I think we are just about to the end of our strawberries now. Wimbledon is on. Strawberries and Wimbledon, the two go together like Peas & Carrots. I have frozen some and made a chilled pie, and then yesterday I baked Todd an old fashioned Strawberry Pie.
This is the kind of Strawberry Pie your grandmother would have made! She didn't have anything fancy back in her day. Just simple ingredients done really well. I favour my Butter & Lard Pastry Recipe, which you can find here. It makes two beautifully perfectly flaky crusts.
You could add a bit of sugar to the recipe because this is a sweet pie, but its not really necessary as you sprinkle sugar on top of the pie prior to baking.
The berries are simply washed, hulled and sliced. Don't ever wash them after hulling. You should always wash them ahead of that. The water gets into the berry otherwise. Just a handy little tip. You don't want watery berries. Especially if you are going to pop them into a crust.
You just slice the berries into a bowl and mix them together with cornflour (for thickening) and sugar. I use all white, but you could use a mix of white and brown if you wanted to.
My one difference from Grandmother's pie is the use of ground cinnamon and cardamom. The cinnamon she would certainly have had, but I seriously doubt she would have had cardamom. Cardamom almost has a peppery lemon quality, and this goes very well with Strawberries.
There is some fresh lemon juice in with the berries also. This helps them to keep their lovely colour. Grandmother knew best.
You let them sit and macerate for a few minutes. You will be surprised at how much liquid they release. It will be necessary to lift them out of that. You don't want to be pouring it into your crust, not unless you want a watery, soggy pie . . . the berries get spooned into the pie, and dotted with butter. I use a slotted spoon and they are just wet enough. Sometimes I get a bit fanciful with the crust and cut out little hearts or circles on top . . . its easy to see when the juices are bubbling and done and it looks so pretty. A brushing of milk and a sprinkle of demerara sugar also dress it up just nice.
Once baked you need to let it sit for about 3 hours to let it set up and thicken nicely. Its easy to cut into wedges then . . . I like to reheat them for about 30 seconds in the microwave and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Of course in Grandmother's day that would have been home-churned ice cream, and I am thinking it would be oh so delicious. My taste buds are tingling just at the thought of it.
It makes me think of the Walton's . . . sitting on their front porch on a hot summer's evening, Olivia and Grandma slowly swinging back and forth on the porch swing. "Go get the ice cream churn Zeb!" Grandma would say. "Its hot enough out here right now to singe the feathers off a chicken! We could use some cooling down, and I do believe we are in the mood for a treat."
"It would go mighty good with that pie Olivia baked this afternoon." announces Zeb as he hops up and heads towards the barn to get the ice cream churn. All the children squeal in delight, as John senior quickly hikes down to the ice house to grab him some ice for use the churn. "Get out the rock salt John Boy!" he shouts.
Cream is gathered, along with rich farm milk. Grandma always saves the cream after the cow has been milked. Most days they make butter with it. The girls gather together some precious sugar and a dash of vanilla . . . along with a few egg yolks from their laying hens. All things in place the children all take their turns, rotating the handle on the old wooden churn . . . around and around and around . . . it makes a creaky noise . . .
Each turn becomes a little harder to make than the last . . . the ice cream getting stiffer and stiffer . . . until in the end it takes two of them just to make it move at all. "I think its ready ma!" John Boy announces . . .
"Grab the plates and spoons Livvie! I do declare its time for pie!" Grandpa is licking his chops . . . Yield: 8
Author: Marie Rayner
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Grandmother's Strawberry Pie
This is the pie our grandmothers would have baked. Quite simply delicious. Todd enjoyed a nice slice of this warm with some vanilla ice cream
865g fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (6 cups)
50g cornflour (1/3 cup, cornstarch)
130g granulated sugar (2/3 cup)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
2 TBS lemon juice
butter to dot
Pastry for a two crust pie
milk to brush
Demerara sugar to sprinkle on top
vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)
How to cook Grandmother's Strawberry Pie
Make your pastry as per your recipe. (I like my Butter & Lard recipe.)
Mix your berries in a bowl along with the cinnamon, cardamom, lemon juice, sugar, cornflour and salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil. Set aside.
Roll out your bottom crust to fit into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie dish, with a good overhang. Spoon the strawberry filling into the crust, leaving as much of the juices back in the bowl. If your mixture is too wet when you put it into the pie, it will make for a soggy pie. I scoop it out with a slotted spoon, and leave the juices behind as much as possible. Discard the juices. Dot the top of the pie with butter.
Roll out the remaining pastry large enough to cover the pie with an overhang. Brush some milk on the edge of the bottom crust all around. Before placing the top crust on top you can use a small cookie cutter to cut out shapes. I used a heart cutter and it was quite pretty. Place the crust on top press together all around the edges and then trim off any excess. I used the tip of a teaspoon to crimp it a bit and make a pattern. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar.
Place onto the baking tray and pop into the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 190*C/375*F and cook for a further 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and the filling is bubbling. (If your pie is browning too quickly, lightly cover with a sheet of aluminium foil, removing it for the last five minutes of bake time.
Remove from the oven and let sit at room temperature for about 3 hours before eating. I like to leave mine overnight. Then I just warm slices up for 30 seconds in the microwave for anyone who wants it warm. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
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Later on, after the children are all nestled in their beds . . . John and Olivia swing slowly back and forth on the swing, all alone now beneath the haloed moon . . . the only sound being that of the swing as it moves back and forth . . . and the singing of a few crickets beneath the porch, who are dancing by its silvery light. "I do declare Livvie," says John, "that was one of the nicest pies you've baked in a while." "Uh huh," is her only reply as she snuggles closer into him.
Goodnight John Boy . . .