Monday, May 7, 2012

Shortberry Pie

Yeah, I know, it's been a while. Life happens. Kids happen. So much has happened that we might as well move on and talk about pie.
I love pie. I don't eat is as much as I would like and that is probably a good thing!
When the salesman and I first started dating he introduced me to his Great Granny who makes a killer strawberry rhubarb pie. It has been his request every year for his birthday since we married. I asked Granny how to make it years ago and she basically told me to dump in some sugar, berries, rhubarb and butter and it would turn out alright. Don't you just love recipes like that? Well last night I was craving some strawberry pie. I had a few berries that were sort of becoming nasty lasties (you should know that term by now) in my fridge. They were well past their peak but I kept hanging on to them until I could figure out what to do with them. I decided to try out a peek a boo pie, the kind where you roll out the dough pizza style, dump your filling then the middle then gently fold the sides in. I am way too lazy to crimp edges and butter a dish. This yummy pie had all of the wonderful elements of a good strawberry shortcake including lots of buttery crust, sugary sweet berries and a small...maybe large scoop of whipped cream. It also had the extra hint of cinnamon and orange with pair perfectly with the berries.This was "easy as pie" (I know, I did it) to put together and was perfect for our family of four. You could easily double this recipe to make a larger pie but I liked how we were able to gobble it all up and not have left overs (not that I would mind that for breakfast). If you are feeling really lazy, you can easily fill up four small ramekins with the strawberry filling then top each a layer of crust (sort of like a mini pie). Just be sure you poke holes in the crust to allow steam to get out. I didn't have any rhubarb on hand but it would be a great addition to this filling.
So, what are you waiting for? Get to cookin'!

2 cups of strawberries hulled and cubed
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp corn starch
Combine all of the above in a bowl. Set aside.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp regular or buttermilk

Combine all of the above in another bowl. Using a pastry fork or two forks, mash in 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter cubed and 3 Tbsp water until it is thoroughly mixed. Gently dump the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and gently mash it together with your hands until it forms a night smooth ball. You don't want to over mix it, you want to see little flecks of butter throughout the dough. Butter flecks ensure that it has a nice flaky crust.
Once the dough is combined, roll it into a ball, wrap it with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for about 20 minutes to chill. After it has had time to set up, remove it from the plastic wrap and gently roll it out onto a lightly floured surface until it is about the size of a large dinner plate, or about 9" across.
Very carefully, slide it onto your baking dish (I used a pizza stone but you can use a basic cookie sheet). Spoon the strawberry filling into the center leaving about 2 inches of crust boarder but DON'T pour the juice yet. Gently fold the sides up and in making a pocket of sorts to secure in all of the filling. After it is folded you can spoon in a tablespoon or two of the juice.
Take a pastry brush and gently brush the edges with milk (this makes it have a soft buttery texture reminiscent of short cakes) and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon, sugar and salt.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until the crust is lightly browned. Allow it to cool for a bit before slicing so the juices have time to set.  Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy Y'all!

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