Friday, 2 May 2014

Strawberry Pie

I've been wanting to try a strawberry pie for a while since one was mentioned in a novel (well I say a novel but it was one of those books where the heroine makes a pie every time she gets stressed and is still described as a young & willowy beautiful blond - how can she be if she's always eating pie?)

Anyway I digress ....could I find a recipe that worked for me? - no! 

So here's my version of Strawberry Pie....... minus the stressiness (is that a word?)

My extra twists are a shortbread biscuit topping instead of pastry and black pepper with the strawberries - don't ask me why - it just works - trust me!

The Recipe
(Serves 4)

For the Pastry
4oz plain flour
pinch salt
2oz butter - cubed
2-3 tbsp cold water

For Strawberry Filling
2 Large punnets strawberries (about 200g per punnet)- hulled & halved
1 dsp cornflour
1 dsp dry polenta or tapioca
2-3 dsp sugar (depends on how sweet your tooth is)
1 tsp vanilla paste (not essence & optional)
a few good twists of freshly ground black pepper

For Shortbread Biscuit Topping
6oz plain flour
4oz caster sugar
2oz butter - softened at room temperature

Pre-heat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6

First make your pastry - Put the flour & the salt into a bowl add the butter and, using your fingertips,
 'rub' into the flour - try & work quickly so the butter doesn't become too warm 

- your mixture should resemble bread crumbs when all the butter is rubbed in.

Add half of the water and, using a knife, bind together to make a dough adding more water if needed.

Cover & chill in the fridge

Whilst the pastry is chilling out in the fridge,check over your strawberries - I don't like to wash soft fruit but I  do
check over for 'bugs and foreign bodies' and I only buy fruit that hasn't been sprayed or treated (always
check the packaging) I find that when I've washed fruits such as berries they seem to lose flavour & texture.

Pop your prepared strawberries into a bowl and fold in the sugar, cornflour, polenta, vanilla and black pepper - do this carefully so as not to damage & bruise the fruit.
Cover & place the bowl in the fridge.

Gather together your pastry tins & grease. Flour your work surface & roll out the pastry, cut & fit to your tins.
(fancy edges are optional)

Cover and blind bake for 20 to 25mins, uncover & give them another 5mins just to dry the base a bit more
(there's nothing worse than a soggy bottom!)

Whilst the pastry cases are blind baking make your shortbread mixture.

Combine the flour, sugar & butter in a bowl and work together until you have a smooth dough.
Cover & pop in fridge for 10mins.  Flour your work surface & roll out to a 1/2 cm thickness and cut into 
your desired shapes, sprinkle with sugar and set aside.

Turn you oven down to 190C/170C/Gas 5

Using your fingers, divide the strawberries amongst the pastry cases, leaving behind as much of the juice
 as possible, and then place on the shortbread biscuit tops in a random pattern if you wish. 

Return to the oven & bake for 25mins or until the shortbread is starting to colour - if your pastry edges 
start to catch gently cover with a strip of tinfoil. Remove from the oven & allow to cool.

Serve at room temperature with a good dollop of cream 

The pies weren't as pretty to look at as I'd hoped but they tasted darn good....

Have a great bank holiday weekend

Liz x

printable recipe

 strawberry pie