Sunday, June 20, 2010

Strawberry Custard Pie

As promised, here is the best strawberry custard pie recipe. Ever.

I'm totally not kidding. Ridiculously tasty.
It takes an obscene amount of time, dirties several dishes and is liable to clog your arteries by the third bite. But you won't care because it tastes so good.

I only make it once a year. (Why? See: above.) But after eating it that first time, it ruined me for other strawberry pies. It seems wrong to make anything else when strawberries are in season.

It is time-consuming, but not complicated. Part of its beauty is that it doesn't take shortcuts. No pudding mixes or boxes of gelatin. Start with a baked pie crust.

Yes, I know it's lopsided. Shush.
Make a simple custard on the stovetop from milk, sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks and vanilla. Oh, and toss a little butter in there at the end. I mean really, why not at this point?

It looks boring now. But just wait.
Back to the stove to whip up a glaze from (more) sugar, (more) cornstarch, water and lemon juice. The recipe calls for a full ½ teaspoon red food coloring, but I always stop after a few drops. I don't need my glaze that red. Add hulled, halved strawberries, gently spoon atop the pie, and chill...

... and you have yourself a pie.

Fair warning: in my experience, it doesn't keep very well after it's been cut. The leftovers get a bit runny the next day and it all turns ugly. All the more reason to gather some folks together to finish it off the day it's created.

Recipe below; printable version here.


1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
6 Tbs cornstarch, divided
¼ tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 Tbs butter or margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1 baked (9-inch) pastry shell
1 cup water, divided
1 Tbs lemon juice
½ tsp red food coloring
6 cups fresh strawberries, halved

Combine 2/3 cup sugar, 4 tablespoons cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan, stir in milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.

Whisk milk mixture gradually into egg yolks until blended. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Spoon hot filling into pastry shell.

Stir together remaining 2/3 sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch, and 2 tablespoons water. Bring remaining water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk in sugar mixture; cook, whisking constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened and clear. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice and food coloring; cool;

Fold strawberries into the syrup mixture. Spoon over custard mixture; chill 4 hours. Garnish, if desired.

Source: Southern Living; April 2000

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