Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grandma's Strawberry Pie

Strawberry season came early this year, which means only one thing, Grandma's Strawberry Pie!

One of my favorite things from childhood was going to visit my grandparents at the beach. Not only were they the most wonderful people, but my grandmother was an amazing baker! When strawberry season came around, she was known for two things; freezer jam and strawberry pie. 

Grandma's Strawberry Pie |

Her pie is definitely not traditional. Most people think of a baked strawberry rhubarb pie, but this is a cold fresh strawberry pie.

When Grandma passed away, we were sure to save her recipe book. But we quickly learned that she never actually followed a recipe, but did it all from her head. The recipes she passed on were all very short, vague and left a lot of room for imagination.

Grandma's Strawberry Pie |

For some reason, I just couldn't get it right. I called on the help of my Aunt Liz, who provided advice and my mother who remembers Grandma making this several times when I was growing up. After several failed attempts over the years, I was determined this early strawberry season to finally nail it. 

Grandma's Strawberry Pie |

Well, Grandma, I am proud to say that I think I finally produced a successful one today. I have added in necessary notes and changed the recipe a bit to make this a foolproof pie. Each time I make this, I will still think of the wonderful woman, Betty Hegele, my grandmother.

Grandma's Strawberry Pie |

Strawberry Pie

Yields: 9 inch pie
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:12 minutes for the pie shell

*1 Baked pie shell 
5-6 cups of fresh strawberries (in season)
3/4 cup sugar
2 T corn starch
3 oz. of cream cheese
1 T fresh basil, chopped (optional)

*For the pie shell: you can either get a rolled up pie dough in the refrigerator section (Pilsbury makes a decent one), or make your own pie crust. 

Wash the strawberries well and let dry completely. Cover the cooled pie crust with the cream cheese and place whole strawberries (cut-side down) to cover the bottom of the shell. Take the remaining strawberries and lightly puree in a food processor (or mash well in a bowl if you don't have a processor). The pureed or mashed strawberries should produce about 1.5-2 cups.

Place pureed strawberries into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, slowly add in the sugar and cornstarch and stir continuously so the bottom won't burn or turn into a gel. You just want the mixture to thicken. Once thickened, remove from heat and let cool, stirring a few times to release the heat.

Pour the mixture over the whole strawberries in the pie shell and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. 

I like to serve this with freshly made whipped cream, flavored with 2 T powdered sugar and 1 T Grand Marnier Liqueur. 


  1. So I have to ask... which kind of crust did u use? Do you have the recipe for Grandma's crust?

    1. I am pretty sure Aunt Liz has Grandma's crust recipe, but I usually just do the basic flour, salt, butter, Crisco and ice water crust in my food processor. Make sure all the ingredients (including the flour) are cold when you start. Here are good instructions if making by hand: