When it comes to birthdays, most of us eat cake. Sure, the kind varies — yellow with chocolate frosting, white cupcakes with sprinkles, even red velvet — but when it’s time to blow out the candles, you can bet we’re doing it over a cake.
Unless you’re my dad.
He favors fresh strawberry pie, and lucky for him, his birthday falls in berry season at the end of June. He was in town this week for ballet recitals, swim meets and the like, so I surprised him with an early birthday pie.
In a fresh berry pie, the filling is cooked over the stove then added to a pre-baked shell. The only tricky part is when you mix the crushed berries with sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice to make the glaze. Resist the temptation to put down the spoon and prep another dish; the glaze turns from cloudy to clear in an instant and you don’t want to miss it.
Fresh Strawberry Pie
Adapted from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book
5-6 cups strawberries, cleaned and hulled
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar (more if the berries aren’t perfectly ripe)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pre-baked 9-inch pie crust
Slice half the berries and crush the rest, keeping the two piles separate. Put the crushed berries in a small pan and add the cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the mixture thickens and turns clear. Put it in a different bowl (off the heat) to cool. Gently stir in the sliced berries and spoon into the crust. When ready to serve, top each slice with whipped cream.