July always feels like the epitome of summer to me. Back when I was in school, it was far enough into summer holiday that I was in full summer mode – aka
covered in bug bites and my hair turning into a golden rod shade relaxed, tan and maybe even a little bored. When I was really little, July was the month my grandma used to take us berry picking. Picking berries when you’re little goes something like “one for the bucket, one for the tummy”. Grandma would joke that they should weigh the children as they arrived and again when they left. After we were done picking, we’d take our bounty home, our clothes and faces stained with the fruit of our labor, wash the fragrant berries and then lay them out on the counter to dry. My mom would take up the task of de-stemming and chopping the berries, freezing some and turning others into delicious summer treats like smoothies, short cake and fresh pies.
While I love strawberry short cake as much as anybody (maybe more), my true strawberry love lays with this fresh strawberry pie. Just something about the combination of textures and how all the flavors come together after chilling…it’s simply divine. My mom made this pie frequently throughout the summer, due to high requests from our family (I believe this was also a favorite of my Grandpa). After the strawberries were past their peak season, we’d switch over to a peach variation. Also delicious.
The OG version of this pie includes a pie crust recipe from an old family friend made with vegetable shortening (aka, crisco), but I updated it with both a coconut oil version you can find here and a vegan butter variation. For this pie, I preferred the vegan butter version. The crust has a more flakey texture that I think suites this pie perfectly. So that’s what you see pictured and the recipe is below. Whether you use regular or vegan butter (both work in the below recipe), the key here is very cold butter, if your butter is too warm (aka you used the microwave to heat it up because its easier to mix the dough) your crust will fall into its self while baking. If your house is very warm, I recommend popping the crust into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes before baking.
Cold butter. Just saying.
Fresh Strawberry Pie
3 ounces strawberry gelatin
4 cups strawberries, chopped
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
3/4 cup cane sugar
Vegan Pie Crust
2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons vegan butter
1/4 cup water
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
optional: 1/2 flax egg* (3 teaspoons ground flax + 1 tablespoon water + 1 teaspoon water) (or use 1/2 chicken egg)
Grease 9 inch pie dish. Preheat oven to 425°
To make the crust, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Make well in center and pour in water, vinegar and flax egg. Mix with spatula. Cut in butter until you’re left with small crumbs. Turn out onto floured countertop, knead very briefly to pull dough together. Add up to 2 tablespoons water, if needed. Roll out into circle to fit 9 inch pie dish, the crust should be thick, roughly 1/8 to 1/4 inch. Gently place dough into pie dish, cut edges to fit and crimp if desired. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.
To make the filling, in a sauce pan heat water. Once boiling, add sugar and cornstarch. Let simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add gelatin. Let cool, roughly 15-20 minutes.
When crust is cooled, place cut strawberries in and pour gelatin mixture over berries. Place in refrigerator until set. Serve cold, topped with coconut whipped cream.
*the egg is optional. Honestly, it turns out amazing both with and without, but the egg gives the crust a little more hold while allowing it to be flakey still.