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Fresh Strawberry Pie Dessert for a Crowd

Posted By Andi Bidwell

I love fresh strawberry pie. When I was in high school, Nelson's Family Restaurant in Richfield (MN) became famous for their fresh strawberry pie. It was piled high with fresh strawberries, held together with a strawberry glaze and topped with lots of whipped cream. I often think of their pies this time of the year when fresh strawberries are in season and at their best.

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Since pies can be a bit intimidating to make, especially for a novice baker, I decided to make a really simple-to-make dessert based on my memory of Nelson's Fresh Strawberry Pie recipe. And I added my touch to the recipe with a sweet-buttery layer to bind the berries and crust together and to make the dessert easier to serve.

Start with a Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust and roll it out to 14x10-inch rectangle.

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Place the dough into a 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Trim off any excess dough with a table knife. You can piece together any cracks or missing corners, by pressing dough scraps into these areas. Prick dough all over with fork to prevent puffing up.

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Bake the crust at 425°F. for 9 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.

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Make a filling of butter, powdered sugar, eggs and vanilla. (Note:Because this filling isn't baked, you have to use pasteurized eggs.) Spread the filling over the baked crust.

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To make the glaze, purée some of the berries in a food processor; add to a boiling water-sugar mixture. Thicken with cornstarch; strain through a sieve.

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Fold remaining whole berries into the glaze; spread over the filling.

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To serve, cut into squares and dollop each with a big spoonful of whipped cream.

Fresh Strawberry Pie Dessert for a Crowd
(This crowd-size dessert is easier to make and transport than two pies.)

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Start to Finish:3 hours 5 minutes

12 servings

1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box

Glaze and Topping
4 quarts small strawberries, hulled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
10 drops red food color, if desired

Filling
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 pasteurized eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped Cream
1/2 cups whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Heat oven to 425°F. Unroll crust on lightly floured surface. Roll to 14x10-rectangle (edges can be uneven). Place dough in bottom of 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Trim off any excess dough with table knife so dough fits flat in bottom of dish. Use dough scraps to patch at corners if necessary. Prick dough all over with fork. Bake 9 to 10 minutes or until evenly light golden brown. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in food processor bowl with metal blade, place ½ quart (about 2 cups) of the strawberries. Cover; process until smooth, set aside. In 2-quart saucepan, mix granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat

In small bowl, combine cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. Stir cornstarch mixture and puréed berries into hot sugar mixture. Return to heat. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute or until thickened; stir in red food color. For a clear glaze, immediately strain mixture through a sieve placed over a medium bowl. Cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

To make filling, in large bowl, beat butter with electric mixture on high speed until smooth and creamy. Add powdered; continue to beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Fold in vanilla.
Spread filling mixture evenly over crust. Refrigerate until strawberry mixture has cooled.

In large bowl, combine remaining strawberries with thickened strawberry mixture. Pour over baked crust; spread to edges. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate about 2 hour hours or until set.
Chill large bowl and beaters in freezer or refrigerator 10 to 20 minutes. In chilled bowl, beat whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla on low speed of electric mixer until mixture begins to thicken. Gradually increase speed to high and beat just until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat or mixture will curdle.

Cut into 3 rows by 4 rows. Spoon dollop of whipped cream over each serving.

Tip: If you have strawberries in a variety of sizes, you may need to cut the larger ones in half. Mix the cut berries with half of the thickened strawberry glaze; spread over filling in baking dish. Combine remaining whole berries with remaining half of glaze; pour over halved berries and glaze.


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