So, the day before I went off to CA, Zack finished whatever desserts we had in the house, which prompted him to moan and groan at my side while I was packing, "Pie! I want pie! Make me a pie!" I sighed. "I'll make you one when I get back, okay? I'll get some nice fruit in California and bring it home and make you a pie." He would stop momentarily and then go back to tugging at my sleeve and whining "Pie!" So I figured, I better deliver.
At the farmer's market in CA, my mom picked up three pints of strawberries and I thought, perfect, I'll take them home and make a pie. "What kind of pie are you going to make?" My mom asked. "I don't know.....strawberry pie." I shrugged. "That's not a thing," my mom frowned. "Strawberry rhubarb is a thing." Well, rhubarb isn't in season and if I want to make strawberry pie, gosh darn it, then I will.
Lena's Strawberry Pie - with the Breeden Family Pie Crust!
A quick word about the pie crust - when my friend Ellen saw the trouble I was having with pie crust, she promised to send me her family recipe. It had a mix of butter and shortening, which Meredith kept telling me is the best, so I gladly accepted Ellen's recipe. Here it is:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbs ice water
Mix salt into flour.
Divide shortening and butter into small pieces...
... and cut into flour mixture using a pastry blade (I took my mom's pastry cutter from home. I freaking love it. It was even better than using my food processor - sacrilege, I know!)
Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, kneading until dough holds together (one extra tablespoon is sometimes necessary).
Look how nicely it came together! This is like real pie crust making, right here.
Divide into two parts, one larger part with approximately 2/3 of the dough and the other with the remaining 1/3. Wrap in wax paper and pound into disks.
Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, or until chilled.
While this happened, I worked on the strawberries. I sliced them up and mixed them with about half a cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, a little bit of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Then I took out my bigger chunk of pie dough and rolled it out.
Then I smushed it into a pie plate. I'm very technical and precise, as you can see.
Then I put the filling in it.
Woo! We're cooking now. I rolled out the smaller piece of dough and cut it into long strips and made a "lattice top" whatever that is. As far as I can tell, it's like making a big tic-tac-toe board on top of a pie. I'm sure there's a purpose to it. It makes me feel very All-American, even though my strips are a little wonky (another technical term).
Then I baked it at 450 degrees for 30 minutes and 350 degrees for another 30 minutes, or until the fruit bubbled and the crust looked kinda golden brown.
It was good. Hands down, the best pie crust I've made so far. Thanks, Ellen! Also, who says there's no such thing as strawberry pie? It was even better the next day after it had chilled once and really set the filling. It was like strawberry jam in a pie crust. Who doesn't like that? Zack loved it. The whole pie is gone already. That's the mark of good baking right there.