Saturday, 21 April 2012

Baked Strawberry Pie with Crumble Topping

It's strange that every other type of berry pie you see requires baking, but strawberries get relegated to simply being glazed with gelatinous goo, as if they're too rarefied to be cooked.  That's a shame, because baked strawberry pie is really good in a homey, simple kind of way.  It does get quite mushy, it's true, more so than other berries do, but with a crumb topping and a bottom crust to give it a bit of texture, and my usual accompanying custard/cream/ice cream recommendation, it has a delicious puddingy quality - just serve it in a bowl with a spoon, as getting clean slices from this (even when completely cooled) can be challenging.

Baked Strawberry Pie with Crumble Topping

1 store-bought 9-inch pastry round (or make your own if you’re industrious)
½ cup sugar 
¾ cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
½ cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch 
1 teaspoon vanilla
a squirt of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400F.
To make topping: In a medium bowl, cut together with a pastry cutter the ½ cup sugar, ¾ cup flour, butter, and nutmeg until butter is in small pea-sized pieces.  You can use your fingers if you don’t have a pastry cutter, but work quickly to avoid melting the butter too much.  Put this bowl in the fridge until you're ready to sprinkle the topping on the pie.

Place strawberries in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the ½ cup sugar, ½ cup flour, and cornstarch.  Gently coat berries with this mixture, then add lemon juice and vanilla and stir in; be careful not to crush berries.  

Pour berries into prepared pie crust, mounding them in the middle.  Mounding is necessary as the berries will sink as they bake.  Cover berries with crumb topping and top crumbs with about 5 pea-sized dots of butter.  
Bake pie for 20 minutes, then place a drip pan on lowest shelf to catch pie juices and reduce heat to 375F and bake for an additional 40 minutes.  Wrap edges of pie crust with foil if the crust starts to brown too much.  Let cool completely before cutting – best if let sit in the fridge awhile to let the juices set.

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