As a reward for chopping a certified boatload of rhubarb for her pies, my grandma gifted us with a hefty to-go sack of the pretty red-and-green plant to use as we see fit. I strongly considered making a strawberry-rhubarb pie, but I stuck with the plan that I originally hatched when I bought 2 pounds of the brightest, juiciest berries I've seen since last summer. That plan? Make the first strawberry pie of the summer and do not invite jello to the party. Mission: accomplished.
Never fear, I've got other plans in store for all of that rhubarb. ;)
The possibilities are endless – crisps, cocktails, oat bars, cobblers, salads, jams – the list goes on. I'll worry about the rhubarb later. Right now, my main concern is strawberry pie.
As a self-professed picky eater, I grew up hating pie in general. Yes, I hated pie. It's a crime, I know. Nevertheless, I detested it all. Cherry pie. Sugar creme pie. Banana creme pie. Chocolate pie. Key lime pie. Coconut pie. Pecan pie. Pumpkin pie. You name a kind of pie – I hated it. Except for strawberry pie. I can't explain my reasoning because it would take too long. Sugar creme pie is too sugary and creamy. Pumpkin pie… I just didn't understand. Cherry pie is too chunky and tart. But strawberry pie...
I watched my mom make it and when I was old enough, I helped her make it. And I devoured more than my fair share once it finally finished setting up in the refrigerator. Why, out of ALL the pies I chose to love strawberry pie, I may never know. Oh yeah, maybe that's because it's the best kind of pie. Duh.
It's been years since I tasted strawberry pie – ever since we realized how awful Jell-o is for a body – and this year, I decided it was time to skirt the issue with a Jell-o free version. It turned out to be so much simpler than I thought, and as an added bonus, it tasted even better than I remember. The strawberries are sweet enough on their own, without the added fruitiness of Jell-o. Without it, the pie's natural flavors come through fresher and more delicious.
Thanks to this pie, I now understand the meaning of "easy as pie." Whichever plump colonial-era matriarch first used that phrase was referring to this pie right here.
Pop a pie shell into the oven to crisp up, chop the berries and make the filling while it's baking, then fill the crust and chill it in the fridge for 2 hours. Granted, you could go the fancy route and make your own pie crust. Or you could even get fancier and fashion a lattice for the top. But if you ask me, a heaping spoonful of coconut whipped cream is the only accessory this pie needs.