Strawberry pie comes in many delightful variations. Some recipes are very simply a baked bottom crust piled with minimally cooked strawberries. The strawberries may be coated in simple syrup to add sweetness. This can be served with whipping or ice cream and can be a painless experience to make. Other times, a strawberry pie has strawberries layered on top of custard, which are then topped with whipping cream.
The classic strawberry pie is made using sliced strawberries between two pie crusts. Such pies may feature a lattice crust, and if you’re using fresh strawberries, you’ll want to give the berries time to sit in some sugar and lemon juice to sweeten. Perhaps even more essential than the strawberries themselves, is learning how to make sure juice doesn’t escape the pie in massive amounts.
If you’re not using a prepared pie filling, you’ll want to make sure you add adequate amounts of one of the following: cornstarch, flour, or tapioca. These are thickeners, which will help keep the juices from overflowing your pie. Flour makes a thicker juice that is opaque, and cornstarch and tapioca will help the strawberries produce a clear red juice. Each has its merits and you can choose the one you generally prefer using. Other people use gelatin to thicken the strawberry filling.
One common variation with strawberry pie is to use cooked rhubarb and strawberry together. These thicken nicely, and provide a tart-sweet combination that just begs for the addition of vanilla ice cream. When you cook your own strawberries or strawberry and rhubarb together, it helps the filling stay thick rather than runny. Cooking time will also be shorter, since you have pre-cooked your ingredients, and if you want a shortcut, you can use strawberry rhubarb pie filling.
One of the principle problems with making two crust strawberry pies is that the top crust may undercook while the strawberries get mushy. To avoid this, many people do recommend either baking a one-crust pie or using a few decorative crust pieces on top of the strawberry filling. A lattice crust will also cook more quickly and may be a better choice.
There are other ways to make strawberry pie that are no bake versions. You can use a premade graham cracker crust and combine strawberries with whipped cream or whipped topping to fill the crust. If you want, you can add sliced or whole strawberries on top.
You can also bake a bottom crust in advance and then cook strawberries on the stovetop. Layer the cooked strawberries into the pie and top with whipped topping. Alternately, employ a half and half method, where the top half of the pie contains whole strawberries and the bottom is cooked strawberry pie filling.