This week I've been thinking about what we eat, and where our food comes from. When I was a young girl, my grandmother's basement was chock full of canned goods that she canned from her garden. She had green beans, bread and butter pickels, dill pickels, tomatoes, apples, apple sauce, apple butter, corn, beets, yellow squash, and on and on. All of these came straight out of her garden. We always had "fresh" green beans at Thanksgiving. Oh how I wish she would've taught me how to can and preserve food. I'm sure she would have been delighted to show me too. Had I known then what I know now, I would've come down from that apple tree in her backyard that I spent HOURS in as a child, and paid a little more attention to her working in the kitchen. So, I called my mother last night, and she's going to teach me how to can. I don't have an acutal garden, but I'm planting a few things this year to get the feeling for it: herbs, tomatoes, lettuces and some hot peppers. Spring is here, and the strawberries looked AMAZING at the store. I've decided to master the art of the pie this year. I think my friends and co-workers will be pleased since I'll be giving away all the test pies (minus a piece or two).
When someone says "strawberry pie", I immediately think of cardboard crust, unripened strawberries, and red gooey glue. Okay, I think of Shoney's. Yuck. I've never understood why someone would want to eat that red gooey glue. Here's the ingredients: High fructose corn syrup, water, strawberries, corn syrup, modified cornstarch, citric acid, cellulose gel, FD&C red#40, FD&C yellow #6, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (preservatives), salt, sodiumcitrate, artificial flavor. No thanks. I'll stick with the filling with five ingredients I can pronounce. I have to say, I was pretty damn proud of myself on this one.
For the crust, any recipe will do really. You could even buy store bought frozen crust ((GASP)), but I wouldn't tell anyone. Just buy two, because you'll need one for the bottom, and one to make the lattice. I didn't have an actual rolly thing to cut the dough into pretty strips, so I just used a knife. Before baking, brush the crust with eggwash and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar. That gives it a nice rich golden color, and a slightly sweet crunch.
For the filling:
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons minute tapioca (this keeps the pie less runny)
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
5 cups sliced and diced fresh strawberries
Stir the filling ingredients. Place in pie shell. I think you could even do this non-lattice (is that a word? ha!) Brush with eggwash and sprinkle with sugar. Cover LOOSELY with foil and bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake for another 30-35 minutes until the fruit is bubbly. Don't forget to put a baking pan of some kind on the rack below the pie to catch splatters and drips. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream if you want, but I just ate it plain.