Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Elna's Pie

Making this pie reminds me of First Husband's mother, a cute little bantam hen of a lady who first introduced me to strawberry pie. My first thought was, "Jeez, won't it just taste like jam?" I was not enthusiastic.

I can still recall my delighted surprise when I found that the fruit is not cooked, just gently enrobed in a flavorful glaze that holds the fruit together in the crisp, buttery crust. Since there is simply no way to improve on fresh, ripe strawberries, she had me from the first bite.

I hadn't made one of these in years, so I was a little shaky on the method but I had lovely strawberries and fresh raspberries just begging to be made into dessert, so I dove in. Elna would not have approved of deviating from her all-strawberry theme and she'd have served it with whipped cream; I opted to delete the cream, to reduce the sugar substantially and to experiment with different berries. I think she also used food coloring to enhance her glaze - mine was lightly pink while my memory of hers is deeply red.

The result was a great pie for a warm day, one that highlighted the fresh flavors of berries at their peak. It's not a quick pie to make, requiring separate baking and cooling of the shell, lengthy maceration of the berries, separate cooking of the glaze, and chilling of the finished creation but none of the steps is really difficult and the taste is well worth the effort. I simplified the recipe by using Star dough for the crust, baking and cooling it according to the package directions. The rest I did pretty much by Elna's directions; no need to mess with a winner.

Strawberry-Raspberry Glaze Pie, adapted from Elna's recipe

6-8 cups stemmed strawberries and raspberries
3/4 cup sugar + 2 Tablespoons
1 Tablespoon corn starch
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
A baked, cooled pastry shell

Leave small strawberries whole or cut up larger ones. It's prettier if you leave all the berries whole and arrange them in the crust, pointy side up. In a bowl, sprinkle the strawberries with the 3/4 cup of sugar and let stand for one hour, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar as the juice forms. Drain and reserve the juice. Set the berries aside.

To the juice, add water to make 1-1/2 cups. In a small, heavy bottomed pot, mix corn starch with remaining sugar. Add juice mixture and boil, whisking, until the glaze turns clear and thickens. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and let it get cold.

Drain strawberries again so berries only go into the crust and add the raspberries now (they are so fragile that it's best not to macerate them), then pour the glaze over. You may not need all the glaze - just stop when you feel the pie will hold together. Chill well.

Serve with whipped cream, if you like.

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Blogger Greg said...

I would put ice cream on top! The pie pan is like a piece of art.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, that's an old, old pie pan - Nambé ware wedding gift for my first wedding. I love it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

So pretty! Girl pie.
And the pie pan is fantastic. Good photo, too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, pretty is as pretty does - it was well into the "yum zone," as Greg would say. I was pretty proud of the photo.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I seem to be stuck at "yum. But yum yum and yum.
And more yum.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Nancy, isn't the color amazing?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011  

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