Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Classic Strawberry Cream Pie

A few days ago I came home to a kitchen table overflowing with pints of strawberries, filling the house with their ripe perfume. My first emotion was a hit of sadness, as I'm missing some of the best weeks of Portland's own strawberry season while I'm down here in Los Angeles, but my second emotion could only be described as OH-YES-ITS-PIE-TIME!

After a brief Tastespotting search, I came across a recipe for a classic Strawberry Cream Pie from the Better Homes & Gardens Dessert Cook Book, published in 1960, the age of REAL DESSERTS, and after a few modifications (like replacing some of the whipped cream with sour cream for a cheescakier flavor), I had a really gorgeous pie that showcased the berries in all of their glory.

This was the dessert of my "Last Supper" before getting my wisdom teeth out yesterday, and it was a perfect accompaniment to big, meaty beef ribs with my dad's improvised BBQ sauce (think crushed pineapple, beet juice, chipotle hot sauce, red onions, garlic, tomato sauce, molasses, honey, mustard, apple cider vinegar, and grilled pickled jalapenos), crunchy coleslaw with my secret creamy dressing, and grilled ratatouille with lots of fresh basil.

By contrast, the past two days have been filled with frozen yogurt, mashed potatoes, and tomato basil soup, which, let me tell you, is going to get old real fast. I keep having daydreams of Screen Door fried chicken, toasted Kettlemans bagels, crispy cucumbers, and, well, anything not mushy. At least I can still write about/read about/watch movies about food. Yes, at least there's that. Eat crunchy things for me!

Classic Strawberry Cream Pie
Adapted from Laura Flowers and Better Homes & Gardens Dessert Cook Book, published 1960.

1 9-inch pie crust (I use the 'Foolproof Pie Dough' from Cooks' Illustrated)
1 recipe cream filling (below)
3 cups fresh strawberries
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Pre-bake pie crust using pie weights or dried beans. Let cool. Fill with chilled Cream Filling. Quarter two and a half cups of the strawberries, place in large bowl. Crush remaining half cup berries (I used a potato masher); add water; cook 2 minutes. Mix sugar and cornstarch: gradually stir into berry sauce. Cook over low heat, and stir until thick. Cool slightly; pour over bowl of quartered strawberries, mix well. Arrange over cream filling. Keep refrigerated until served.

Cream Filling

½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons enriched flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
1 slightly beaten egg
½ cup sour cream

Mix first 4 ingredients. Gradually stir in cream. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil; reduce heat and stir until thick. Stir a little of the hot mixture into egg; return to remaining hot mixture. Bring just to boiling, stirring constantly. Cool, then chill. Beat well; fold in sour cream. (I'd let this cool for a few hours, at least, maybe even overnight before piling the strawberries on top. That gives it more of a cheesecake-y texture that is really amazing)


  1. Oh no worries about strawberry season up here in Portland! Its been non stop rain for a week, strawberries aren't getting the sun they love...

  2. I got the butternut squash you asked for; it should be a good break from potatoes. The pie looked beautiful, and it tasted lovely! Thanks.

  3. Everybody's making strawberry desserts. I've got to get on the bandwagon while the season lasts and make this luscious pie.

  4. I made your version today for Father's Day dessert. Yummmm!!!! Thanks :)

    Heather in Nova Scotia

  5. Your pie is so beautiful! I'm glad you made this one and even adapted it to your tastes. Hopefully desserts like these will live forever.


  6. I know this is an old post, but I found this recipe via Pinterest and am making it tonight (so what if it's not summer? It's 80 in Phoenix- feels like summer to me!)

    Thanks so much for sharing-
    Valerie- www.occasionallycrafty.blogspot.com

  7. You use sourcream and not cream cheese?

  8. I made this for my husband's birthday and everyone loved it! I had extra cream filling so we used it as a dipping sauce for crepes, sooooo good!

  9. I am making this now and I'm so excited! I had a question though.. I just got done making the cream filling and it basically turned into this gel type gooey substance when I took it off the stove. Is this normal or is there something i did wrong? Thanks!!

  10. My filling did fine but having a hard time getting the strawberry mixture to thicken

  11. Great article and right to the point. I don't know if this is truly the best place to ask but do you folks have any idea where to employ some professional writers.

  12. This is really wonderful that I have found this website. I would really admire the efforts made here to make the content & the whole stuff more wonderful than others.

  13. I wish I would have followed the original version by Laura Flowers.