so berry – fresh strawberry cream pie

so berry – fresh strawberry cream pie

The perfume of strawberries fills the hot afternoon air at the Farmer’s Market. As much I think of them as berries, they aren’t.

True berries, such as blueberries or cranberries, have seeds inside the fruit. Strawberries have dried yellow seeds on the outside that are considered to be individual fruits. On average, there are 200 on every strawberry.

Just eight strawberries contain 140% of USDA recommendation of Vitamin C, and they are low in calories with only 55 in one cup. All that’s good, but I’d rather talk about desert.

This pie starts off with an unconventional deep-dish pie crust lined with a thin layer of almond paste. This sets up the foundation to embrace copious amount of strawberries. First comes a thick layer of strawberry cream, and then two pounds of “fruit” tossed in a fresh strawberry glaze for extra oomph.


Fresh Strawberry & Cream Pie


Pâte Sucrée
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (10 ouches) all-purpose flour
  • 16 tablespoons (8 ounces/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, frozen
  • 1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup almond paste (optional)
Strawberry Cream
  • 3/4 pound (about 2-1/2 cups) strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 cup (1-3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces and softened
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
Fresh Strawberry Filling
  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, gently rinsed and dried, hulled
  • 1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 4 teapoons Sure-Jell for low-sugar recipes (pink box)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sliced almond, lightly crushed (optional)


Pâte Sucrée

1. Combine egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl, whisk to combine, set aside.

2. Place flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor, pulse until combined and aerated, about five 1-sec pulses. Add frozen butter and pulse until butter is the size of peas. Add egg mixture until combined. Test the dough by squeezing with your fingers, if it holds, it’s done. (If you let dough come together into a ball, you have over worked the dough).

3. Empty dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and gently gather into a 6-inch disc by pulling up sides of plastic wrap and press lightly with your knuckles. Wrap dough with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold but malleable, about 45 minutes.

Note: pastry dough can be refrigerate (up to 2 days) or freeze (up to 6 months).

4. Roll dough on lightly floured surface into approximately a13-14-inch circle and transfer to a removable bottom quiche/deep tart pan. Press dough into corners and sides of pan, being careful not to stretch dough. Trim overhang of dough with small pairing knife. Prick bottom of dough all over with tines of fork. Wrap in plastic and freeze for 20 minutes.

5. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375℉. Remove tart shell from freezer, line with parchment and filled with pie weights. Bake until tart crust looks dry and lightly colored, about 20-25 minutes. Remove weights and paper, continue to bake until golden brown, about another 15-20 minutes longer. Let cool on rack, for 15 minutes.

6. Roll almond paste (if use) between two pieces of plastic wrap into a disc, approximately 10-inch. Remove plastic wrap on one side and line warm pie crust, press slightly to where to bottom. Remove plastic wrap and let cool on rack completely.

Strawberry Cream

1. In blender or food processor, pulse berries until most are approximately 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer strawberries to a bowl and toss with 3 tablespoons of sugar and salt, set aside for 20 minutes. (No need to wash blender/food processor)

2. Strain strawberries mixture through fine-mesh strainer into bowl. Measure out 1-1/2 tablespoons juice into small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over juice, and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes.

3. Set strawberries in strainer aside, place remaining juice in small saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1 1/2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add softened gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin has dissolved. Add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Transfer mixture to large bowl to cool slightly.

3. Add strawberry to empty blender/food processor and process until smooth, about 30-45 seconds. Strained pureé through fine-mesh strainer into strawberry-gelatin mixture, whisk to combine.

4. Using a hand mixer, whip cream on low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Gradually add remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and whip until stiff peaks form, about 1 minutes. Whisk whipped cream into strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain. Pour filling into prepared pie shell and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Fresh Strawberry Filling

1. Select approximate 1 cup (4-5 ounces) misshapen, underripe, or otherwise unattractive berries. In blender or food processor, process berries to smooth puree, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed. You should have about 1/2 cup pureé.

2. Whisk sugar, Sure-Jell, and salt in medium saucepan, stir in berry puree to fully combine. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with heatproof rubber spatula, and bring to full boil, about 1 minute (mixture will appear frothy). Transfer to large bowl and stir in lemon juice and let cool slightly.

3. Add remaining berries to bowl with glaze and fold gently with rubber spatula until berries are evenly coated. Scoop berries on top of strawberry mousse in pie shell decoratively or just pile into a mound. Refrigerate pie until chilled, about 2 hours. Pie best served within the day.