Vintage Inspiration: My vintage inspiration for this classic strawberry pie recipe is from a vintage pie dish. I always look forward to early Summer here in the Midwest, when strawberries kick-off the picking season in early June. This Classic Fresh Strawberry Pie is loaded with fresh, hand-picked berries, nestled in a tender, flaky baked crust, and topped with a dallop of homemade whip cream.
I’ve taken this late 1980’s recipe and baked it modern:
- Added both lemon juice and the zest for extra zing in the filling
- Added unflavored gelatin in addition to ClearJel to stabilize the filling
- Added extra strawberries to the filling
- For the pastry: added vinegar to prevent gluten formation and used all-butter and a bit of shortening
How to make Classic Fresh Strawberry Pie:
How to make the filling:
- Most strawberry pie recipes call for either a pint, quart or pound of strawberries. Fresh picked strawberries are sold this way as well, by the quart, pound or flat (8 quarts). Both one quart and one pound equals about 4 cups of sliced berries, one pint equals about 2 cups.
- If you are using the berries the same day, lightly spray with water to remove the gritty sand and pat dry with paper towel. Use a small, round fruit huller to remove tops and slice berries.
- If you are not planning to use them right away, place berries in an air-tight container and keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. Then only clean and prep as needed, otherwise they may turn mushy.
- Another option is to freeze berries by placing on a 1/2 sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Spread in a single layer and freeze for 1 hour. Place berries in ziploc bags or vacuum seal them for up to 8-10 months.
Choosing a thickener for your filling:
- There are several thickening agents such as cornstarch, ClearJel, tapioca starch, or flour. Vintage recipes typically call for flour or cornstarch.
- For a modern substitution, I use ClearJel which doesn’t make the filling cloudy like flour may do. When a recipe calls for cooked filling, use regular ClearJel. When you are not going to cook the filling, it is ok to use Instant ClearJel.
- If ClearJel is hard to find in your area, you can use cornstarch. To substitute: If the recipe calls for 1 T. cornstarch, use 1 1/2 T. ClearJel. If the recipe calls for 2 T. flour or tapioca, use 1 T. ClearJel. You can find ClearJel in Amish or health food stores areas, or online.
Why add citrus to pie filling?
- Adding lemon to pie filling will offer a bright, zingy flavor. Lemon juice also prevents fruit from browning and when mixed with the sugar, it pulls out any moisture before the thickener is added.
- Put citrus on the counter the day you plan to use them as room temperature fruit will yield more juice than if it comes straight out of the fridge. Remember to zest your lemon before you juice it.
- The easiest way to zest a lemon is to use a Microplane. To juice the lemon, use a hand-held lemon squeezer or a vintage style glass citrus reamer with bowl.
How to make perfect pie crust:
Choosing pie plates:
- I bake my pies in vintage ceramic pie plates which conduct slow, even heat. Sometimes you can vintage pie plates at antique shops or flea markets, if not there are several high-quality modern brands to purchase such as LeCruset or Emile Henry.
- Other types of pie plates include glass or metal. Glass will also conduct slow, even heat and also shows if the bottom crust has browned nicely. Metal pans, especially if they are dark, may brown the crust too fast, which could burn or overbake your pie.
Avoid tough or soggy crust:
- To avoid a tough crust, add 1 T. lemon juice, vinegar, or vodka to the dough to prevent excess gluten from forming.
- To prevent a soggy crust, dust the raw crust with a thickening agent (cornstarch or flour) and then lightly brush with egg wash (whisk together1 egg + 1 T. cream) before adding in the filling.
- When making a blind pie crust, use pie weights to reduce the pie shell from shrinkage. Place parchment paper under pie weights first or else they will stick to the bottom of the pie. If you don’t have pie weights, you can use dried beans.
Cold dough, hot oven:
- Use frozen butter and dice into small cubes and put right back into the freezer if your not making the dough right away.
- Chill water with some ice cubes before adding to dough.
- After you roll out the crust, place it in the fridge to ensure the crust from shrinking.
- Place assembled pie in the fridge for about 15 minutes prior to baking, so it goes cold into a nice hot oven.
- Cover with foil or pie protector to ensure filling is cooked through but that the crust doesn’t burn.
- Watch to see when pie starts to bubble, then let it bake 5 more minutes.
How to make Homemade Whipped Cream:
- Homemade Whipped Cream is delicious on Classic Fresh Strawberry Pie and tastes so much better than other whipped toppings like canned whip cream, Cool Whip or Dream Whip that contain artificial ingredients.
- Use superfine sugar if you keep on hand, as it incorporates well, eliminating grittiness when beaten with the cream. Use can also use powdered sugar.
- Chill your mixing bowl and whisk or an old-fashioned whip cream beater in the fridge prior to making. This step ensures to keep the cream extra cold and make it light and fluffy.
Try more Vintage Baked Modern pie recipes:
Classic Fresh Strawberry Pie
- liquid measuring cup
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cups
- Microplane or Lemon Zester
- Lemon Squeezer
- Pie weights
- Pie dish
- Rolling Pin
- Plastic wrap
- 2 c. unbleached flour
- 12 T. unsalted butter ice cold
- 1 T. shortening
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 T. lemon juice or vodka
- 4-5 T. ice cold water
- 7 c. strawberries sliced reserve 3 c.
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 1/3 c. water
- 2 T. unflavored gelatin 2 envelopes
- 3 T. ClearJel or cornstarch
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 1 T. lemon zest
HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1/4 c. superfine sugar
- 3/4 tsp. vanilla
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Zest and juice 1 lemon.
- Prep strawberries, remove hulls and slice berries
- Put dry ingredients in stand mixer, add cold butter and pulse until crumbly. Remove bowl from mixer and add lemon juice and water. Mix by hand with pastry blender until just combined.
- Pour out onto a piece of saran wrap and shape into (1) 8" round disk. Refrigerate 10 minutes if using right away or overnight.
- Place pie disk between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll out into round disk 2" larger than your pie plate.
- Place dough in pie plate and crimp edges. Pierce pie shell with fork, lightly dust with thickening agent, and brush with egg wash. Place back in fridge for 10 minutes.
- Place a round circle of parchment over the pie and fill bottom with pie weights. Bake pie shell at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Place 4 c. of berries and water in heavy pan and bring to boil. Take out 1/2 c. of the juice and sprinkle the two packets of gelatin on top of it.
- Reduce heat to medium and add sugar, ClearJel, lemon juice, lemon zest and the gelatin/juice mixture. Simmer 5-7 minutes until it thickens.
- Remove from burner and let it cool completely.
- Once it is cooled, add in the remaining 3 c. of berries.
- Pour filling into cooled pie crust.
- Place in refrigerator and serve cold with a dallop of fresh whip cream. Store pie in the refrigerator.
FRESH WHIP CREAM
- Place heavy cream and superfine sugar into a mixer with whisk attachment.
- Add vanilla and mix for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy with medium-stiff peaks.