Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Mother's Strawberry Pie

This photo was taken in 1992, just a few months before my mom died. Kenny, Matthew and I were living in Durham, NC at the time.

With strawberry season upon us, I just have to share this recipe and these thoughts in memory of my mother….

I have never met a dessert I haven’t liked. I got this (un)enviable characteristic from my mom, Irene Lester, who loved to eat desserts as much as she loved to make them! In fact, she was known for making a wide assortment of delicacies. I have such fond memories of growing up in a home where there were always delicious cakes and pies and fruit desserts, oh my! And the platters of fudge were simply the best! When family and friends came to visit they would place “requests” for their favorites. I remember one occasion where someone requested a ‘repeat’ of a dessert my mom had never made. The person confidently maintained that she knew my mom had made the recipe for her once before, years previously. Although she had never made it, my mother graciously found a recipe and made it anyway, to rave reviews. She was like that.

One of my favorite desserts was my mom’s strawberry pie. I think that’s because she had loved Shoney’s Strawberry Pie for so many years and when she discovered this recipe (from where, I have no idea), she was in heaven! She was so happy with this recipe! And it’s no wonder – this recipe is the best strawberry pie I’ve ever tasted. Make your own crust and use fresh strawberries with this filling for the best strawberry pie ever! My mom did not enjoy making pie crusts (in fact, she used pre-made unbaked crusts), so I have included the recipe I always use. I love homemade pie crusts and I love this pie crust recipe! I think the combination of this particular crust with the strawberries and filling is awesome!

I still miss you so much, mommy! I remember so many fun times in the kitchen with you and planning get-togethers with family and friends. You taught me hospitality by living it every day. I often think of you as I am preparing meals and desserts and I will always cherish my memories of you and my love of the kitchen and all things home I learned from you. You are still so much a part of who I am. I love you.

Note: These recipes from my collection were first published in The Daily Record on June 18, 2003 in the "President's Cookbook" when I was involved with Relay for Life. I know some of you have shared with me that you kept that article and still use some of those recipes. I'm so glad!! So, the recipe for the "The Perfect Pie Crust" and "My Mom's Strawberry Pie" are the same recipes that were published at that time along with several others.

My Mom's Strawberry Pie

1-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 Tbls. cornstarch
1 small box strawberry gelatin
fresh strawberries

-Combine water, sugar and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat and allow to boil for two minutes. Remove from heat and add gelatin slowly, while stirring. Let mixture cool to lukewarm.
-While mixture is cooling, cap, wash and slice strawberries; allow to drain thoroughly. Spread evenly into baked pie crust (see recipe below for my Perfect Pie Crust).
-Pour cooled gelatin mixture over berries. Cool completely before serving. Keep pie refrigerated.
-Note: Recipe doubles very nicely.

My Recipe for The Perfect Pie Crust
1 cup all-purpose flour (sift after measuring)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup shortening (I use regular solid Crisco , but NOT butter-flavored)
2-3 Tbls. cold water

-Sift flour and salt together.
-Cut shortening into flour with pastry blender or 2 dinner knives until the size of small peas. Be sure all shortening pieces are coated with flour.
-Using a fork, toss while adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time (I like to use water with ice cubes in it so that it's REALLY cold water.).
-Mix with fork until all particles stick together and ball forms. Wrap ball of dough in waxed paper and allow in chill in fridge.
-Lightly roll out pastry on floured surface. Lift into pie plate and pat out air. If crust is to be baked without filling, use fork to carefully prick bottom (you want to get out the air, but making holes too large will enable liquid to seep through, which will ultimately make the crust soggy). Fold under edges and crimp. Bake at about 425-450 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until LIGHTLY browned. Watch CLOSELY.
This recipe doubles beautifully!!

Note: DO NOT prick bottom if you are going to use this crust in a filled pie.

If you try these recipes, please write a comment or email me to tell me how they turn out!

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