5 minutes on high speed. Add in powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix well. Place in a piping bag, and pipe strawberry pie with whipped cream when ready to serve. Enjoy!