The Bun’s birthday was this past Saturday and, per tradition, he gets a strawberry pie every year. I know that I could probably hunt down a store-bought version somewhere, but I don’t really ever trust them to be what I want. I also think that they are extremely perishable, so it is easier just to make my own instead of taking a chance on getting a bad one.
Over the years I’ve been making strawberry pies, I have experimented with different crusts, different treatments of the berries, and different glazes. I think that this year’s version was pretty good. I really like the way the pie looks when you just take the tops off of the berries and place them in the crust (as in the picture). I have tried slicing them and it just ends up looking like a jello pie with strawberries in it. The glaze I made this year was very tasty, very easy, and in the end, looked pretty nice. I kind of prefer the way that a gelatin glaze looks because it is clear instead of cloudy, but it is far more labor-intensive than the cornstarch version I present here. Regarding the crust, I think that a good pate brisee is the right choice for flakiness and integrity. A trick I learned this year using an egg wash helps to keep the crust from getting soggy from the juice of the berries and the glaze.
If you can find local berries for this recipe, I highly recommend them (we got a bunch from the French market that came from Michigan); each bite is a little taste of summer, in spite of the still wintry feel here in Chicago. Strawberry Pie.