Fresh Strawberry Pie.

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There are very few television shows that when I watch them, I am severely and whimsically captivated; however, “Pushing Daisies” was one such a series. The vivid colors, the visually stimulating set and costumes, and the constant witty banter pulled me and won my heart.

And not to mention the Pie-maker. Hello, Darlin.’

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And the types of pies they make in the little Pie Hole make you want to move your television into your kitchen and start baking pie; triple berry, peach,  three-plum, strawberry . . . oh, that strawberry. The first time I saw it, I had the image burned on my brain, my heart, my soul, whatever. All I knew was that before I die, I wanted to make a pie as pretty as that.

And now I have (well, it’s not as pretty, but almost). And I could eat mine, and not the one on the screen. I tried. I slobbered on the screen.

Gross. Don’t do that.

The key to this pie is not to bake the strawberries. What? Yes. Don’t bake the strawberries. Annie from Annie’s Eats told me that because strawberries contain too much water, you’ll end up with a soggy pie, which is gross. And I love the fact that the fruit is fresh. This is the season for strawberries, so I grabbed a few baskets worth at the farmer’s market earlier that day. Little did the berries know they would be a delicious pie . . . best future ever, in my opinion, if you’re a berry.

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Places washed and hulled strawberries in a bowl; cut the bigger ones in half.

As you can see, my area is perfectly spotless . . . unless you count someone making sweet potatoes fries in the corner (yum), someone else eating black bean salsa to my left, and someone else cutting something mysterious . . . hm. Whatevs.

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Oh ya, and make your crust, yo.
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Roll it up, move it over, and make it perty.
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Now, for those strawberries. Pour the filling over and gently toss and fold them together until all are coated. Gorgeous.

Meanwhile, you can be baking that crust.

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Take a moment and bask in it’s beauty.
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Also, it doesn’t hurt if you have an awesome friend who loves pie and likes “Pushing Daisies.”
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Let chill out in fridge for a bit, then slice and serve with a dollop o’cream.
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Serve to people you love, like, don’t like, want to like, dislike, or even a stranger. Everyone loves pie.

Fresh Strawberry Pie
makes one pie.
For the pie shell:1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
8 tbsp. cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp. very cold water
For the filling:
4 pints (about 3 lbs.) fresh strawberries, gently rinsed and dried, hulled*
¾ cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. gelatine
Generous pinch table salt
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the whipped cream:
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tbsp. sugar

*This is actually several more ounces of berries than will be used in the pie, to account for any imperfect strawberries.
For the pie shell: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl.  Mix briefly to blend.  Using a pastry cutter, add in the butter pieces and cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse sand and the largest butter pieces are not much bigger than peas.  Mix in the cold water just until the dough comes together.

Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. To pre-bake the pie crust, roll the chilled pie dough into a 12-inch circle.  Line a 9-inch pie plate with the dough.  Crimp the edges.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes.  Preheat the oven to 375˚ F and adjust an oven rack to low-middle position.  Line the chilled pie shell with parchment paper or foil so that it lays over the edges of the dough.  Fill with pie weights and bake until the surface of the dough no longer looks wet, 20-25 minutes.  Remove the pie weights and parchment paper and return the pie crust to the oven.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, 10-12 (ish-keep an eye on it!) minutes more.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

For the filling: To make the filling, select 6 oz. misshapen, underripe or otherwise unattractive berries, halving those that are large; you should have about 1½ cups.  In the food processor, process the berries to a smooth puree, about 30 seconds.  You should have about ¾ cup puree.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, gelatine and salt; whisk to combine.  Stir in the berry puree.  Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, and bring to a full boil.  Boil for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan constantly.  Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the lemon juice.  Let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, pick over the remaining berries and measure out 2 pounds of the most attractive ones; halve only extra-large berries.  Add the berries to the bowl with the glaze and fold gently with a spatula until the berries are evenly coated.  Scoop the berries into the pie shell, piling into a mound.  If any cut sides face up on the top, turn them face down.  Refrigerate the pie until chilled, about 2 hours.  Serve within 5 hours of chilling.

Make the whipped cream just before serving.  Whip the cream and sugar on medium speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds.  Increase the speed and continue beating until medium peaks form.  Cut the pie into wedges and serve with whipped cream.

Listening to: Temp & Receptionist,” Kooman & Dimond

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, Cook’s Illustrated, May/June 2011

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