The last of this season’s strawberries bake into a silky, rich custard-filled pie.
If you’ve read my ramblings for any period of time, you know I like pie. I love the way a simple combination of flour and butter turns into the flakiest crust, enrobing everything from berries to stone fruit to savory delicacies. In fact, I’ve made pie more than any other recipe on my site — Persimmon Pie, Orange Meringue Pie and Mushroom and Speck Tart, just to name a few — and I still pause a moment at the site of a perfectly golden browned crust.
While in Michigan a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but buy the last giant pail of strawberries from a local farm stand. That meant not just one, but two of these delicious treats. My newest favorite, I have a feeling this pie will be around for quite some time: it’s just so easy and so good. A quick custard base is poured on top of the berries, baking into the most beautiful and deliciously creamy pie. I can’t wait to make the recipe with the cherries from last week’s market, or the stone fruit I’m still wishing for. It’s such a simple recipe, try playing around: Swap brown sugar for a caramely undertone with peaches or whisk in a few teaspoons of your favorite liquor for a boozy kick. Even if you don’t make pie as much as I do, you’re sure to love this one!
Strawberry-Custard Pie, makes one 9-inch pie, adapted from Martha Stewart
For the pastry dough:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups small strawberries, trimmed and cleaned, halved if larger
2 large eggs
3/4 cups sugar
2 ounces butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
1. Pastry dough: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Using two forks or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until walnut size chunks appear. Make a well in the center and pour in half the water. Mix together and add more water until the dough just holds together. Form a ball with the dough, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for one hour.
2. On a lightly floured work space, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Fit the dough into a lightly greased 9-inch pie pan and trim, leaving a 1-inch over hang. Fold the trim over and underneath itself. For a fluted edge, pinch the outside of the crust with the thumb and index finger of one hand while pushing in with the index finger of the other hand. Repeat at 1/2 intervals around the entire edge. For another edge, press to seal with tines of a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes while oven is preheating at 375 degrees.
3. Line crust with parchment and fill with baking beans or dried rice. Bake for 20 minutes, remove parchment and weights, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let cool.
4. For filling: Whisk together the eggs, sugar, melted butter, flour, salt and vanilla in a small bowl. Place the strawberries in the pie shell, completely covering the bottom, then pour the filling on top, using a spatula to smooth evenly. Cut a piece of foil twice the size of the pie, fold in half and cut out a circle large enough to expose the center but cover the edges. Wrap edges to protect from burning.
5. Bake the pie for an additional 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for one hour. Refrigerate, covered, for up to four days.