It's nice to be coming back into fruit pie season (although April's Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Pie was nothing to sneeze at). It's not yet clear to me whether rhubarb will ever be in season here in the Southwest, so strawberry will tide me over for May's pie in the mean time.
I've never really been a strawberry pie fan. That artificial strawberry flavor that often appears in strawberry-flavored goodies has a taste that doesn't sit well with me, and the fruit often get really mushy in baked goods.
Throwing caution to the wind -- and because strawberries were on sale -- I searched for the right recipe. The lattice-topped pies route was appealing, but I've been having trouble getting my crusts to stay together lately and didn't want the frustration of attempting a lattice. (I've been using less water, thinking that would help with a lighter texture, but I think the freshly-milled flour really needs the extra moisture. Next time it's back to more water to see if that produces a more workable dough). Plain ol' strawberry filling in a pie shell seemed boring. Then recipes with crumble topping started popping up, which led me to a great one: Strawberry Pie with Crumb Topping and Almond Whipped Cream.
No awful artificial strawberry flavor here! There are strawberries galore, the texture is great (but does soften after the first day), and the crumb topping is a wonderful alternative to a lattice top. The use of almond oil in the whipped cream is not something I would have thought of, and it's a wonderful complement to the fresh and tart strawberry flavor. I was worried all of the cornstarch would influence the flavor, but I didn't find that to be the case.
I'm a strawberry pie convert.
Adapted from Strawberry Pie with Crumb Topping and Almond Whipped Cream
- dough for a 7-inch pie (my favorite recipe)
- 60 g freshly-milled soft white wheat flour
- 28 g light brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 56.5 g unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 455 g (a 1-lb container) fresh strawberries
- 44 g granulated sugar
- 15 g freshly-milled soft white wheat flour
- 22 g cornstarch
- 1/2 c heavy cream
- 1 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- Roll out the pie dough and place it in a 7-inch pie tin. Place in the freezer while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- Pulse the crumble topping ingredients in a food processor until crumbly. Move to a small bowl and refrigerate while preparing the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a small baking sheet with foil to catch the drips while baking.
- Hull the strawberries and rinse well. Halve the smaller strawberries and quarter the larger ones. Blot dry.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, remaining flour, and cornstarch. Add the strawberries and toss together gently with hands until coated.
- Mound the strawberries into the pie shell and top with crumb topping (my strawberries piled quite high and I had to press the crumb topping into the berries to keep it in place).
- Place the pie on top of the lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 375° and bake 30 more minutes, checking part way through to see if it needs a foil dome to keep the top from browning too much. Sprinkle top with some extra sugar and bake an additional 10 minutes.
- Cool for a few hours, then prepare the whipped cream when ready to serve. Whip the cream until it starts to hold its shape, then add in the almond extract and confectioner's sugar and whip until it's the desired consistency.