I’ve been baking a lot this summer. I don’t really know why that is, as I’ve always considered myself someone who loves to cook – that is, fry, saute, roast meat and vegetables and barbecue – but has always been a bit of a klutz when it comes to baking. But this year, it’s been going okay for me, leading me to do more and more of it. The problem is, my dear husband doesn’t like too much of what I bake. He’s not big on zucchini bread at all, and even when I made strawberry rhubarb pie he snubbed his nose at it and asked if I could make just a plain strawberry pie the next time the urge to bake rushed over me. It didn’t happen until we celebrated an anniversary in August, and it was a hit! In fact, the best dessert I’ve ever made, he said. I think part of what made it so good was the pie crust I used.
I don’t know what happened with this pie crust. I used the same ingredients I usually do, and even used the food processor like I’ve been doing the last few times I made it. But when I made this one using The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, it just turned out…better. I don’t know why. Maybe the humidity was just right that day, or maybe the Spirit of Martha was with me when I made it. Either way, it helped bring the entire pie together in a beautiful way and made it even more phenomenal.
For the pie crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting $0.35
1 teaspoon salt $0.01
1 teaspoon sugar $0.01
1 cup chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces $0.89
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water Free!
1 egg yolk $0.20
1 tablespoon heavy cream $0.05
For the filling:
5 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered $6.00
1/4 cup cornstarch $0.18
2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar, according to sweetness of strawberries $0.12
1/8 teaspoon salt $0.01
1 teaspoon vanilla extract $0.22
1 tablespoon lemon juice $0.30
Whipped cream, optional $1.00
Total cost $9.34
Cost per serving $1.16
1.) Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor, and process for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter pieces to the flour mixture and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds. Add the ice water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube with the machine running, just until the dough holds together. Do not process for more than 30 seconds.
2.) Turn the dough out onto a work surface. Divide into 2 equal pieces and place on 2 separate sheets of plastic wrap. Flatten and form two disks. Wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using (you’ll only need 1 disk for this recipe, so you can freeze the other for up to a month to use later.)
3.) Roll out pie dough to fit pie dish. Gently press dough down into the dish so that it lines the bottom and sides of the dish. Then use a knife or a pair of kitchen scissors to trim dough to within 1/2″ border of the edge of the dish. Fold edges of the dough underneath itself, creating a thicker, 1/4″ border that rests on the lip of the dish. Then, crimp edges.
4.) Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven. Pierce the bottom of the pie crust with a fork to prevent air pockets or bubbles forming while baking. Line the crust with two sheets of aluminum foil, being sure to push the foil against the edges of the crust. Then, fill foil with dried rice, dried beans, or pie weights. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
5.) Place pie crust onto preheated baking sheet and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.
6.) Make egg wash by mixing egg yolk and cream in a small bowl. Then, remove ice, beans, or pie weights and foil from pie crust. Brush bottom and sides of crust with egg wash. Bake until egg wash is dry and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool crust completely before filling.
7.) Add 2 cups of strawberries to a small saucepan and mash until they are slightly chunky. Add sugar, corn starch, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and glaze has thickened; 3 to 5 minutes. Cool completely.
8.) Combine remaining 3 cups of strawberries with cooled strawberry glaze. Stir until strawberries are well coated. Spoon strawberry filling into cooled pie crust.
9.) Refrigerate at least 2 hours before cutting to allow filling to set. Just before serving, top with whipped cream, if using.
10.) Serve and enjoy!