When I first moved back home to Louisiana a few years ago, I really missed not having more noticiablly different seasons. In Louisiana, we have a short fall, 5 minutes of winter, and 9 months of summer. And in between winter and summer, we have spring. Strawberry weather.
Yes, while most of you are still struggling with frost and cold and even snow this late spring, we have folks sitting on the side of the road selling beautiful flats of Louisiana strawberries. Sometimes from Hammond, sometimes from Ponchitoula, sometimes one of the other little towns in the top of the toe; what's commonly known as the northlake area, that little stretch of strawberry heaven along Interstate 12 north of Lake Pontchartrain. I don't know what it is about that area of the state, whether it's the soil or the weather, or something completely different, but they grow the best strawberries.
I like strawberries almost every way you can eat them. I like them so much I'll even slice some up and eat them with milk and sugar, like a bowl of cereal. Or cream instead of milk, if I have it. Even what we in the south euphemistically call "canned cream", which is nothing more than evaporated milk, poured straight over a warm cobbler or a cool bowl or fruit. Yum.
But by far my favorite thing to do when I have really good strawberries is make a fresh strawberry pie.
Years ago when I worked at one of our local banks, one of our customers always brought a truckload of strawberries back from southeast Louisiana and sold them to his friends and neighbors, and he generously gave every employee of our bank a whole flat of strawberries. (There are definite advantages to living in a small southern town.) The first time I got strawberries-by-the-flat after I was married, my husband said "Oh, good, strawberry pie!" I had an immediate vision of a cooked, two-crust pie, like apple pie or cherry pie, and turned up my nose, but he had something else in mind. "My favorite!" he said, and tried to describe it, so as a dutiful wife, I started looking for recipes in my cookbooks.(Remember those? Where we used to find recipes before the internet!).
I found several versions, and narrowed them down by practical, everyday ingredients and ease of application, and this is my tried-and-true version that I've used for years. It uses a combination of a cooked glaze and strawberry gelatin, but it uses less gelatin than many recipes, making a softer setting, fresher tasting glaze than some versions of this pie that I've eaten.
- 1 c sugar
- 1 c water
- 4 T flour
- 4 T strawberry gelatin (that's half of a small box--this is easily doubled, I usually make these two at a time, using 2 c sugar, 2 c water, 1/2 c flour and the whole box of gelatin
- 1 pint (approximately) strawberries
- single pie crust (or two crusts if making two)
Step 1: pre-bake your pie crust, and allow to cool
You can make your own if you have time, or use a frozen pie crust. If I don't make my own (which, honestly, I hardly ever do, I prefer the refrigerated roll out crusts.) Be sure to pinch the edges and prick the bottom and sides. I baked this one at 375 for about 10-12 minutes.
Step 2: While your crust is baking and/or cooling,wash and hull your strawberries
Step 3: Stir together sugar, flour, and water and cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly while the sugar and flour dissolve, then regularly until the mixture comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Allow to cook for another minute or so, stirring constantly again.
Step 4: Remove from heat and stir in gelatin, stirring to dissolve
Step 5: Allow glaze to cool
Step 6: Spread a small amount of cooled glaze on the bottom of the pie
Step 7: Slice strawberries and layer in the pie shell. Be generous, but don't overfill, or the glaze won't cover all of the berries, and the pie, while it'll still taste good, will be ugly. Don't ask me how I know this.
Step 8: Pour the remaining glaze over the top of the berries. Refrigerate and allow to "set", at least 30 minutes. If it's a little soft, oh well, that's the price you pay for cutting it too soon. Don't ask me how I know this, either.
Step 9: Add whipped topping, either the real thing or the fake stuff that most of us still use, although we feel really really guilty about that.
If I'm serving this at home to family, I usually leave the topping off and add a big dollop to the top of each piece of pie as it's served. If I'm making this for an occasion, I add a big dollop to the middle, so that when I bring it out everyone will ohh and ahh over it, or I spread it out all over.
I love this pie. Really.
Tip: You can use 3 T of cornstarch instead of 4 T flour if you want a clearer glaze. Flour makes it a bit more cloudy, but I first started making it with flour because in my newly-wed kitchen it was what I had.
Until next time, good cooking, and good eating!
This post is linked to:
Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Friday Favorites at Simply Sweet Home
Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Saturday Night Special at Funky Junk Interiors
Weekend Wrap-up Party at Tater Tots and Jello
Church Supper at Everyday Mom's Meals
Share Your Creativity at It's Overflowing
Sweet and Savory Sunday at Cooking for the Seven Dwarfs
Meatless Monday at My Sweet and Savory