I really just could not wait to share this recipe with you. Can you blame me? Even right now as I am writing this, my heart is pitter-pattering just thinking about this lovely, juicy, sunny strawberry pie.
So, its really no secret that I have been obsessed with fresh, in-season berries. I just can't get enough of them; when I see them at the farmer's market, their beautiful, bright faces just seem to whisper, "Take me home with you..." And of course I am a more than happy to oblige them. If if wasn't for the fact that berries are packed with antioxidants, this might be an unhealthy obsession. Lucky for me, I can even bake strawberries into a pie and call it healthy.
I decided to make this pie as a submission for a contest put on by Ms. Humble from Not So Humble Pie. I LOVE her blog, and it is definitely close to the top of my list of favorites. She has a wonderful voice when she speaks about her baked goods, and every single one of her dessert creations seems like the food equivalent of a runway model with a mellow soul: gorgeous enough to be straight off the page of a magazine, but not so pretentious that it is unapproachable. Everything Ms. Humble shares always makes my mouth water, my tummy rumble, and all those sweet tastebuds on my tongue scream for attention. And it certainly doesn't hurt that she was a scientist in a former life.
California Cutie Pie
All-butter pastry dough:
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 tsp salt
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (optional)
3-5 tablespoons ice water
Filling and Glaze:
At least 4 cups strawberries, hulled (one large flat, I think it has 3 pints)
5 clementine oranges (or 6 if you want to use one for topping)
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup total fruit juice (juice from clementines, plus additional juice from concentrate or other source)
For pastry dough, blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or pulse in a food processor (easiest) until most of mixture resembles coarse sand with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Add lemon peel and pulse a few more times. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and or pulse until incorporated. Squeeze a small handful: If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, ½ tablespoon at a time, pulsing until incorporated, then test again. Dough will eventually be pliable but not too sticky. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and work with hands for a minute or two to evenly distribute butter. Press dough into a ball, then flatten into a 5-inch disk. Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap at least 1 hour or overnight.
When ready to bake the crust, preheat oven to 425°F. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a roughly 13-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, fold edge overhangs for top of crust, and pierce crust all over with a fork. Cover entire crust and sides with large piece of aluminum foil, pressing down into curvature of pie center and sides; fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake pie crust 20 minutes, then remove foil and pie weights; crust will be lightly golden. Bake for an additional 5-8 minutes until crust is browned and fully baked. Remove from oven, immediately brush with a thin layer of egg white, and cool on a rack.
Meanwhile, make glaze and prepare the filling. For about 3/4 of the strawberries, cut into 1/4 inch slices and place in a medium bowl. For the other 1/4 (try to choose berries that are roughly the same size), slice in half lengthwise, and set aside. Segment the five clementines, cutting over a small bowl to catch all the juices, and put the segments in the medium bowl with the strawberries. To make the glaze, combine sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and mix, then add water, juice from clementines, and juice concentrate (or strawberry juice). Warm over medium heat until mixture starts to boil and thicken, and then boil for one additional minute; remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Assemble pie. Spread strawberry-clementine mixture evenly in pie crust. Pour 3/4 of the glaze over the filling and smooth. For halved strawberries, dip in remaining glaze and arrange decoratively in a circular pattern on the top. If desired, arrange halved clementines in a border.