My family is serious about pie. At some family occasion, my grandfather mentioned that a number of years ago his doctor told him he could keep drinking alcohol or keep eating pie. He chose the pie. It is a rare gathering where there aren’t two or more kinds of pie, with the types announced prior to the meal so people can properly pace themselves.
In the middle of summer, when strawberries are in season, there is only one kind of pie: this fresh strawberry pie my dad makes. It was always tricky to find the balance of eating the pie fresh, while making sure there’s enough left to enjoy the equally delicious pie the next morning for breakfast.
The real secret to this recipe is that it’s all about the strawberries. This recipe won’t salvage those midwinter red-and-white lumps that grocery stores sell as “strawberries,” but if you want to revel in the indulgence of high summer, this strawberry pie recipe will take good, fresh strawberries and make them into one of the best things you’ve ever eaten.
This pie is what to do with strawberries you picked yourself, strawberries from a roadside stand, or strawberries you found at the farmer’s market.
11 Graham Crackers
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
8 tbsp melted butter
1-1/2 cups strawberries
4 tbsp corn starch
1-1/4 cups water
3/4 cup sugar (adjust based on how sweet the berries are)
4ish cups of strawberries
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
I usually start with a bit more than two quarts of strawberries, depending on how much I expect to trim. Wash and trim the strawberries—add any that are particularly soft or otherwise misshapen to the glaze.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Crush or run the graham crackers through a food processor until the crumbs are small and there aren’t any big chunks.
Combine all the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix completely, ensuring that there aren’t any dry spots.
Press crust into 9-inch pie plate, trying to keep the crust an even thickness throughout (a spoon often helps to shape the crust, particularly along the top edge).
Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes—the top edge of the crust should start to turn a darker brown.
Let the crust cool completely.
Crush strawberries for glaze (or put them in a food processer and pulse a few times)
Place water and crushed berries in a saucepan, start cooking on medium.
Add sugar and corn starch to the pan.
Cook until the mixture becomes thick, bubbly, and somewhat clear. At the beginning stir occasionally. Stir more frequently as the mixture begins to thicken, continue stirring constantly for ten minutes or so. The glaze is done when it becomes translucent and is thick enough that you can see the bottom of the pan as you stir.
As the glaze begins to cook, arrange about half the strawberries in the cooled crust—aim for one full layer covering the bottom of the pie plate.
When the glaze is done, pour half or so over the strawberries. Top with another layer of strawberries, then cover with the remaining glaze.
Chill for at least four hours, six to eight is better. The pie is ready when the glaze is no longer runny.
Serve once the glaze has set up completely.
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook
Photos by Flannery Clark