Start to Finish: 30 minutes hands-on; 3 to 4 hours total
Servings: 8 to 10
Difficulty Level: Beginner
It's sweet, tart and totally refreshing. Homemade strawberry pie is the ultimate hot weather treat, and it's one of those dishes that benefits from having few ingredients; the berries are the stars here. Pair sweet strawberry filling with a sweet, nutty graham cracker crust for a dessert that's always in season.
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
- 5 cups strawberries (about 2 1/2 pints)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Make the Crust
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the crumbs, sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. Thoroughly combine the ingredients until the crumbs are wet and clumping. Pinch some of the mixture between your fingers; if it doesn't stick together, add 1 additional tablespoon of melted butter to the bowl.
Pour the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Firmly press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of the plate.
Bake the crust for 10 to 12 minutes, until it's fragrant and has slightly darkened in color. Watch the crust carefully as or it will turn bitter.
Put the crust aside to cool.
Make the Filling
Wash the strawberries and remove their stems. Slice half of the berries and roughly chop the other half.
Place the chopped strawberries in a saucepan with the sugar. Heat the pan over medium heat; the strawberries should start to release their liquid as they cook. Cook the berries for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until they're soft and broken down.
Stir the water and cornstarch together in a bowl. Pour the mixture into the cooking strawberries. Stir the mixture steadily for 3 to 4 minutes as it thickens.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Combine the sliced berries with the cooked mixture. If you're using a baked crust, pour the pie filling into the crust and refrigerate it. If you're using an unbaked crust, refrigerate the filling separately until the crust has chilled for 1 hour, then pour the filling into the crust.
Refrigerate the pie for about 2 to 3 hours, or until it's completely chilled and set. Serve slices with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
This pie is perfect in its simplicity, but you can make any number of adjustments to suit your tastes.
- Use a store-bought graham cracker crust, or roll out a store-bought traditional crust. Completely bake the crust according to the package directions before adding the filling.
- If you prefer to let the strawberries shine, make a milder version of this crust. Substitute white sugar for brown sugar and leave out the spices.
- If you want to make a crust with even more flavor, use chocolate cookie crumbs in place of graham cracker crumbs. Substitute white sugar for brown sugar.
- Melt semi-sweet chocolate and paint a thin layer of it over the crust, then chill the crust until the chocolate is hard. This step not only adds flavor, but helps prevent the crust from becoming soggy.
- Give the filling more consistent texture by finely chopping all the strawberries instead of leaving them half-sliced. Add all the berries to the saucepan with the sugar; there's no need to increase the amounts of the other ingredients.
- Decorate the pie by arranging strawberry slices in patterns on top of it.
- If you prefer a baked two-crust pie, you can simply mix chopped berries with sugar and cornstarch and pour the mixture into an unbaked pie crust and top it with another crust. By the time the top crust is golden brown, the berries will be softened and sweet.