The growing season is finally here and in order to get recipes to you in a time for you to use the ingredients at their best, I am doubling up on posts this week.
Two things I really, really like: fresh, fresh, fresh local fruit in season and fruit pie.
So when my CSA basket came with a half-gallon of sweet strawberries, I knew just where that was going: Strawberry Pie. Truth to be told, I’ve been planning it for weeks! And since I am still working out of my tiny rental kitchen it was going to be a rustic pie, made without a pie tin.
I’ve been thinking of making a rustic pie (more formally known as a galette) forever but never got around to it. Now is the time, so here goes!
First the pie crust. I’m used my old stand-by short crust pastry and adding a little sugar to it fit the occasion. You can use any pastry recipe you like—no rules for this pie!
Flour, sugar and salt go in a bowl along with some very cold butter. Normally I would put this all in the food processor and give it two good pulses. But again, rental kitchen, so I am using a pastry blender.
Cut the butter in until it looks like sand.
Then mix in ¼- 1/2 cup of ice cold water ( Use vodka, if you have any. I’ve never done it before but I am told it makes a superior crust. And if you do, please let me know how it comes out!). Add the liquid little by little, until it just comes together in a ball.
Wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can do this the day before if you like.
While the pastry is chilling, prepare your strawberries. Wash them and remove the stems. The little ones can be left whole, bigger ones cut in half. Put them in a bowl with the sugar, ginger and tapioca. This will draw the water out of the strawberries and soften the tapioca. Tapioca vs cornstarch is a matter of taste. Literally. I like the taste of tapioca and the texture. Cornstarch will also work. The strawberries should sit for at least 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. It’s important to use a rimmed baking sheet. This pie bakes messy.
Roll the pastry out into a circle about 16” in diameter. Don’t worry if is rough just make sure it’s not too thin. Place the rolled crust onto the prepared baking sheet and continue assembling the pie there. It’s alright if the edges of the pie crust fall over the side of the tray.
Drain the strawberries then pile them into the center of the crust leaving 2-3 inches around the edge. Now fold the pie crust up over the strawberries, making pleats so it lies flat.
Create your egg wash. I added some Madeira wine to mine for the extra sweetness. You can use something else (like Grand Marnier or another flavored liqueur) or nothing at all. Brush the egg wash well over the crust and sprinkle with about a tablespoon of Demerara or Turbinado sugar.
Bake the pie for about 40-45 minutes. Some of the juices will leak out of the pie. That’s just the way it is. When the crust is nicely browned and the berries are bubbly you are done. This pie needs to cool and set before you eat it but once it does, dig in!
*A special side benefit is pie for breakfast! I put mine in a bowl, heat it up and top with vanilla yogurt.
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 cup cold butter
- ¼ - ½ cup ice water
For the Pie
- 4 cups fresh strawberries
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp tapioca
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 inches fresh ginger root finely grated
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp Madeira
- 1-2 tbsp demerara sugar
- Prepare the pie crust. In a large bowl mix the flour, sugar and salt together. Cut the butter into small cubes and using a pastry blender or food processor, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles sand. Add the ice water a little at a time until the pastry comes together. Form it into a ball, flatten it a bit and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- While pastry is chilling, prepare the strawberries. Clean and hull them, leaving the smaller ones whole and cutting the larger berries in half. Place in a bowl with the sugar, salt and tapioca and grated ginger. Set aside for fifteen minutes. Drain the strawberries before placing in the pie crust.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out the pastry into a 16” circle (more or less) about ¼” thick. Place the pastry in the prepared baking sheet and assemble the pie.
- Put the strawberries in the pastry leaving about a 3” border. Fold the border up over the strawberries, pleating as needed to make it lay flat.
- Whisk together the egg and Madeira in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash over the pastry. Then sprinkle the pastry and strawberries with Demerara sugar.
- Place in the center of the oven and bake 40-45 minutes until the crust is well browned and strawberries are bubbly. Remove from the oven and cool completely before serving.
Note: If you don’t have a pastry blender, freeze the butter and grate it. Then refreeze for about ten minutes. Using your fingers, mix it quickly into the flour. The pastry can be made a day or two in advance. Makes enough for two pies.
It is not necessary to peel the ginger root before grating