Mom’s Strawberry Pie
My very modest mother recently emailed me asking why I had not blogged about her Strawberry Pie, which is the best I’ve ever eaten. I thought to myself, “I already did that; Mom must have lost another marble.” Until I realized that it was I, who came up a marble short.
New Year’s Eve, I included her Strawberry Pie among the 20 plus desserts I served and photographed it with the intention of posting it near Valentine’s Day; obviously knowing the coloring is perfect for that holiday. Perhaps I had one too many Chocolate Martinis, because I clearly forgot what I had intended to do.
So, here we are in March our, ‘Red,’ holiday is behind us. Fortunately, strawberries are still out of this world, making this the ideal time to share Mom’s Strawberry Pie.
I am not sure if Mom really gets the credit for originally creating the recipe. My instincts tell me no, but since Mom is the only one I know who has ever made a strawberry pie this way, she gets the credit.
What makes Mom’s Strawberry Pie so unique is the cream cheese layer over the baked crust. It seals the crust, thus preventing the strawberries from making it soggy.
Half of the strawberries are sliced fresh and placed over the cream cheese, while the other half are cooked on the stove to get a strawberry preserve consistency. This is then poured over the sliced berries. To make the pie complete, freshly whipped cream is spread over the entire pie and gigantic strawberries dot the top.
The individual components of Mom’s Strawberry Pie are quite good on their own, but it is the melding of flavors and textures that wins me over each time. First comes the smoothness of the cream, leading to the thicker consistency of the preserves, followed by the fresh sliced berries, then the thin layer of cream cheese and, finally, reaching the homestretch and getting at last to the flakiness of the crust: all in all a combination to die for.
I know there are many other versions of strawberry pie out there. How could there not be with all those beautiful ripe berries begging to be played with? In spite of all the choices, be sure to give this one a try. “Try it, you’ll like it,” will take on a whole new meaning.
|Mom's Strawberry Pie|| || |
- 1 - 9” pie crust, baked
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 pints (1-1/2 quarts) strawberries
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- For the pie:
- Line the bottom of the baked pie shell with the softened cream cheese by taking little pieces of cream cheese, one at a time, and placing each one in the palm of your hand. Flatten the cream cheese and then use a small knife or metal spatula to transfer the cream cheese from your palm to the pie. Use a fingertip to smooth out the cream cheese layer. Place in the refrigerator.
- Wash 1 pint of strawberries for the top of the pie. Slice the stems off. Place cut side down on a paper towel to dry and then transfer them to the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Wash and slice one-half of the remaining strawberries (1 pint) and dry well on paper towels. Wash, hull and dry the other strawberries (1 pint) and place in a medium saucepan. Set aside.
- Mash the berries in the saucepan with your hand or a masher. Add ¾ cup sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch. Cook over medium low to low heat until the mixture is thick and translucent, stirring constantly. Cool completely.
- Place the sliced strawberries over the cream cheese. Top this with the cooled strawberry mixture. Refrigerate while preparing the whipped cream.
- Whip the cream and confectioners sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread over the top of the pie. Top with the whole strawberries.
- Betsy's tidbits:
- Reserve 1 pint of the most beautiful strawberries for the top of the pie.
- The crust and cream cheese layer may be put together one day in advance. The strawberry layers and whipped cream should be prepared the day that the pie will be served.