Every year when the market right down the street opens up with fresh strawberries grown out back in their fields, I often find myself swimming in more juicy berries than I can put into jam and fruit salads, over cakes with cream, or even into toddlers’ mouths. I’ll still buy as many as I can, because each year, this season is fleeting; it’s over before I’m ready. As National Strawberry Month just sort of breezes right on by, I thought sharing this pie with you might just be the best idea ever.
Despite the newly-acquired burden of needing to mow the lawn every spare two hours one may or may not have on hand, this month offers the perfect weather for finding moments to spend talking with friends and sitting in the grass. I’ve been doing as much of that as I can these past few days. Though for some reason, every time I set Sam in the lush grass, he is determined to find something concrete and dangerous to play on instead. While, on the other hand, Harper cannot stay out of it, prefacing each and every practice cartwheel with a demanding, ”Watch this!! Watch!” It’s a little exhausting, but who am I to complain?
The perfect weather begs of you to put this pie- with its classic sweetness, resting atop a thin, lemony cream cheese bed and buttery crust- into your life right now. To share it with friends, to be in awe of these ruby red strawberries ripening nearby, and to sit in the grass and take deep breaths at the blueness of the sky.
These May days won’t last forever. The heat will slowly stifle the strawberry mayhem at the market, and new produce will fill the shelves. The sky won’t be quite as blue and the leaves not quite as green in a few weeks. So for now, I will savor the abundant need for lawn-mowing and the toddler escapes; the constant cartwheel applause, and the strawberry pie.
adapted from Betty Crocker Kitchens
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water
- 1 ½ Quarts Strawberries (about 6 cups), hulled, largest ones cut in half
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- ½ Cup Water
- 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon grated Lemon Zest
- In medium bowl, mix flour and salt.
- Cut in butter, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), until particles are size of small peas.
- Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans sides of bowl (1 to 2 teaspoons more water can be added if necessary).
- Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. If your refrigerate for longer, let it soften before rolling.
- Heat oven to 475°F.
- Roll out your pie dough into a ¼ inch-thick circle.
- Gently place into pie plate, trimming extra from sides.
- Fold dough under and flute as desired.
- Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Cool on cooling rack.
- In small bowl, mash enough strawberries to measure 1 cup.
- In 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar and cornstarch.
- Gradually stir in 1/2 cup water and mashed strawberries (add 1 or 2 drops food color if deeper red color is desired).
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.
- Boil and stir 1 minute; cool.
- In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and lemon peel until smooth.
- Spread evenly into pie crust.
- Top with remaining fresh strawberries.
- Pour cooked strawberry mixture over top.
- Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
- Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.