Sunday, June 6, 2010

New Jersey STRAWBERRY PIE

Today is absolutely beautiful! Sunny, blue skies sprinkled with wispy clouds, a light breeze, and comfortable temperatures in the 70s. The humidity is low and that's key for comfort. For those so inclined, it is a perfect Ocean City beach day!

Me? I'm going to make a fresh Strawberry Pie this morning - there's time to enjoy the out of doors later. In fact, I can make the pie during breakfast, put it in the fridge, and enjoy it as dessert this evening. Also great for "Afternoon Refreshments" at the Scarborough Inn!

The best, really ONLY, time to make this pie is during strawberry season. In New Jersey, that is typically in June - depending on weather conditions. It's even better if you can locate a "pick-your-own" farm that will allow you to harvest your own strawberries right out in the fields and bring them home for pie, and jam, and shortcake, and.... (well, you get the idea). Locate farms that feature "pick-your-own" options on the Internet.

This recipe has few ingredients and is simple to make, but even so, I've included Notes for Novices following the recipe. Hope you enjoy his wonderful taste of the "Garden State!"

New Jersey STRAWBERRY PIE

1 baked 8" or 9" pie shell, cooled
1 quart NJ strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 Tbl. fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon, juiced)
2 Tbl. cornstarch, moistened in 1/2 cup water, combine until smooth
1 Tbl. butter

Bake one frozen pie shell following label directions; set aside to cool.

Wash, dry, and hull fresh, local strawberries. (Save a few berries with leaves attached for garnish.) Put one pint of whole berries into cooled pie shell. Put remainder into saucepan and crush; add sugar, cornstarch/water mixture, butter, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook about 10 minutes or until thick, stirring often.

Cool and pour over berries in pie shell. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Serve with fresh, whipped cream and garnish with reserved strawberries.

Notes for Novices:
1. Reserve 2-3 berries with leaves for garnish. Remove blemishes from berries (if necessary) and use these for the crushed filling; keep "perfect" berries to place whole into pie shell.
2. A hand-held potato masher OR meat tenderizer works well to mash berries. Small chunks will remain & that's fine.
3. While pie shell is cooling on rack, prepare remainder of ingredients (sugar, cornstarch mixture, butter, lemon juice); then cook with strawberries. The mixture should become thick and a beautiful, ruby red color. Stir often to prevent burning.
4. Make sure you cool again before pouring over berries in pie shell.
5. Prep in the morning and you'll have a delightful dessert for dinner.

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