I love strawberry shortcake! It’s such a fresh, simply delicious dessert. So when I saw a strawberry shortcake pie, I was intrigued. The crust for this pie isn’t your normal, flaky, run of the mill pie crust. This pie crust has leaveners in it which yields a thicker, almost spongy crust much like the shortcake base of the classic dessert. This makes it perfect for absorbing those sweet strawberry juices. This crust also has orange zest in it which is such a nice subtle compliment when combined with the taste of the strawberries.
Into this unique crust goes a homemade vanilla pastry cream which is to die for! I’ve never made pastry cream from scratch before. I must admit I was a little nervous when I read that I would be making it but the cream came together so easily. There was nothing to be intimidated by at all. In fact, making the pastry cream was done is all of about 10 minutes. It was so easy!
Then the pastry cream is topped with plump, juicy, red strawberries in a strawberry reduction. After chilling the pie for a few hours, it’s ready for a dollop of homemade whipped cream. It was absolutely delicious!
As a testament to that, Mike really enjoyed this! I’ve mentioned in the past that he can be a picky eater however, I was pleasantly surprised when he tried it (he’s not a fan of anything with pastry cream inside) and then even liked it.
So, a few things about this recipe. As I started out on this baking project I thought I may need to add a new tag called “disaster.” In the recipe it says that because we aren’t using pie weights that the crust may start to slide down the sides. (Oh, and you don’t want to use pie weights because you want your crust to rise.) If sliding occurs, you’re instructed to “simply” use a spoon to push the sides back up and keep baking.
Well… my crust went into the oven looking perfect and pretty.
It did not come out looking perfect and pretty despite it’s tastiness.
This crust WILL slide down the sides of your deep dish pie plate. You WILL need to push the sides up every minute or two if you want to even end up having sides at all however, you only need to do this for the first half of the baking time. After that, being that it’s half-baked, the sides seemed to start holding their own. Despite my frustration with that little piece of this project, it was well worth the aggravation of continuously pushing up the sides when that crust with strawberries and cream crossed my lips.
Secondly, when I was preplanning and I started calculating out how much time this project would take I started having palpitations… All together it was looking like it would take about 6 hours!! I began to calm down when I realized that 3 hours of that was chill time in the refrigerator. However, I will say this… this is not a pie that comes together quickly. There is a lot of time spent waiting for the crust to cool completely, the pastry cream to chill and the strawberry reduction cooling to room temperature. I would say my active time was about 2 hours with a lot of cooling/chilling time in between. So I would take your time with it and if you’re making it for an occasion, it may be wise to prepare this the day before and let it chill overnight.
All that being said, I assure you this pie was worth the time and effort that went into it. In fact, that probably made it taste all the sweeter. So, enjoy making it and share the fruit of your labor with others.
Strawberry Shortcake Pie Adapted slightly from Cuisine At Home
Shortcake Pie Dough (45 mins + cooling time)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cubed
6 Tbsp heavy cream
1/4 c. plain yogurt
Minced zest of 1 orange
– Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
– Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
– Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two forks until they pea-sized.
– Stir together the cream, yogurt and zest in another bowl and add to the flour mixture; blend with a fork, just until the mixture comes together.
– Roll our the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thick. Transfer dough to a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate.
– Trim the dough so only 1/2-inch hangs over the edge of the pie plate. Roll the dough under itself and crimp. Firmly press the dough onto the sides of the pie plate.
– Bake crust until golden, about 20 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack. If (when) the crust starts to slide down the side of the pie plate during baking, use a spoon to gently press the crust back up the sides and continue baking.
Vanilla Pastry Cream (15 mins + cooling time)
6 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp table salt
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 c. whole milk
3 Tbsp plain yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
– Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, egg and egg yolk in a bowl.
– Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until steam rises from pan. Slowly ladle half of the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture into the remaining milk in the pan; bring to a boil, whisking constantly until pastry cream is thickened, about 1 minute.
– Remove from heat, whisk in the yogurt and vanilla. Transfer to a bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and chill until cold.
Putting It All Together (1 1/2 hours + cooling time)
1 recipe shortcake pie dough
1 recipe vanilla pastry cream
3 lb. strawberries, hulled, divided
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 Tsp fresh lemon juice
pinch of salt
2 tsp unsweetened gelatin
4 Tbsp water, divided
1 Tbsp cornstarch
– Puree 1 pound of strawberries in a food processor or blender until smooth.
– Transfer to a large saute pan. Add the sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice and salt.
– Sprinkle the gelatin lightly and evenly over 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl; let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of water and cornstarch; set aside.
– Reduce the strawberry mixture over medium-high heat to 1 1/2 cups, 20-25 minutes.
– Once reduced, whisk in the cornstarch mixture and simmer 1 minute.
– Add the gelatin mixture; whisk to melt and combine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature.
– Quarter the remaining 2 pounds of strawberries (about 6 cups); stir into cooked strawberry mixture.
– Spread the pastry cream into the bottom of the pie crust.
– Top the pastry cream gently with the strawberry mixture so that the strawberries don’t sink into the cream.
– Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 3 hours. Serve with homemade whipped cream, if desired.
Homemade Whipped Cream
3/4 c. heavy cream
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
2 Tbsp plain yogurt
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
– Beat the heavy cream in a bowl with a hand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.
– Add the powdered sugar, plain yogurt and vanilla extract; beat until medium peaks form and serve with pie.