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Tuesday, May 7, 2024

BOOK/A TABLE - Fresh Strawberry Pie

If only the wicked Alec DUrberville hadnt tempted Tess with the strawberries that led her down the path to ruin! But alas, he did. 

“He stood up and held it by the stem to her a slight distress she parted her lips and took it in...”

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by the marvelous Thomas Hardy is my favorite book. I’ve read it several times and always hope that things will turn out differently for her in the end. Tess’s cries to Angel Clare (the man who nearly saved her from Alec, had cruel fate not stepped in) still fiddle with my nerve endings to this day: “Too late! Too late!”

The story is never too far from my mind, and I was reminded of it again when I pulled up this New York Times recipe for Strawberry Pie. Its not too late for you, gentle readerto partake of the luscious splendor. Soon, in June (just a month away) youll have your pick of the best, freshest strawberries of the year. Can I tempt you...?

Fresh Strawberry Pie
Adapted from a recipe by Samantha Seneviratne 

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

10 ⅔ ounces shortbread cookies (two 5⅓-ounce packages)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

2½ pounds strawberries (about 8 to 10 cups), hulled
⅓ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons strawberry preserves
¼ cup cornstarch
Pinch of kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)


Step 1
Prepare crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, combine shortbread cookies, sugar, flour and salt and blend until you have fine crumbs. Transfer crumbs to a medium mixing bowl. Add butter and mix with a fork until crumbs are evenly moistened. Tip crumbs into a standard 9-inch pie plate and press them in an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Bake until golden brown and set, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Step 2
Prepare filling: Cut each of the strawberries in quarters or eighths, if they are large. Transfer 2 cups berries to a small saucepan and crush completely with a potato masher. Set aside the remaining berries in a large bowl. Add the sugar, preserves, cornstarch, 1 tablespoon water and salt to the saucepan.

Step 3
Bring strawberry mixture to a boil over medium heat and then cook it an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add strawberry mixture and lemon juice to the strawberries in the bowl and stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared crust and gently tap it down into an even layer. Transfer to the fridge to set for at least 4 hours.

Step 4
Just before serving, whip cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, if using, to soft peaks. Top pie with whipped cream.


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