It’s Pi Day (3.14)! So you know what that means! We get to celebrate this special day by eating all of the pie we can get our hands on. Oh what’s that? You don’t have any pie on hand, near, or around you? What madness! That’s definitely not the way to go about celebrating today. I order you to get into the pi/pie spirit. The only logical thing to do next is to go out and find yourself a pie. Any pie. Now is not the time to be picky. Go to the grocery store and get a pie from the bakery section. Sure they’re not the greatest, but in a pinch they’ll get the job done. Speaking of bakeries, you could also go to your favorite bakery and get a slice or two (or the whole thing) of your favorite flavored pie. And lastly, if you have tons of time to kill today, and have no clue what to do with all of this newfound freedom, you should probably make a pie from scratch. Be adventurous. Smash Monday in the face with pie.
Now, I’m not one for math or numbers, for that matter, but I am a major fan of pie. Some might even say I’m pie’s biggest numero uno fan. So I’m more than willing to celebrate a fake holiday that involves me eating lots of pie. I’m not going to complain and I’m definitely not going to let this day go by without some pie. Because strawberries are looking so fine here in California (sorry other parts of the country) and because I love a good cream pie, I bring to you this Strawberry Cream Pie. It’s like banana cream pie or coconut cream pie but so much better because everyone knows about bananas and because I actually hate coconut with a passion. So the next best cream pie to come our way is this strawberry variety and you’re going to love it. So go out and get started. What are you waiting for? If you’re not on at least your fourth slice of pie right now, then you’re definitely doing today all wrong.
Let’s start by making the best part of any pie, and that’s the crust. This is the same crust I use throughout the site (Shepherd’s Potato Pie), and I happen to think it’s a great one, hence why I continue to use it. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold butter and vegetable shortening and cut into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the flour, a tablespoon at a time, and stir until the dough comes together into a rough ball.
**Tip: It’s crucial that your butter be super cold because that will ensure a flaky crust. I recommend cubing the butter and then placing it in the freezer while you gather the other ingredients.**
Shape into a disk and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. Again, we’re just ensuring that the butter in the dough stays super cold.
**Note: If you do make the pie dough the night before, let the chilled dough sit out for about half an hour before rolling to make it an easier process.**
Once chilled, roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface and carefully place into a 9-inch deep pie dish. Trim the edges or fold under itself and then crimp the sides.
**Tip: To keep your crust from pudding up too much while baking, poke a few holes at the bottom. This will allow steam to escape during the baking process.**
Place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the crust and fill with dry beans or pie weights. Bake for about 10 minutes, and carefully remove the beans. Return to oven and continue baking until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
**Note: Since this is a cream pie, you want to make sure the crust has cooled completely before filling, that way it doesn’t melt and make a mess.**
Meanwhile, beat the filling ingredients together on high, until lightly and fluffy. Then fold in the whipped cream using a rubber spatula. This will ensure a light fluffy filling for our pie. To assemble this pie, spoon a bit of the filling on the bottom and spread out evenly. Then top with the sliced strawberries, in an even layer. Top with the remaining cream filling.
Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or overnight. Keep in mind that the longer the pie chills, the firmer it will get and the easier it’ll be to cut and serve later on.
**Tip: One thing I noticed when making/eating this pie is that you definitely need a lot of strawberry slices for the filling. So don’t be shy when placing them in.**
Make fresh sweetened whipped cream using a stand or handheld mixture. You want to make sure that the whipped cream is cold before beating so that it whips up easily.
Decorate the top of the pie with the whipped cream, either by using a pastry bag and fancy tip or by simple spooning it over the top, for that more rustic look.
To garnish our out of this world pie, finish things off with crushed butter cookies (I used Ritz crackers) on top of the cream, along with a fresh strawberry.
This is a great pie to make a night in advance because the longer it sits, the easier it is to cut and the ingredients get a chance to do their thing and hang out a bit.
You can really do this with a lot of different fruit, not just strawberries. It’s a great recipe to use when making an easy banana cream pie or switch the berries up for any other in season berries like black pepper and raspberry. Since winter is winding down and summer is just around the corner and strawberries are running wild here, I think this pie is the most perfect choice.
I don’t know why but for some reason I really love topping this pie (or even when I make a Strawberry Shortcake) with butter crackers. Ritz crackers basically. The slightly salty, buttery and flaky cracker is the perfect texture and taste with whipped cream. I love it. So make sure to give it a try. Head’s up this is a messy pie to cut and serve. The sooner you come to terms with this, the sooner you can get to actually eating the pie in peace.
So the next time you’re craving a pie but you’re tired of your normal everyday banana cream pie or coconut cream pie…shake things up a but with this deliciously sweet strawberry cream pie. Get yourself to your local farmer’s market or just your neighborhood grocery store and pick up a couple pints of fresh strawberries. You’re going to need some for the pie and a few handfuls for snacking while you work. It’s essential. Happy Pi Day, friends!
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and diced
- 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 5 to 6 tablespoons ice water
- 2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup strawberry preserves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup crushed butter crackers (optional)
- To make the pie crust, In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the cold diced butter and rub with your fingers (or a pastry blender) until coarse crumbs form. Add the vegetable shortening and rub with your fingers (or pastry blender) as well, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough comes together. It should be slightly sticky. Form it into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap, shaping it into a disc. Chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. (Can be frozen and saved for later!)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pie dough into a large circle about ¼ inch thick. Carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie dish and cut or fold the excess, tucking it under itself. Crimp with your fingers or a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper on top and fill with dried beans or pie weights, and bake for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove the parchment and beans and bake for another 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, condensed milk, preserves, and vanilla extract. Mix with the paddle attachment on high, until well combined and lump free, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and set aside. Pour the heavy cream into the bowl (don't worry about cleaning it) and beat on high, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Add the whipped cream to the strawberry mixture, a spoonful at a time and fold until evenly combined. Keep adding and folding the cream until all has been incorporated.
- To assemble the pie, pour a few spoonfuls of the cream filling into the pie, in an even layer. Scatter the sliced strawberries evenly on top. Cover with the remaining cream filling, and smooth out with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- To make the topping, place the heavy cream in a large mixing bowl and whisk on high until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and stir until fluffy. You can transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag and pipe the cream on top of the chilled pie, or you can just spoon it on top for a more rustic look. Garnish with the crushed butter crackers on top and a fresh strawberry. Cut and serve immediately. Pie is best enjoyed the day you assemble it completely, but will keep in fridge for up to 2 days.